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Memorial Day Fishing
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Finding a happy medium between too much and too little water in Utah can be a difficult proposition for the state's huge angler population and Division of Wildlife Resources biologists.

This a Memorial Day holiday where too much snow in the high country will prevent stocking of alpine lakes such as those along Utah Highway 150 -- the Mirror Lake Highway, which runs through the popular Uinta Mountains.

And state sport-fishing coordinator Tom Pettengill expects that few if any of the state's streams and rivers will be fishable during the first holiday weekend of the summer; they may not be available to anglers until mid- to late July.

"Most of the rivers will be unfishable except perhaps right below dams," said the veteran biologist. "Even then, most of the reservoirs will be releasing water."

He said catchable rainbow trout will be stocked only in smaller ponds and a few of the small to midsize elevation lakes. DWR hatchery workers hope to stock a few impoundments such as those on the Logan River.

The good news is that some of the state's largest and most popular reservoirs managed with fingerling trout stocked in the fall should produce good fishing on Memorial Day weekend.

These include larger reservoirs, such as Strawberry, Flaming Gorge and East Canyon. Pettengill said Yuba Reservoir has been producing 2- to 4-pound rainbow trout. Jordanelle Reservoir and Pelican Lake south of Roosevelt should be good places for warm-water species anglers to wet a line.

According to DWR Lake Powell fishing biologist Wayne Gustaveson, cold weather in early May lowered the water temperature at the big reservoir to around 60 degrees, delaying the spring spawn when bass fishing can be best.

Still, bass fishing remains the best bet at Powell, with fish in deeper water than normal due to the rising water. The best striper fishing is in the southern half of Lake Powell.

While the high water might create a few problems for Memorial Day weekend anglers, biologists who have had to deal with drought over the past few years are not complaining.

"If we had another dry year like last year, we would have been in trouble," said Pettengill.

* Best Bets

Strawberry Res.

Flaming Gorge

East Canyon



Red Fleet Reservoirs.

Yuba Reservoir

Pelican Lake

Lake Powell

-- Tom Wharton

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