Fall is, in fact, one of the best times to cast a hook. It’s cooler, it’s more colorful and it’s more comfortable—all of which means better fishing for Utah anglers.

There are a couple of reasons why. One is that with cooler water, fish move closer to the surface and shore and are therefore easier to reach with a fly and bubble or chunk of nightcrawler.

It’s a time, too, when big fish are caught. Big fish cruise the shallows where food is more abundant in the fall. And, realizing winter is near, they are anxious to build up the fat reserves so feed more aggressively.

Fall is also a time when water levels are lower so fish are more concentrated. And, in the fall, the water is clearer so lures and baits are more easily seen.

The secret, of course, is to pick the right waters to fish. That’s where experience and good reports come into play. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is constantly updating its fishing report. 

One of the best fishing indicators is Strawberry Reservoir. That’s because it’s the most popular fishing spot in Utah, so there are more reports available.

And, as Mickey Anderson of Fish Tech Outfitters notes, “Fishing is getting better and better.’’ And, waters are getting cooler and cooler.

Other good choices in the fall are the lakes in the Uintas. 


High Uinta lakes are a good choice for fall fishing.


A lone angler takes advantage of the cooler temperatures to fish the Uintas.

The high-country lakes cool down sooner and are routinely stocked, so there’s an abundance of fish. Mirror Lake, for example, was planted 22 times since late May. This would include 3,000 brook trout planted in August and several plants of tiger trout. 

Other examples include Moosehorn Lake near Mirror that was planted 20 times since early June. Planted were rainbow and tiger trout. Teapot was planted 24 times this summer with rainbow, brook and tiger trout. 

The reservoir getting the most attention is always Strawberry. It was planted 36 times. Among those plants was one in early May, where 300,000 kokanee were released. Cutthroat were planted 28 times from May through August. 

Rainbow from Strawberry are the fish anglers can keep. All cutthroats between 15 and 22 inches must be released. And, only one cutt over 22 inches can be kept.


Anglers prepare to launch to fish Jordanelle Reservoir.

The good news is that gillnet surveys the past couple of years show there are more and more rainbow available. One reason is the current management plan calls for larger fish to be planted. Biologists found smaller fish were being eaten by larger fish and birds. Anglers report good success using a fly and bubble, Jake's Spin-A-Lure, PowerBait and nightcrawlers. Good flies are black or light-green Woolley Buggers and green and white streamers. Garlic and salmon egg PowerBait have also been working well. Fly fishermen are using a medium-sink line with No. 8 bead-head tan, green or pearl; No. 8 white tinsel leech; and No. 6 bead-head black or green soft hackle. 

Another reason to fish the Strawberry is 200 rainbow were tagged this summer. Tagged fish are worth money and prizes. One of those tagged fish, still to be caught is worth $25,000. 

Elsewhere, Pelican Lake, known for giving up lots of bluegill and bass, is still listed as “fair fishing.’’ Rockport and Jordanelle are also listed as “fair,’’ and like other waters in Utah will continue to improve as water temperatures cool. 


Pelican gives up lots of small bluegill in the fall.

Visit wildlife.utah.gov for: 

-- Fishing Information

-- Stocking report

-- Community Fisheries

-- Guide Book & Rules

-- Blue Ribbon Fisheries