Despite shifting weather patterns and unpredictable ice conditions across the state, anglers can still find excellent fishing opportunities during the winter months, particularly in streams and rivers. Here are three fantastic options for winter fishing:
Blacksmith Fork River
Situated in northern Utah, between Hyrum and Hardware Ranch, the Blacksmith Fork River offers a serene setting with easy wading conditions. This lesser-known gem provides ample opportunities for anglers to reel in a variety of fish species, including the Bear River cutthroat trout and robust brown trout. Currently, there’s an overabundance of brown trout in the river, and anglers are permitted to keep an additional four brown trout under the current regulations.
Lower Provo River
Flowing through Provo Canyon and into Utah Lake, the lower section of the Provo River presents anglers with diverse fishing opportunities. From fly fishing in the canyon to bait fishing downstream, anglers can target brown trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, and occasional cutthroat trout. While the lower Provo River is typically bustling with activity during warmer months, it’s less crowded in winter, offering a peaceful fishing experience.
The Duchesne River, particularly the Blue Ribbon rated portion upstream of Hanna, boasts several accessible angler access points that have proven fruitful for winter fishing. Anglers can expect to encounter primarily brown trout along with some rainbow trout in this scenic river.
Tips for Winter River Fishing
- Dress Appropriately: Layering is key to staying warm during winter fishing trips. Be prepared for cold conditions, especially during early mornings.
- Exercise Caution: Be extremely careful when navigating icy or snow-covered stream banks. Check with land-managing agencies regarding parking lot conditions, especially after recent snowfall.
- Prevent Freezing: Fishing pole guides may freeze up in cold weather. Keep gloves handy to remove ice buildup.
- Target Slackwater Areas: Fish tend to conserve energy in slackwater areas during winter months. Target pools and areas along river banks for better chances of success.
- Use Effective Lures: Consider using lures like Panther Martins, Bluefox or Mepps, small crankbaits, or jigs with nightcrawlers in areas where bait is allowed. Fly anglers can try small nymphs like Hare’s Ear, pheasant tail, prince, sow bugs, and zebra midges, ensuring they reach the bottom where fish are likely to be.
- Handle Fish Carefully: If practicing catch-and-release, handle fish with care to minimize stress and increase survival rates. Wet your hands before handling fish, use a rubber net, and minimize the time the fish spends out of water to ensure its quick and healthy release.
By following these tips and exploring these rivers, anglers can enjoy productive and rewarding fishing experiences throughout the winter season.