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Local News

Ice Fishing Season Has Arrived:Tips For Success

dwr-ice_fishing.jpg
Utah DWR
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Along with the new year, January rings in ice fishing opportunities on the lakes and reservoirs of the Wasatch Back. It’s a chance for anglers to experience the bounty of fishing deeper waters without a boat.

Faith Heaton Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says they start to promote ice fishing in December but usually the ice isn’t thick enough until January or February.

“One of the recommendations we give is to make sure the ice is at least four inches thick or more across the entire lake before you get out on it.  And it's kind of tricky 'cause sometimes it'll be that thick in one spot and then it'll thin out in another spot we suggest little test holes, drill these little test holes in different areas before they venture out farther, just to check that thickness.”

Heaton Jolley says you can get into the sport for less than $100 and for those who don’t ski, it’s a chance to get out of the smog in the valleys and enjoy winter time in Utah’s mountains.

“You need an auger, obviously to be able to drill the holes in the ice. So, you can either use the hand powered one, which are usually around $50. Or, you can obviously get a motorized one which is a little more expensive. You need something to scoop the ice out of the hole after it's drilled. Some people will honestly just use a slotted spoon from their kitchen if they don't want to buy some kind of special gear for it. You need an ice fishing rod and a line and a couple of lures and maybe some bait. And then, obviously, just dress really warmly 'cause it's really cold when you're going ice fishing.”

Heaton-Jolley says winter fishing is different from the warmer months. Some species of fish don’t fight as hard as they do in the summer. The same catch limits apply, and a license is always needed to fish in Utah. She says anglers should always check the DWR guidelines before going out.

“You know, you actually can catch any fish species during the winter. And almost any time of day can be pretty good to ice fish. You know during the summer it's recommended to go kind of early at dawn and dusk when the fish are biting a little bit more. So, during the winter, honestly, anytime is pretty good 'cause they're hungry. They don't have that constant bug access during the winter when its iced over and so they're usually pretty hungry.”

DWR biologists scout each region and evaluate waterways and ice thickness and provide updates on the Utah Fish Finder website.  
 

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