Just about the time you'd think fishing would start cooling down, it gets hot. And, about the time you'd think anglers would catch the fever and dig out the old fishing rod and tackle box, they put it away for the winter.
It happens every year: Temperatures cool down so fishermen turn off instead of turning on.After waiting all spring and summer for Strawberry to turn on, and it suddenly does, fishing pressure drops.
After fighting the crowds and tough fishing all summer along the banks of the Green River, the fishing turns on and there's hardly an angler there to enjoy it.
Which, says Mickey Anderson of Fish Tech, is OK with those still out there casting.
Last week, it was sometimes more difficult to keep fish away from the hooks than it was to draw the fish to the hooks. In their eagerness to get fat for winter, fish were hitting flies the second they hit the water, often before the fisherman had time to flip the bail on the reel or take hold of the fly line.
Byron Gunderson, also with Fish Tech, reported catching and releasing "60 or 70 fish in an afternoon. It didn't matter what fly you used or where you set it, there was a fish there to take it."
Most of the fish were between 12 and 16 inches, "but about every fourth fish has some size to it. Some went up to three and four pounds."
Fishermen have also done well at Strawberry with worms and Power Bait.
The most popular fly has been a green Crystal Killer. Fly fishermen have also done well with black, brown and red Woolly Buggers.
Anderson said that with the cooler temperatures the fish have moved closer to the surface, which means the second the fly hits the water it's time to start retrieving.
Utah rivers are also in good shape. The browns and brooks are in the pre-spawn at higher elevations. It'll be another month before they reach that stage at the lower elevations.
This is the time, however, when the big browns are anxiously trying to feed before they spawn and are therefore less particular about what they eat.
"What you'll want to do is go with the larger streamers and work the mid-depths of the rivers. This is where the larger fish hang out. This is when some of the trophy browns are caught," he noted.
Nymphs, fished along the bottom, are also working well.
Last week along the Green, Anderson said fishing was excellent, but there were few fishermen to enjoy it. Most of the fish were between 16 and 21 inches. Some of the fastest fishing was with a grasshopper pattern with a beadhead dropper.
The Logan River has been excellent. The best fishing has been for cutthroats downstream from Card Canyon Bridge. Suggested fly patterns are caddis imitation and large stimulator.
The Weber has also been good, but there haven't been many fishermen along the banks in recent weeks.
Ever though the air temperatures are dropping, the water temperatures aren't following as quickly. So in their attempt to find the cooler waters, some fish are moving near the inlets of reservoirs. Fishing will continue to get better as the waters continue to cool.
A great place to take the kids is Hyrum Reservoir for large perch, which are reported to be between 9 and 11 inches. Look for underwater weeds and drop a small jig, with a small piece of perch meat or perch eye attached, in about 11 feet of water. Bass fishing has also been good.
The wiper boils have started at Willard Bay. The best fishing has been early mornings and late afternoons. The wipers are chasing shad, so the best lures are anything with the same coloring as the shad. The wiper is a cross between a striped bass and a white bass and is expected to become one of the more popular species in Utah. Not only do they put up a good fight and are relatively easy to catch, they are also excellent eating.
The most consistent action at Flaming Gorge has been for smallmouth bass. The best fishing has been with crankbait, spinners and crayfish-colored jigs along rocky shorelines.
Other hot spots are Calder Reservoir, Utah Lake, Burraston Ponds, Current Creek, Steinaker Reservoir, Fish Lake (fishing pressure has also been low here) and Panguitch Lake.