Vol. 10 no. 18 Jan 25, '97

We've been anxious to try ice fishing at Jordanelle. The reservoir fishes so well during the summer, we figured it would provide hot ice fishing.

Jordanelle is slow to freeze. The upper Provo River arm has solid ice, but most of the lake has had open water or a dangerously thin ice sheet. It looks like the area down near the dam may not freeze at all this winter.

We snuck up to the reservoir on Jan. 15, and found fair fishing. Fair, meaning not great. Fair, meaning somewhat disappointing. Most people had a fish or two, but they had to work for them. Most of the fish we saw were rainbows in the 8-12 inch range.

We know you can't judge a reservoir by the experience of one afternoon. Had we been there in the early morning, with the time try more spots and more baits, our report might have been much different. We know there's a lot of fish in the reservoir. It wasn't that many weeks ago we were cruising the reservoir in boats, our sonar showing fish all over the place - particularly on the upper Provo River arm.

Jordanelle's definitely worth a trip or two. It's close to town and we can almost guarantee you won't get skunked. But for now, don't expect fast fishing, or big fish.

The road is being plowed into the Rock Cliff recreation complex, down to the reservoir's edge. There was about a foot of snow on the ice when we visited, just after a major winter storm dumped heavy snow through most of Utah's mountain areas. We were there on a Wednesday afternoon, and there were four parties fishing.

We focused on a cove on the south side of the upper arm, across from the access road. The ice was about a foot thick, but consisted of layers of slush sandwiched between hard ice. It was solid enough to support small groups with no danger.

The ice thins as you proceed down the arm. Always use caution.

We graphed lots of fish, at all levels. Small fish were cruising just under the ice. The bigger fish were mostly deeper; many were just off the bottom. It was a sunny, mild afternoon, until we moved into the shade. Then it felt cold. As soon as the sun went down, it felt bitterly cold.

The fish were rather picky. Small, green, skirted mealworms seemed to work best. Ice flies and lures tipped with worms or Powerbait also worked.

A $5 fee is charged to park at the reservoir recreation areas. People parking along the highways are being ticketed.

The trout limit at Jordanelle is four fish. Most of the trout in the reservoir are rainbows, but there are a few browns and cutthroats available. There are also smallmouth bass in the water, but they don't usually bite during the winter.