I NEED YOUR HELP!!!
The blog is getting around 150 views a day now, and although I understand all of the viewers are not from the area, I know most of you are, and you have been out fishing. Please email me a short report of conditions where you have been fishing! I'm not looking for secrets to share, over all I would just like to report on how fishing is, and access. If you want to keep your spot, technique, or fishing setup a secret that is totally fine. Also, if you have pics to share please feel free to send them in as well. I would love to add them to our bragging board. I am really interested in pictures of kids out fishing. Please share the success of fishing with your kids so we can get more families involved in the fun of the outdoors. You don't have to be from Utah, or it doesn't have to be in Utah to share! A big thanks to those that have been contributing to these reports as well!
Here we are nearly at the end of January already, and safe ice now covers most trout waters in southern Utah. However, the typical January ice fishing patterns seem to be setting in on us! Many reports from various waters are sounding out what anglers don't want to hear, especially with ice coming on some lakes late this year! Slow fishing conditions have been reported at most southern Utah waters. Don't let that discourage you from getting out on the ice though! A lot of times conditions vary greatly from day to do. I still hear reports of very good fishing outings here and there, and some good fish being caught as well!
One last note before I get to the reports, don't forget the 2nd annual Wildland Firefighter Foundation Ice Fishing Derby being held at Panguitch Lake next Saturday, February 4th. Registration is now full, but don't let that get you down if you haven't registered. Come out for good food, fun, and feel free to make a donation to the fund for families of fallen wildland firefighters, which will enable you to enter the raffle for many great outdoor prizes! The fun begins at the North Shore boat ramp at 8:00 AM. See you there!
Panguitch Lake: Anglers continue to report very slow fishing conditions, which is very common for the lake in late January, but seems to be worse this year due to low water levels and heavy fishing pressure. Most reports describe long days with few bites and few fish. Reports of success now seem to be few and far between. Get away from the crowds, and don't count out the middle of the lake! I was nearly to the middle a few weeks ago and only in 12 feet of water. Keep moving and trying different jigs/baits until you find something that works. The bite is usually very light here, and active jigging usually provides worse results. The few good reports come from using light colored jigs in about 10 feet of water, fishing about 2 reels off of the bottom, and occasionally a fish coming from 2 feet under the ice.
Minersville Reservoir: The lake now has safe ice for the most part, however some areas are still fairly thin. The shoreline is often troublesome as the lake is rising. Fishing has been slow, but the fish being caught are healthy and of good size. Be cautious on the ice as it never seems to stay long at this lake!
Otter Creek: The lake is still covered with about 14 inches of solid ice, but use caution on the shoreline as it gets soft in the afternoons. Driving by yesterday, small pockets of open water were visible along many of the rocky points. Fishing has been fair, the best reports coming from the north end and east side of the lake. Night crawlers, meal worms, and shrimp have all been paying off. Some days are very slow, move around until you find some activity. Quite often fishing is fast from daylight until about noon, then really dies in the afternoon. Fish are fat and healthy! Yesterday the snow had melted on the ice, and puddles were visible. Be careful, it looks pretty slick!
Fish Lake: Fishing remains fair at the lake, some days are still very hot! If you want to get your kids into some fast fishing, get them out on the weed-line, in about 10-15 feet of water. Yesterday two of us caught a dozen perch in about 20 minutes, and I heard a report of a guy catching 37 perch the day before! About any smaller jig will work, tipped with meal worm or perch meat. Small rainbows and an occasional larger fish are also present in these waters. If trout start to hit, the perch action will die for a few minutes until they are gone, but either way it stays pretty good all day long.
There is about 3 inches of snow on the ice, which is 12 to 14 inches thick now. Pockets of slush are visible in the afternoons. We had little trouble getting 4-wheelers to the east side. It looks like fishing for splake the day before had been great, the fish being suspended at various depths in anywhere from 30-80 feet of water. Fishing on the east side was slow for us yesterday, the west side was not much better. After consulting the fishing calendar app on an iphone, it looks like we picked the worst day possible. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! It sounds like it is day to day on Fish Lake, fast one day, slow the next. Try to get away from the crowds! Light colored jigs are still paying off. Most splake are being caught on the east side, fishing on the west has seemed to produce more rainbows than splake this year. That was the pattern again for our group yesterday.
I still hear an occasional report of lake trout in the 20 pound range being pulled in. Macs are found anywhere between 60-100 feet of water (105 feet was the magic number for our group last year) and are generally near the bottom. Use larger jigs (4-6 inch), buzz bombs, or large flat fish. Bounce them off the bottom a few times to stir up some silt, and be very patient! They can be hard to find, a fish finder is a must if you want to find them fast!
Boulder Mountain Lakes: The mountain received a good amount of snow Monday, locations around 9000 feet show a foot to 14 inches. This is going to kill access to most lakes that have been fished recently, however the John's Valley side looked as it didn't receive as much snow. Pine Lake may still be accessible by ATV, and possibly Lower Bowns. Fishing at Pine Lake and Posey Lake were both reported to be good last week. Use smaller jigs on these waters. Night crawlers have been good to tip your jigs with this year.
Wide Hollow Reservoir: Solid ice still covers the lake, reinforced by a cold snap over the past week. Fishing has been slow to fair at the lake. Jigs tipped with meal worm or night crawler have been the ticket. I have heard reports of a couple of fat rainbows being caught lately, one coming in at about 3.5 pounds! It looks like we may have some good fishing in this lake come ice-off this year! We may give the lake a try tomorrow, I will update this if I have better success.