It doesn't take long. From home to put-in can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Hook-up can be anytime after. For what? Fish! Trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, whitefish, walleye, catfish . . . on flies, jigs, silver spoons, or a plain old bubble and No. 8 hook with a juicy worm.
Contrary to what some believe, fishing need not be a full-day task. There are, within walking distance for some and short drives for others, plenty of good fishing spots . . . good for an afternoon, or merely a few hours.Using Salt Lake City as a hub, for example, there are the canyon creeks that run down to the valley floor Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, Millcreek, City Creek, Emigration Creek. All receive their share of planters from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources each year.
Fishing light tackle on one of these streams can be challenging and exciting. These are good streams to learn to use flies.
The Jordan River is another nearby fish source. Fishermen have been pulling some nice trout from stretches through Lehi, Bluffdale and Riverton. Catfish is another possible catch in the Jordan. The DWR recently stocked the river with rainbow catchables between Bluffdale and West Jordan.
One of the finest stretches of river in the country is only 40 miles from the city center, a five-minute drive from Provo the Provo River below Deer Creek Reservoir. In less than an hour, Salt Lake fishermen can be casting into the Class 1 Blue Ribbon stream for trophy rainbow, cutthroat and brown.
Steve Chadwick of West Jordan fishes it once or twice a week, and says, "It's a nice getaway for an afternoon." It is not, however, the easiest river to fish. The fish, he says, are selective and "presentation has to be realistic." A little time spent, however, returns more and bigger fish. (Only artificial baits are allowed on this section.)
Richard Glassford of Provo also called it a nice "getaway." Kevin Northrup, visiting from Colorado, having caught nice fish in an hour, says the river is "up to snuff" with anything back home.
Rockport, about 40 miles from Salt Lake, is expected to be a sleeper. Typically, the reservoir fills and fish escape over the spillway. This year it didn't fill, and there was no escaping. A good indicator is that over the winter ice fishing was good and the fish healthy and fat.
One reservoir that does get a lot of pressure is East Canyon, about 35 miles from the city. It was good over the winter at times and is expected to be good this summer. Fishing is good from boats, around the dam and where the river enters. East Canyon Creek above and below the dam is another good choice.
Deer Creek offers good fishing for everything from trout to perch and is only a hour from Salt Lake City, a half hour from Provo. A new planting program started last fall is showing early signs of success. Over the winter perch were bigger and fatter, and trout more plentiful. Early in the spring perch will be in shallow waters from six to 10 feet deep, moving deeper as temperatures increase. A good spot for trout is where the Provo flows in. Bass fishing will pick up this summer.
Willard Bay, an hour's drive north from Salt Lake and 20 minutes from Ogden, is an excellent spot for catfish, especially in a month or so when they begin to spawn.
The Weber between Rockport and Echo reservoirs is not only close, but a beautiful, peaceful river offering some good fishing in a mountain setting. It's also a popular stretch. Not so popular is the section flowing into Rockport. Underfished, this section has some of the finest trout habitat in the state.
Then there are some lesser known waters. For example, there's Spring Creek below the Midway Fish Hatchery, or the Spanish Fork River, which is sometimes too muddy to fish, but when it's not there are some very good fishing spots.
Grantsville Reservoir to the west, only a few years old now, could become one of the state's top trout fisheries.
For the high-country fishermen, in another month or so nearby lakes will lose their ice cover. Silver Lake near Brighton, just west of the base of the Millicent chairlift, is frequently stocked over the summer and is very accessible. A little higher are Kathern, Mary's and Twin Lakes that are all fishable during the summer and easily accessible.
On the north end of Mount Timpanogos are Tibble Fork Reservoir and above that Silver Flats Lake. Both are located in beautiful mountain settings and offer good fishing for rainbows, native brooks and browns. Below, American Fork Creek offers good fishing for browns and rainbows.
Out near Tooele is Settlement Canyon, considered by some to be one of the state's better-kept secrets.
Then there are the Burraston and Salem Ponds south of Provo. Both were recently stocked with catchables and have received lots of DWR attention. And then there's Holmes Creek Reservoir near the Layton Golf Course. It's a great spot for bluegill and crappie. Fishing there is expected to improve with the weather.
Beaver Creek near Kamas is considered one of the richest streams in the state, with good numbers of browns and rainbows.
And there are more. Some a little closer, some a little further. Some, like the Provo, may take time to learn to fish; others, like Deer Creek, Rockport and East Canyon, are good cheese-and-worm waters.
They are all good fishing opportunities, though, and nearby.