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Start early when planning Labor Day weekend travel

The Labor Day weekend is the last of the summer's three-day getaways and, therefore, one of the busiest.

The usual warnings are out:

1. Expect campgrounds to be full.

2. Expect lakes and reservoirs to be crowded.

3. Expect highways to be busy.

4. Expect fishing to be good. This is the last big push for stocking and, with the cooler temperatures, expect fish to be more active.

5. And, reviewing the latest weather report, expect good weather.

There are still some camping spots open at state parks. As is typical for this time of year, the shift in travel plans is from south to north.

Over Easter and Memorial Day weekends, it is the southern parks that tend to fill first. With the warmer temperatures over Labor Day, now its the northern parks.

Camping sites, for example, are available at Snow Canyon, Yuba, Sand Hollow and Otter Creek, and also at Antelope Island, Starvation, Green River and Red Fleet.

Park reservations can be made at 322-3770 within the Salt Lake City area and 1-800-322-3770 outside the area.

Arrive early. Most of the camping areas are filled before the holiday starts. Those leaving a campsite tend to move out early. If there is no site available, look for accommodations in nearby towns.

As expected, all of the ramps at the popular boating waters are useable. Unlike last year, when low water levels closed some ramps, reservoir levels this year have remained high enough to keep ramps water-covered.

Temperatures are also comfortable at this time of year. Temperatures at Bear Lake, East Canyon, Deer Creek, Jordanelle and Rockport are all in the 70s.

Water at Gunlock was 78 degrees this week, Willard Bay was 80, Lake Powell was 80 and Flaming Gorge was 68.

Among the scheduled activities are:

Friday — An antique tractor and engine parade at 4 p.m. running along the 11-mile road to Fielding Garr Ranch.

Friday — A program talking about the life of Butch Cassidy at the Iron Mission in Cedar City at 7 p.m.

Saturday — Kite-flying contest at 11 a.m. on Antelope Island's Bridger Bay Beach; hike to Buffalo Point at 4 p.m.; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. learn pioneer games, crafts and skills from park staff and volunteer at the ranch.

Saturday — "Seeds of Winter" Junior Ranger program for kids 6 to 10 at Rock Cliff Nature Center at Jordanelle at 11 a.m. and campfire program with naturalist at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday — "Preparing for Winter" Junior Ranger program at 11 a.m. at Wasatch Mountain State Park for kids 6 to 12.

Sunday — Engine/tractor display at Fielding Garr Ranch; 7-mile hike to Fraray Peak at 11 a.m.; and lecture at Visitor Center at 4 p.m.

Monday — Learn pioneer skills, games and crafts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the ranch; hear stories of outlaws at noon; try Frisbee golf at 2 p.m. on Bridger Bay Beach.

The latest fishing report from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shows:

MANTUA: Excellent success catching bass, bluegill and perch using crank bait, crawlers and small jigs.

PINEVIEW: Fair success near the shore in 9- to 11-feet of water using buzz bait and jigs. Best success was in the morning hours.

ROCKPORT: Catching trout from the shore using PowerBait and night crawlers.

WEBER RIVER: Fair to good for fly fishermen. The anglers reported the best success using a Parachute Adams.

WILLARD BAY: Anglers trolling with Rapalas and bottom bouncers were having success catching wipers, cat fish and walleyes.

STRAWBERRY: Best success was from boats. Find schools of fish and vertically jig. Trout are being located as deep as 70 feet. Cooler weather is on its way, and fish will start cruising the shallows once again. Kokanee are coming up the tributaries in anticipation of spawning. Early morning and evening is best from shoreline.

JORDANELLE: Lots of boats on the weekends with varied reports of success. Change techniques and locations if unsuccessful. Some bass over six pounds have been reported. Tube jigs, grubs and various bass lures fished near structure have been best technique for the bass. Most trout are caught by trolling and using traditional techniques from shoreline. Perch limit was raised to 50 fish this year.

PROVO RIVER: Good success by using midges, pheasant tails, gold-ribbed hares ear, etc. in small sizes — 18 to 22.

DEER CREEK RESERVOIR: Fair success reported by trolling. Catching from one to two trout per hour reported.

UTAH LAKE: Fair to good success for channel cats. Some reports of success for white bass and even crappie reported. Dead minnows have been the preferred bait for catfish and walleye and small action lures, tipped with bait, have been best for the white bass.

WILLOW POND in Murray: Slow to fair success reported. Best success early in the morning. Try standard fishing techniques and baits.

PELICAN LAKE: Anglers report good fishing for bass and bluegill. Be careful of strong afternoon winds.

RED FLEET RESERVOIR: Reports of fair to good fishing for rainbows, bass and bluegill.