Top Pick by Utah Division Of Wildlife Resource Biologists
HEBER CITY — Deer Creek Reservoir has received more than 100,000 rainbow trout in just the past few months. But that isn’t the only reason Division of Wildlife Resources biologists have picked the water as the top spot to take your family and friends fishing in Utah this spring.
The ability to catch trout easily from shore; easy access to miles of shoreline; uncrowded conditions on the water; and restrooms, picnic areas and boat ramps at Deer Creek State Park are among the reasons too.
The picturesque reservoir, which is only 30 to 45 minutes from Utah County and the Salt Lake Valley, draws huge crowds of recreational boaters, including wake boarders and jet skiers, in the summer.
But in the spring, about the only people on the water are a few anglers fishing from boats. It’s a great time to fish from a boat at the reservoir. And there’s miles and miles of shoreline to fish from too.
In addition to Deer Creek, the DWR, says four other waters in Utah, Willard Bay Reservoir, Strawberry Reservoir, Settlement Canyon Reservoir in Tooele and Little Montes Reservoir in Vernal stand out as places that are close to urban centers and should provide great family fishing this spring.
Information To Be Successful On Deer Creek Reservoir
The DWR’s Midway and Glenwood state fish hatcheries stocked 77,000 rainbow trout into the reservoir last fall. The fish were 11 inches long when stocked.
In February, hatchery personnel also stocked more than 30,000 rainbow trout that were more than seven inches long. There’s no shortage of 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout to catch, Rainbow trout up to 17 inches are also common at Deer Creek.
Finding a spot to catch trout is easy: just park in one of the pull offs along U.S. Highway 189, and take a short walk to the shoreline. You can also pay a day-use fee and fish from the shore at developed state park areas.
If you want an even more solitary experience, park in the parking lot just west of the dam, and then walk along the trail that gives you access to the northwest side of the reservoir.
It doesn’t matter which shoreline you decide to fish from, all of them should provide good fishing for trout this spring. If you want to fish from a boat, the main state park boat ramp, on the south end of the reservoir, is open now. And the Island state park ramp should open at the beginning of May.
The water temperature at Deer Creek is in the low 40s, and winds coming up from Provo Canyon can pick up in the middle of the day, so if fishing from a boat, wear your personal floatation device.
Fishing Tips On Deer Creek Reservoir
Several species of fish live in Deer Creek. Two of them — rainbow trout and walleye — stand out as fish that should provide great fishing at the reservoir this spring. Rainbow are active but it will be mid May before Walleye start spawning. For Walleye, stick to the rock shorelines like Rainbow Bay, Wallsburg Bay and in the Provo River inlet area near Charleston.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re fishing from shore or from a boat, anywhere along the shoreline — in water that’s 10 to 30 feet deep — is the area to fish at Deer Creek in the spring.
Rainbow Trout In Deer Creek Reservoir
If you’re fishing for rainbow trout from shore, PowerBait is an excellent bait to use. The three colors recommended are rainbow candy, orange, and salmon peach. And, don’t forget corn: Deer Creek is one of eight waters in Utah where you can use corn as bait this year.
To fish PowerBait or corn, crimp a sinker or two about 12 to 18 inches above your hook, place the PowerBait or corn on your hook, and then cast it out. Let the baited hook sink to the bottom of the reservoir, and then watch your line closely; if it starts to twitch, set the hook and reel your fish in.
If you’re fishing for rainbows from a boat, troll a Jake’s Spin-A-Lure, a rainbow- or yellow perch-colored Rapala, or popgear and a worm. This technique can also land you a nice brown trout. Troll for Rainbows at about 1 to 1 ½ miles per hour.
Walleye In Deer Creek Reservoir
Fishing from a boat allows you to troll the shoreline areas until you find the walleye. But you can also catch walleye from shore. From late April through May, walleye congregate closer to shore as they prepare to spawn. When they move close to shore, shore anglers have a great chance to catch a trophy walleye.
During gillnet surveys in fall 2016, biologists caught walleye that were up to 28 inches long and weighed over nine pounds. There were good numbers of walleye in the 16- to 20-inch range as well. A Maniac Minnow or a lead head jig, with a curly tail grub threaded on the hook, are great lures to try. Simply cast the lure out, and then retrieve it back with a slow, steady retrieve.
Place a piece of night crawler on your hook will to increase the chance of a Walleye strike. You can also catch smallmouth bass and trout at the reservoir, using the same technique. From a boat, trolling crank baits that imitate a rainbow trout or yellow perch can prove successful. Stick to the rocky drop offs.