Monday, February 13, 2012

Outdoor Places: Fish Lake, Utah

Fish Lake, Utah (view from east side)

Here's a stab a new idea I would like to try here on the blog, please be sure to tell me what you think!  I periodically like to highlight a different area, and share a few facts with you, my fellow outdoors men/women in hopes that you may feel the need to go check it out for yourself.  Easy, easy, easy!  All you trying to hold on to your secret "honey holes" don't form your lynching mob quite yet!  I'm not talking about your favorite hunting area, or exposing exactly where to go on the lake to catch the big one!  I'm talking about just sharing some popular outdoor locations...lakes, scenic drives, awesome hiking opportunities, ATV trails, and places that are just all around great for recreating.  The economy sucks right's hard to vacation, it's hard to travel.  I want to highlight some areas closer to home that would be great, cheap getaways.  For those of you not from the area, maybe you will fill inclined to come visit the beauty that Southern Utah has to offer!     

A typical ice fishing catch!
This week I want to kick this off by sharing one of my favorite locations, winter or summer...Fish Lake, Utah!  Most of my time spent at Fish Lake is done so during the winter months, as I frequent the lake to take advantage of the great ice fishing!  I live about 2 hours form the lake, and I am quite often asked, "why would you travel clear over there, when there are plenty of lakes to fish closer to home?"  Besides the beauty of the lake, and the opportunity to hook into a BIG fish, there is one obvious answer to me.  Where else can I fish closer to home that would provide the opportunity for me to catch 4 different species of trout, as well as perch?   

Not going to lie...this was my first ever catch
at Fish Lake!

Fish Lake has a big population of rainbow trout, as any other lake in southern Utah probably will also have.  Have you ever hooked into a splake trout though?  The hybrid is a cross between a brook trout and lake trout, and happens to be one of the best fighting fish that I have ever caught!  I often get more work out of trying to reel in a 2 pound splake versus a 4 pound rainbow!  Speaking of rainbows, they are almost always fat, healthy, and put up a good fight as well.  The lake also holds a population of brown trout, which can be very tricky to find, but they are there none the less.  While the lake is great fishing for these species, Fish Lake gets it's notoriety from it's lake trout, (also called mackinaw).  The "macs" in Fish Lake can reach up to 40 pounds!  Fishing for these monsters can be tough, but you will hear of the giants being caught on open water, or through the ice every year.  Already this ice fishing season reports of a few macs over 20 pounds are being shared locally. 

Additionally Fish Lake has a very large population of Perch.  Most fishermen use perch as bait for the trout species.  However, if you want to get your kids excited about fishing get them into the perch!  These little guys can be caught all day long, in about 5-20 feet of water.  They will hit almost any small jig, worm hook, etc, and can provide some great entertainment for the youngsters! 

This is what keeps me going back!  This 36" fish was
flirting with the state record for splake!
 For western standards, Fish Lake is a pretty big body of water.  The natural mountain lake is nearly 6 miles long by a mile wide!  The average depth of the lake is around 100 feet, the deepest location found checks in at 127 feet deep!  You will find gentle sloping shorelines on the west side (highway side) and the east side drops off very sharply.  In fact, on our last outing, at barely 40 yards from shore we found ourselves in 65 feet of water!  The lake is surrounded by the Fishlake National Forest, where you will find amazing conifer and aspen stands, and rugged mountains filled with deer, elk, and other various wildlife.  Several smaller lakes and streams lie nearby, providing ample recreation possibilities.  In nearby Loa, Utah you will also find gas, groceries, restaurants, and lodging.  It truly is a beautiful place for those who love the outdoors!  

Headwaters of the Fremont River, Fishlake National Forest
 As for camping opportunities, five campgrounds are found in the Fish Lake basin, as well as hookups at 2 local businesses; the Lakeside Resort, and Bowery Haven Resort.  These resorts also provide cabins, as does the Fish Lake Lodge.  You will also find small stores, restaurants, docks, and boat rentals at these locations.  Please follow the following link for details on rates for boats, cabins, and more in the Fish Lake area:  You can also check out for more information on the lodges and resorts.

I know a lot of people that have told me "man, I really want to go check Fish Lake out.  I'm going to try to get there this year."  Most of them still haven't!  I'm telling you, if you haven't been there you really should make it a point to do so.  When you do, be sure to leave your comments here on the blog telling us all what you thought of your experience there. 

Incredible views near Torrey, Utah.  Torrey is near the entrance of Capitol Reef National Park, which is only minutes from Fish Lake.