Utahns are facing a long holiday weekend, the last one before cooler weather starts to settle in.
What they can look forward to is:- A good time to see unseen parts of Utah.
- A great time to take up the fishing rod and reel.
- A good time to start planning the ski season.
- A good time to swing a golf club.
- Not a good time for boating.
Looking at the reservation list from this week, there are still camp spots open in many of Utah's state parks.
Wasatch Mountain, Rockport, Palisade, Fort Buenaventura, Bear Lake, Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Deer Creek are full. But there are openings at Fremont Indian, Goblin Valley, Kodachrome Basin, Millsite, Otter Creek and Steinaker state parks, to name a few.
Many of the open parks offer excellent recreational opportunities. From the Fremont Indian State Park, for example, there is access to one of the state's most extensive off-highway trail systems; Goblin Valley is one of the state's most unique parks and offers access to both Canyonlands National Park and the San Rafael Swell; and Otter Creek not only is a nice place to camp, but also offers good fishing within a short walk.
And, consensus is, fishing may never be as good as it is now. Low waters, pointed out Byron Gunderson, of Anglers Inn, have concentrated the fish.
Also . . . "With levels this low most of the food supply is out of the water. Fish are looking for anything to eat. They're more aggressive now. They'll take just about anything you want to throw at them."
Many of Utah's more popular fishing spots are at low levels. Scofield, which was supposed to be on the recovery road after treatment last year, is only 15 percent of capacity. Otter Creek is 25 percent full, Hyrum is 55 percent full, East Canyon is 40 percent full and Lost Creek is only 20 percent of capacity.
Also, some of Utah's fishing waters were too low this year to take planting, so the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources doubled-up in some cases and put more fish into those waters that could take fish.
Some of the LaSal Mountain lakes, for example, were heavily stocked. One fishermen reported catching "a fish on literally every cast" a few weeks ago at a lake there.
Red Creek near Fruitland is another that got a heavy load of fish. Quail Creek and Miller's Flat also got heavy loads this year.
The kokanee salmon have started to go through the spawning changes at Flaming Gorge. The mature, usually-silver salmon have started to turn their pre-spawn red and are hurriedly trying to stock up on food.
But some of the best fishing at this time of year is still in the higher lakes, such as the Uintas.
Stream fishing is also good, but it's tough. Here, too, with the low water the fish are more concentrated in pools and deeper sections of river, and are very jumpy. Fishermen can stand back and make longer casts to offset the nervousness of the fish.
As Gunderson pointed out, fish aren't as fussy as they might typically be. They're taking anything - lures, flies and baits. Best fishing is still in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Boating (note boating report on this page) may be difficult in some places. Launch ramps at some lakes are out of the water. And, in many cases, water levels have left little room to handle what would typically be normal traffic.
This weekend is the unofficial start of the 1992-93 ski season. Many of Utah's ski retailers will be holding their annual "Labor Day Ski Sales." New and carry-over equipment will be marked down to encourage early buying. It's a good time to consider shopping.
With golf it will simply be a matter of finding a tee time. Golf courses are traditionally very busy over the holidays. Suggestion from one club pro is to "call in as soon as possible for a reservation."
Fishing, camping, hiking, biking and touring . . . This is a good weekend to consider these activities because before long it will be skiing.