18-pound rainbow trout caught in Strawberry Reservoir

April 13, 2006 - 18-pound rainbow trout caught in Strawberry Reservoir

Orem resident Sherm Holdaway hauled an enormous 18-pound, 2-ounce rainbow trout through the ice at Strawberry Reservoir recently.

Holdaway was ecstatic with his trophy catch and added that he landed a nine-pound trout from almost the exact location last month.

Orem resident Sherm Holdaway poses with the huge rainbow trout he caught at Strawberry
Orem resident Sherm Holdaway poses with the huge rainbow trout he caught at Strawberry.

Holdaway was fishing a frozen shiner minnow on the Soldier Creek portion of the reservoir when he caught the huge fish. "My line started moving and I set the hook on what felt like a snag, but then the snag started to pull back," he says. "We had a tug-of-war for quite a while-I would gain 10 feet and then the fish would take it right back."

Eventually, the 33-inch-long trout tired and Holdaway was able to work the trout up to the hole in the ice. Perhaps the most amazing part of the adventure was Holdaway hoisting a fish with a 20-inch girth through an eight-inch-diameter hole!

He then took the trophy trout to the Strawberry Marina store where it was officially weighed. There is still a lot of ice and snow at the reservoir, and ice-off will likely take place around early to mid-May. Anglers should beware of transitional ice conditions in the meantime.

"Strawberry Reservoir is still my favorite place to go fishing," the 66-year-old Holdaway says. "I have fished the reservoir for over 60 years and still fish on about a weekly basis. I have really enjoyed catching the large trout in the reservoir, especially when you catch one of these lunker sterile rainbow trout.

"In my experience, the reservoir is as good now for fishing as it has ever been." Strawberry Reservoir is not only Sherm Holdaway's favorite fishing spot, it's the favorite fishing spot for many other anglers too. The reservoir receives more fishing pressure than any other body of water in Utah.

The reason? Big fish and lots of them. Anglers and biologists alike will attest to the fact that the average rainbow trout runs about 17 to 18 inches in length.

Bear Lake cutthroat trout in the reservoir are also growing to large sizes. Cutthroat trout ranging from five to 10 pounds are commonly caught. These large Bear Lake cutthroats are effective predators and are known for their ability to control Utah chub populations.

As you fish at Strawberry, please remember the following regulations that have helped make the reservoir the fantastic fishery it is:

Strawberry Reservoir contains three game fish: Bear Lake cutthroat trout, sterile rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. The reservoir also sports a large population of crayfish.

The Division of Wildlife Resources plans to stock more than 500,000 larger-than-usual rainbow trout into the reservoir this year (these above-average-sized trout should be large enough to avoid being eaten by the other large trout in the reservoir).

The DWR will also continue stocking an many additional sterile rainbow trout into the reservoir as possible to provide more fish for anglers to catch and more exciting stories about "the big one that didn't get away!"