Hardly a week goes by during the winter when I don’t receive requests for fishing reports on Sand Hollow and Quail Creek Reservoir near St. George. A little over a week ago, I spent three days at Sand Hollow and talked to several anglers that had reasonable success at Quail Creek, so let’s take a look at fishing in Utah’s Dixie for March.
Quail Creek Reservoir, besides being a trophy bass lake, is stocked (each fall) with rainbows and the reservoir transforms into a nice little winter trout fishery. Trout can survive in the reservoir because it is the deepest impoundment in the area. I am told it approaches 190 feet deep at full pool.
A couple of my fishing buddies spent a day on Quail Creek a few weeks ago and found some very fat, healthy rainbows that most likely were carryovers from previous years’ stockings. The fish were near the bottom in 20 feet of water and responded well to drop shot worms in a shad color.
I am certain trout would respond to nightcrawlers tipped with marshmallows (to keep them off the bottom) or even spooning, tipping the spoons with Berkley maggots in pink or white once you find a school with your fish finder.
If you were to fish from shore, standard trout baits including Powerbait could be thrown using a bubble (sliding not pegged to the line) and a split shot weight placed about 18 inches above your treble hooks.
One area I would target would be northwest of the state park boat ramp where the rocky bank makes a 45-degree drop from the road to the water.
My team partner, Brent Daybell, and I fished a tournament on Sand Hollow a week ago last Saturday, so we spent a couple of days before the tournament on the reservoir trying to determine where the fish were hiding during the cold winter months.
I enjoy fishing Sand Hollow this time of year but I must warn you, it is not a fast or easy time to catch bass. The difficulty is that the bass are very comfortable in 30 to 50 feet of water eating small crappies, blue gills, and crayfish hiding in thick grass covering most of the bottom. I locate fish on my fish finders and drop vertically for them using drop shots, Ned rigs, jigs (crawdad colors), and even spoons.
Since I get so many requests for information on shore angling at Sand Hollow, I spent a reasonable amount of time (two hours per day) going shallow and fishing within easy casting distance of the shoreline. I kept the boat in around 20 feet of water and fished as shallow as two to five feet.
The results were not very promising. One fish picked up my drop shot worm (shad shaped worm) at 15 feet, but other than that I had no bites in the shallows. Up to a dozen other anglers targeted the rocks to the north of the launch ramp from the shore, carefully walking out to the edge of the rocks and casting into 20 feet of water. As we watched, not one angler caught a fish from the shore.
Sand Hollow is at full pool right now and due to recent winter storms, should be full for the immediate future.
On Saturday, we caught 12 largemouth bass and our largest four fish took fourth place in the tournament, but with the big fish of the afternoon session, we brought home a little more money that we thought we might have earned.
The bass we caught were more active, and it seemed to us that the fish “wanted” to come into the shallows. This bodes will for an early spring on Sand Hollow. Most of our bass were caught in 23 feet of water while just a day or two previous, our fish came from 33 to 45 feet.
Give Sand Hollow a couple of weeks, and with any luck, shore anglers as well as boaters should be catching quality bass. Good Luck.