Angling in a Winter Wonderland
February 22, 2008
Seem too cold outside to consider fishing?
The streams are stocked and the situation ideal for seasoned anglers and river rookies alike to spend some time winter fishing.
According to Trout Bum2 owner Chad Jaques, this is the best time of the year to really savor the sport of fishing. The fly-fishing outfitter says that when the local waters are less busy, fishermen can enjoy the solitude and make the most of a beautiful winter day.
"Winter is the time you can actually enjoy the river," Jaques said. "You have it to yourself. That’s something today that’s lost its luster."
Scoot Root, Central Region conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resoucres (DWR), agrees.
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"My favorite time to fish is a nice winter day," Root said.
According to Root, Parkites are just minutes away from one of the hottest fishing spots in the state right now. Strawberry Reservoir is fully stocked with fish and offers ideal ice-fishing conditions. Nearby, the Jordanelle Reservoir is also a good spot for winter fishing.
"If you’re in Summit County, you’ve got it good," Root said.
The Provo and Weber Rivers, both within driving distance, also offer great winter fishing for the fly fisherman, said Root.
The DWR constantly updates the fishing report on its Website and also offers a recorded report over the phone. The fish of the day is perch in Utah reservoirs, but trout is also quite plentiful in the winter.
There are also plenty of opportunities for the first-time fishermen to "get their feet wet," so to speak. Both Root and Jaques agree that fishing is accessible to just about anyone. Trout Bum2 offers classes tailored for beginners and women. Root suggests finding a friend who has fishing experience and going out on a fishing adventure one day. If cost is holding people back, the DWR’s new Rod and Reel program offers free rentals of fishing equipment and Trout Bum2 holds a free fly-fish casting clinic that runs all summer long in Deer Valley.
To get started, new fisherman should visit the DWR Website and register for a fishing license. A temporary license may be printed online and the DWR will send a permanent card through the mail. After that, Root recommends finding a fishing buddy who knows how to ice fish or fly fish. Fishing on ice and battling winter weather means that safety is important, so Root suggests always fish in numbers.
Root says that ice fishing is very inexpensive. Anglers need only an auger to cut the ice, a folding chair, warm, waterproof boots and clothes ,and a plastic child’s sled to drag equipment across the ice. Root says that accessing the reservoirs on foot is the best bet as warm weather can make the ice slushy. The auger at about $30 is the most expensive gear needed. Just about any type of bait will do in ice fishing, even a worm, Root said.
Trout Bum2 offers plenty of guided fly-fishing trips throughout the winter months along the Provo and Weber rivers as well as the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam. The Provo and Weber trips are shorter jaunts, while the Green River trip is more of a full day of fishing. Jaques offers a "Best of Day" special on the Green, which goes from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is offered at a reduced rate.
Jaques says that he has taken all types on his expeditions, from first-timers to old-timers. This week he took a woman from Manhattan, N.Y., out on the river for the first time and she caught a fish.
"It’s something beginners can enjoy and there’s plenty for the advanced angler to enjoy," Jaques said.
He suggests fishing as a great activity on a day off midweek or as a break from skiing for travelers.
"It’s just having the desire to try it out," Jaques said.
For winter fly fishing, Root warns people to keep fingers warm. Fly-tying means fingers will be exposed to the elements, so Root suggest handwarmers. Jaques says warmer days that are over 32 degrees are ideal.
Trout Bum2 sells a full gamut of flies and fishing equipment as well as fishing licenses and gear rental. For more information on guided trips or fishing gear, visit http://www.troutbum2.com.
There are some regulations on fishing in local reservoirs and rivers. Visit the DWR Website at utah.wildlife.gov and click on the "fishing" link for general information. Visit wildlife.utah.gov/proclamations for the state fishing proclamation, which outlines rules and guidelines that anglers should know before any fishing trip.