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Breaking The Ice on Winter Fishing

Jennifer Kimball-Bailey - KPCW

  For people looking for winter recreation, but disappointed with little to no new snow fall, ice fishing can offer a fun alternative. 



In addition to being a family friendly activity, ice fishing also offers a socially distanced, way to spend time outside during the ongoing pandemic

Randy Oplinger is the Sportfish Coordinator with the Division of Wildlife Resources. He said it’s relatively easy to dive into the ice fishing scene. 

“More or less you drill a hole in the ice and just drop your bait down through the hole,” Oplinger said. “And you know, I think that there's some learning on some strategies on learning the right depth and figuring out where the fish are hanging out. But a large extent of it is a fast learning curve.”

He said equipment can cost around $100 and is, for the most part, reusable. And

Credit Jennifer Kimball-Bailey - KPCW
Ice fishing at Rockport Reservoir

  he said it’s accessible for families and first time fishers because they don’t need a boat to get to the middle of the water. 

He said both Echo and Rockport Reservoirs are common ice fishing locations. While both are known for their yellow perch, he said Echo has an abundance of the fish. 

“There's usually large numbers of them,” he said. “They're very hungry during the winter months. And, you know, honestly, it's not far fetched to go out there and catch 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50.”

Yellow perch are something people can eat, but Oplinger said you don’t have to kill your catch. 

“But you know, I think a lot of people also go out and they just put the fish back,” he said. “And they're just more excited about this catching large numbers of fish. And the idea that you catch the fish, you know, every 10 minutes, or maybe even less than that when they’re out there fishing.”

Before fishing, Oplinger suggested bundling up for the cold weather and checking that the ice is safe to walk on, meaning there’s at least 4 inches of ice on the body of water.


Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.
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