Friday, December 30, 2011

Fishing Reports, Dec. 30, 2011

Fish Lake
I was finally able to get out on the ice again yesterday!  I have spent the week trying to find a day that would work for a group of us, and during that time I was really trying to figure out which lake I wanted to fish most this week.  I wish there was enough free time to get to them all, but that's just not how life works!  With reports of Panguitch Lake and Otter Creek slowing down, I decided it was time to give the Fish Lake lodge a call to check on the ice there.  They reported 6 to 8 inches of ice and fishermen out on it.  With this report, and 10 minutes later a phone call from a friend out on the lake, I knew Fish Lake was where I wanted to go, it being my favorite ice fishing destination.  As for the other lakes?  Well, it just so happened that I had friends heading to each lake, so it worked out perfectly to get a report of each body of water!  Now let me break down a report for each lake for you.

Fish Lake:  We arrived at the lake and parked at the spot to access our favorite hole on the lake.  We ventured out and found that the ice in that area was not all that impressive, as varied from 4-6 inches but also did not look so great.  We looked to the south bay where other fishermen were, and the ice appeared to be a better color.  So we moved to that location and found better ice.  In about 10-15 feet of water, just as the weed line begins to taper to greater depths we were quickly into the perch.  Perch were hitting about any small jig tipped with meal worms...except mine, which would become a pattern for the day!

We moved to 20 feet, switched to larger light colored jigs, and tipped the jigs with cut up perch meat.  Here we found slow fishing for smaller rainbows and splake.  Moving to 30 to 45 feet we finally got into some better action.  Fish were suspended at various depths, most being in the 25 to 35 foot range.  The fish finder was going nuts in this location most of the day, but fishing was fair at best...not the Fish Lake we have been used to.  My grandpa, Marvin Porter had the bragging rights of the day with most fish caught and the biggest fish, with 2 splake each coming in just over 2 pounds each. 

As a successful group left, Zach Kunz of Cedar City was quick to move into their spot and found fast fishing for a time for smaller rainbows, splake, and perch.  He was fishing in about 10 to 15 feet of water, where he also could see large fish swimming around that seemed uninterested with our jigs!  This must have been a sweet little fishing hole, as nobody else around could catch a thing!
Zach Owens and Ryan Dastrup of Panguitch, and myself were a little more stubborn as we were determined to catch the fish lighting up the fish finder all day.  That didn't go so well, so we went in search of larger fish in deeper water, hoping to find lake trout.  We fished a range of 60-85 feet of water, where the finder did locate a few fish but ww were unable to get as much as a nibble.

A cruise up the lake at the end of the day revealed a shocking sight!  Much of the lake had opened up under warm conditions during the day!  We were amazed to see open water everywhere to the north of us, where ice had been visible hours before.  I think we will hold off for a couple of weeks before heading back, as the forecast is calling for very warm conditions for the next 7 days!  Come back winter!  On a side note, Clinton Shakespear of Escalante fished the lake the day before and their group reported that fishing was hot!  So don't get to down about your luck if any of these lakes are slow for you, it may have nothing to do with techniques, maybe it's just the day.

Otter Creek:  Travis Shakespear of Henrieville reports that fishing at Otter Creek was fairly good yesterday.  His group fished the lake from 10 AM to around 2:30 PM coming home with 8 fish, which were very fat and healthy!  Travis says that they probably missed that many or more as well, while fishing with light colored jigs tipped with meal worm, in about 6 to 8 feet of water.  The ice is now about 12" thick, but getting very soft near the edges with this warm weather.  Use caution getting out there until winter decides to come back to us!

Panguitch Lake:  I have had several mixed reports from Panguitch lake.  Last week, about everyone I spoke with said the fishing was terrible, as they also said about Otter Creek.  I am receiving similar reports this week, although Steve Barker of Cedar City did report that one of their trips last week was very good.  His group moved to a new spot on the lake and found great success for numbers of fish as well as larger fish, using light colored jigs tipped with meal worms.  A return trip to the lake yesterday was not the same story, as slow fishing conditions returned!  Panguitch Lake in the past has always been easy to pressure!  Get away from the crowds, and if you are not catching fish move to a new spot!  I will be heading up there Saturday, so stay tuned for another report.  Ice is nearly a foot thick now, however use caution near the shore as ice melts during these warm days!

Zach Kunz not giving up on Fish Lake