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Find Good Ice Fishing Close to Home

Cutthroat at Strawberry Reservoir

Dozens of waters in Utah provide good ice fishing action

You have warm clothes, and boots that are waterproof and insulated. Your ice fishing equipment is ready to go. And you have a basic idea about how to locate fish and catch them through the ice.

So what's standing between you and a great ice fishing experience in Utah this winter?

Maybe only one thing: Knowing which waters to fish.

Fortunately, many waters in Utah provide good ice fishing year after year.

"In my opinion," says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, "Utah has some of the best ice fishing in the country."

Cushing has fished through the ice in states across the country. "Utah provides a wider variety of quality fish to catch than any place I know of," he says. "And many of these opportunities are probably close to your home."

Cushing gave Utah County as an example. If you live in the county, you can fish for white bass at Utah Lake in the morning, and then turn around and head to Strawberry Reservoir to catch trophy-sized cutthroat trout in the afternoon; all in the same day!

Ice conditions

To help you decide which water to visit, check the following websites for fishing and ice condition updates: www.utahfishinginfo.com/dwr/fishingreports.php, www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots, www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net.

Remember that ice conditions can change from day to day. Even if an online report says ice conditions are good, drill some test holes to see how thick the ice is. At least four inches of solid, clear ice is needed to safely support an angler's weight.

Ice thickness usually increases the farther you get from shore, but move cautiously: you can still run into patches of thin ice, even in the middle of a body of water.

Best ice fishing waters

Cushing says the following waters should produce good fishing this winter, for the following fish:

Yellow perch

Larger perch:

Smaller, but more abundant perch:

"Catching perch at Pineview can be fairly easy," Cushing says. "Just locate the spot on the bottom where the perch are, and then put your bait in front of the fish."


Largemouth bass

Rainbow, cutthroat or brown trout

"Strawberry provides fantastic fishing for big trout," Cushing says, "and lots of them."

Tiger trout

"These waters provide good fishing for big tiger trout," Cushing says.

Lake trout


Cushing says crappie can be tricky to catch. "They suspend at various depths," he says, "so they can be tough to find.

"But if you catch a crappie at a certain depth," he says, "keep fishing that depth, and you should do well. Pineview has a good population of crappie."

Kokanee salmon

Cushing says the best ice fishing for kokanee salmon happens at the start of the ice fishing season. "After ice forms on Causey," he says, "salmon fishing can be fantastic for about two to three weeks."

White bass

This is another water where the best fishing happens early in the ice fishing season. "Fishing for white bass usually tapers off around mid January," Cushing says. "The harbors at the lake are the best places to catch white bass through the ice."

Some of the best fishing of the year

Cushing says winter can be the most fun, productive and least expensive time of the year to fish. "New lakes, new opportunities and new species of fish are waiting for you," he says. "I hope you can get out this winter and enjoy some time on the ice. Fishing on the ice is a blast."