Part of the frustration anglers feel this time of the winter on Strawberry Reservoir is that the fish around Strawberry Bay Marina (the most popular area to fish due to the ease of access) have seen every lure imaginable by the end of February. I have spent hours with loads of fish showing on my fish finder, yet they simply would not bite this time of year.
The problem of too many ice anglers in a relatively small area has now been solved by the folks at Strawberry Bay Marina.
As I wrote a while ago, a new service has been launched that takes anglers wherever they would like to go on the ice. A couple of my friends, Brent Daybell and Bob Eckman (both from West Jordan), took the “plunge” so to speak and hired the shuttle service to help them go ice fishing a few days ago.
When they arrived at Strawberry Bay Marina, the staff loaded their tent, finders, rods, reels, tackle, and food into a large sled and then took them to the exact location to which they had asked to be taken. Although they did not share with me the “exact’ spot they fished, they did tell me they found water between 40 and 50 feet deep.
The thing that impressed them most about the shuttle service was when they arrived at their destination they were completely alone. No other anglers were anywhere near their location. The only snowmobile they saw all day was being run by a DWR officer checking their licenses. They literally felt like they were the only anglers on the ice.
Imagine ice fishing Strawberry Reservoir on 18 inches of safe ice as if you were on some remote lake in Canada or Alaska, full of fish just waiting to bite with only you and your buddy on the ice. They could not wait to start catching fish.
They drilled a few holes, determined the depth, put up their ice tent and settled in to see if they could catch fish. Most of the time Daybell and Eckman fish Strawberry (regardless of the time of year) they use tube jigs (Gitzits) in various colors, tipped with nightcrawlers. That day on the ice was no different. As they dropped their Gitzits in white and green, they encountered suspended cutthroats that hit almost immediately as the lures headed toward the bottom.
“It was just like they hadn’t seen a bait before,” Daybell reported. “Eventually, we ended up catching most of our fish on near the bottom, but fish were all through the water column.”
The angling method Daybell spoke of is the same one we use in the early fall. Cutthroats love to chase down their prey and will also “grub” for food on or close to the bottom.
.My two friends were not fishing rocky points. They were on a large, deep flat the held an enormity of fish. The only differences between winter and fall were that the numbers of suspended fish were fewer and more of the fish were close to or on the bottom.
In the fall, once you find a major school of cutthroats, you quite literally can stay on them for days. There have been times we have caught fish in the same general location for up to a month. I would bet that in the winter (under the ice) the cutthroats had discovered a great source of food, crayfish, minnows, insects, or plankton that will most likely hold them in the same or close to the same location.
“In the time we spent on the ice, we landed 32 cutthroats and missed around 50 more bites,” Daybell said. “We had a fantastic day.”
If you want to get away from the crowds and have part of Strawberry Reservoir to yourselves, grab some fishing buddies and call Strawberry Bay Marina to book the shuttle service.
You will not be sorry you did.