Some of you have openly wondered why I haven’t written much about ice fishing this fall and winter.
The answer is easy: We haven’t had much ice.
Yes, I could have written about some of the mountain lakes and reservoirs that iced up in early December, but nearly 80 percent (unofficial reader survey) of ice anglers prefer Strawberry, Deer Creek, Starvation, Echo, Rockport, and Flaming Gorge, rather than a long list of smaller waters in higher elevations.
Well, this week there is at least some good news on a few of my ice fishing short list that I am thrilled to report.
Although I haven’t seen it with my own eyes as of yet, anglers report that Strawberry has between six and nine inches of good, safe ice across most of the massive reservoir. Strawberry Marina recently announced the beginning of “shuttle services” for anglers wanting to pay to be taken by snow machine most anywhere they desire.
This is a great idea and a great way to be mobile on the ice without spending the money on your own snow machines. Contact Strawberry Bay Marina for details about their services.
I am sure that even without their shuttle help you ought to be able to find safe ice almost anywhere you would like to try, so Strawberry should be a great choice to get the season started.
Echo and Rockport
Although both of these reservoirs have the potential of safe ice, Echo only has between seven and nine inches with some soft spots near the river channel. Rockport is in worse shape and as of Jan. 10, there were soft spots around much of the shoreline and only three to four inches of ice near the launch ramp and other spots around the reservoir.
Although the fishing as been fine on both reservoirs, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources pleads with angler to be extremely careful when on the ice, as conditions can change in a hurry.
This reservoir had very little safe ice as of the first week of January. The north part of the reservoir has the best ice, but boats can still be launched and much of the reservoir has open water. Be safe and don’t push your luck for the next week or two if you want to find safe ice on the big lake.
Since I launched my boat at Lucerne Marina last Saturday and didn’t find any ice until a mile or so north of the pipeline on the Wyoming side of the reservoir, there really isn’t much safe ice until you pass Buckboard Marina and head towards the confluence of the Green and Black’s Fork rivers.
A friend of mine asked me to go burbot fishing with him later this week so I will have more to write after we check out the far northern reaches of the reservoir.
Flaming Gorge is historically a reservoir that sees more than its share of ice fishing accidents each and every year. Current in any of the several rivers and streams that flow into the reservoir cause ice conditions to change from one day to the next. Careless ice anglers could possibly fish under six inches of ice one day only to see less than two inches within just 24 hours.
The annual Burbot Bash is scheduled for late January so there is hope that safe ice will spread south between now and then, but don’t hold your breath. I plan to have my boat on the water three or four times this week.
Ice fishing is becoming more and more popular each year, and I have to admit that once I get into the mood and pull out my gear, I find myself hoping for consistent cold weather.
However, as of yet, some of my best ice fishing areas are best viewed at night, in my dreams.
Be patient, go prepared, and be safe out there!