Where to go for hot fishing in November

November is a great time to fish for tiger muskie at Joes Valley Reservoir. (Photo courtesy of Utah DWR)

SALT LAKE CITY— The weather is getting colder, but fishing is still hot in some areas of Utah. No need to put away the fishing gear just yet, there are still plenty of great fishing opportunities if anglers know where to go and which species to target.

November can be a good month for fishing because it is in the spawning window for brown, brook and lake trout, as well as splake. Fish can be aggressive during the spawn, which makes them more likely to take the bait, lure or fly.

“Also, because the weather is cooling down, not many people think about fishing in November, which means the waters are less crowded than in the summer,” Randy Oplinger, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) sportfish coordinator, said.

“Along with potentially having the water to oneself and enjoying a peaceful fishing outing, anglers can also catch some nice fall scenery if they fish early in the month before all the leaves fall.”

So, for those who are itching to get out on the water, here is information about one of the great fishing locations.

Joes Valley Reservoir

Located in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in central Utah, Joes Valley Reservoir has several fish species, including cutthroat trout, recently stocked rainbow trout, hard-fighting tiger muskie and splake.

Splake are a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout and despite being sterile, they still go through the motions of spawning. Because November is when splake spawn, it’s a great time to target these fish.

“Joes Valley has one of the better splake populations in the state, and they become active and hungry after spawning,” Oplinger said.

This waterbody also has boat access, which will help anglers have more success catching the splake, cutthroat trout and tiger muskie. However, rainbow trout can easily be caught from shore, so no worries if a boat is not available.

Other waterbodies that also offer great splake fishing this month include Fish Lake, Navajo Lake and Lost Creek Reservoir, which is one of the newest splake fisheries in Utah.

Fishing tips

When fishing for the splake, cutthroat trout or tiger muskie at Joes Valley, anglers will likely have the most success using lures like spoons, crankbaits or spinnerbaits. When fishing for rainbow trout, anglers can catch them using conventional baits like PowerBait or worms.

As the temperatures cool down, fish tend to slow down and become less active (because they are cold blooded.) As a result, while fishing this month, anglers may need to slow down their presentation and use smaller flies or lures.

Strikes on flies and lures are also less pronounced in cooler weather, so anglers will need to be extra attentive to notice when a fish is taking a lure.

If fishing this month, make sure to dress for the weather. Wear layers in case the weather does happen to warm up, but make sure to have enough clothing and good boots to keep warm.

Anglers may also start to see ice forming on some waterbodies later in the month. However, just because there is ice doesn’t mean that it is safe to walk on. If the ice is less than four inches thick, it is not safe.

Also remember that ice thickness can vary across a waterbody, so stay in the area where it is known that the ice is four or more inches. Typically, the weather isn’t cold enough for thick ice until January.

So while counting down the days until that Thanksgiving turkey can be savored, consider enjoying some freshly caught fish in the meantime.

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