Fishing in Southern Utah
By: "Backlash Beau"
Fishing was a family bonding time that brought me so many memories. I remember getting very excited when my dad would get the Bass Pro Shops master catalog every year. We loved looking through it together and ordering all of the fishing gear and gadgets we wanted to try out. It felt like Christmas when the mailman brought us all of our goodies! Since I was a small child I have been fishing in the southern Utah area. I started out by soaking a worm in many of the ditches and canals around my hometown of Beaver, Utah and spending my summers on the high mountain lakes in the Beaver Canyon. The experience I gained while growing up really shaped how I fish today and gave me the knowledge and expertise I have.
As a kid, my buddies and I would typically use night crawlers and power bait to try and get a bite. One day, a local angler had us try a Jake’s Spin-A-Lure. This lure is a bent piece of metal with red dots and a hook. We had never used anything like it before and thought we would give it a try. We spent an entire day on Little Reservoir and caught countless fish! Whether you're spin-casting, trolling or jigging, this lure's unmistakable action makes for a very busy day of fishing. My favorite thing about using the lure was that the fish would not take the hook as deep as a bait hook and you could easily remove the hook, giving the fish a higher survival rate. Using lures opened a whole new world to us. There were so many shapes and sizes to choose from and I wanted to sample each one. There is nothing like retrieving a lure and having a fish smack it, it is like lightening hitting your rod. We just couldn't get enough of lures!
The Beaver area is home to a great deal of lakes. Whether you enjoy fishing for trout in high mountain lakes, or some of the local streams, there is something for everyone. Many of the lakes in the area were created through the construction of small dams. The Beaver River is a popular destination if you like river fishing, but there are also numerous streams that hold native fish. The most likely catches in these areas are the Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, and Rainbow Trout,. If you are lucky, you might even hook a Brown Trout.
Although the local Beaver lakes have some great fishing, there are many other great opportunities that are within a short drive in the southern Utah area. One of my favorite trout fishing destinations is Enterprise Reservoir. This body of water is typically well stocked with rainbow trout and also offers a fair amount of Smallmouth Bass. Baker Reservoir is just north of St. George. People boast that they have taken some nice sized German Brown Trout out that lake. One of the higher mountain lakes in the area is Kolob Reservoir. Unfortunately, since this reservoir is located at a higher elevation, it is closed most of the winter due to snow. Also there are some special fishing regulations on the Kolob Reservoir. Be sure to check the Utah proclamation before heading up that way.
There is nothing like retrieving a lure and having a fish smack it, it is like lightening hitting your rod!
I spent a lot of time in the lakes surrounding the Saint George area including: Gunlock, Sand Hollow, and Quail Creek Reservoir. These are all home to warm water species of fish. The terrain at Gunlock Reservoir consists mostly of chunk rock, with slick rock ledges and beautiful red rock cliffs. Depending on water level, you can set up camp in some calm, quiet fishing coves. This lake has a healthy population of Largemouth Bass but also features Crappie and Green Sunfish. Fishing in Sand Hollow Reservoir provides some great opportunities to catch Largemouth Bass. The terrain includes flat sand bars, red rock cliffs, and some areas of chunk rock banks. A lot of the structure that was flooded to create this reservoir has deteriorated so finding a good fishing hole can be tricky.
There is a high point that forms a small island in the middle of the lake that at high water levels can be submerged about 16 feet. This little island is littered with old brush and other great natural areas for the fish to reside. In some years past, there has been a great amount of cattails that hold fish as well. They have recently planted some trees around the sandy portions of the lake and with a high water level, this can make for a great place to fish. This water also holds Crappie and Bluegill, with the occasional Monster Bluegill. Quail Creek holds some of the biggest Largemouth Bass around. The bass feed on the trout, which is a key ingredient for trophy bass lakes. This lake also has red rock cliffs, chunk rock, and depending on water level, can have some brush along the banks.
Lake Powell is an awesome fishery and hosts a plethora of species like: striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, channel catfish and bluegill. It’s a little farther from home but it is an extremely popular destination because of its high success rate. Many Bass tournaments are held at the lake and the professionals pull in large numbers of fish but you definitely don't have to be a pro to catch fish at this big lake. If you give it a chance, you’re bound to catch something! Get out there and wet a line!