It's a good time to go fishing. The main reason, of course, is the fish are biting. Nice, too, is the opportunity to get outdoors and away from the four walls and telephone.

Those who have dropped baits and lures in recent days have, on more frequent occasions, pulled up with fish on - and some fish of reasonable size.Winter is a good time to catch fish, especially when there's an ice covering. First, access to where the fish are is easier, and second, larger fish feel safer coming into shallower water when there is ice overhead.

Fishing, for example, has been good for whitefish at Bear Lake. According to angler Jim Gunderson, his party caught several limits (20 fish), "and none of the fish we kept was under 12 inches. Most of the fish were between 12 and 18 inches."

He said they were fishing in 20 to 25 feet of water, and using bright-colored ice flies tipped with wax worms. Several large rainbow were also caught. The ice is about 20 inches thick.

Fishing has been fair at Deer Creek this year for perch, but the fish have all been on the small side. According to reports, some of the larger perch are just now starting to show up on fishing lines. The larger fish seem to be in shallower waters, between 15 and 20 feet. For perch, fishermen are using spoons and ice flies tipped with perch meat or perch eye or wax worm. For trout, crappie "gitzits" are working well.

There are about 20 inches of ice on Deer Creek.

The limit for trout at Lost Creek is four fish, and many fishermen aren't having much trouble reaching it lately. The fish have been in the 11- to 12-inch class. Cheese on small treble hooks or wax worms on ice flies have been working well.

The Provo River below Deer Creek has been one of the better fishing spots. Heavy pressure on weekends and evenings is proof. Sometimes it's difficult to find a parking spot. For dry fly fishermen, there have been two daily hatches. The first between 10 and 11:30 a.m., the second between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Fishermen are using small Nos. 18 and 20 flies. Wet fly fishermen have been using nymphs on the bottom - pheasant's tail, haresear, muskrat and glowbugs.

The fishing is still pretty good at Fish Lake for those who have found the fish. Apparently they've moved. Where fishing used to be best on the west side of the lake, it is now better on the east side. Best success for rainbow and splake has been in 20 to 25 feet of water.

A 24-pound Mackinaw was pulled from Fish Lake two weeks ago. The fish was in water about 100 feet deep along Mackinaw Run. There are about 24 inches of ice on the lake.

Quail Creek outside of St. George is nearly full again. The water is still a little cool, but should be warming up. As it does, fishing will get better. The limit on bass is six, but only four can be under 10 inches and two over 18.

The pace at Pine View has been fast. The slowest part of fishing for small perch is getting the fish off the line. Most of the fish are small, but occasionally a larger fish will bite. The biggest fish are coming out of areas near the dam in water 35 to 50 feet deep. One fisherman reported catching more than 100 fish in an afternoon. Tear drops with wax worms and plastic jigs have worked well.

The Green River below Flaming Gorge has been spotty. The water level has been low and the fish finicky. Glowbugs seem to work the best right now.

Joe's Valley has been good for splake. Most of the fish have been in the 14- to 21-inch range. Nearby Electric Lake has also been good for cutthroats.

Fishermen going out should make sure they dress for the weather, check to make sure the ice is safe around the edges before venturing out, and be willing to move around if the fish aren't bitting right there.