Trout for Dinner

Five quick getaways where you can drop your fishing line.

I started fishing at what most would say is late in life: age 14. My brother-in-law took me on my first fishing trip to Utah Lake and I immediately was hooked. Even if I didn’t catch a thing, I learned patience. On one of my early fishing trips, a fellow fishermen taught me to never to use the whole worm; always cut it in half.

As an adult, I took my two daughters fishing. They’ve always loved to fish and now, at age 14 and 18, they still do. To this day, they ask if and when I’m going and if they can tag along. There’s nothing better than fishing with my daughters!
I will never admit to this to my wife, but she is by far a better a caster and a better fisher person than I am. She loves to fish, and I love the company.

Another secret is that I don’t actually enjoy eating fish. I am, however, the cook of the family, so I clean and grill our catch the same day. I don’t do anything special—just add a little salt, pepper and butter on the grill and a wedge of lemon on the side. My wife is my biggest critic when it comes to food, and so far I haven’t received a bad review.

As my work and family responsibilities keep me close to town, I don’t always have time for a remote fishing trip. I choose nearby places where I can drop my line in for a few hours and return home with a catch. Here are some of my favorite close-to-town spots:

F1Middle Provo River
1 hour 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
Location: Charleston Bridge near Heber
How you get there: Take Interstate 80 east to exit 146, merging onto US-189/US-40 toward Heber. Travel 17.1 miles; turning right onto River Road. Follow River Road to Midway, get on UT-113 and follow it into Charleston.
What do you fish for? Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, German brown trout
Why fish there? I hike another 100 yards to the first clearing and cast out. There are some deep holes there where I’ve caught big fish (approximately 8-12 pounds) that are fighters.
Pole: Spincast or fly-fishing, I use a 2-piece Garcia pole, one-piece Cabela rod
Line: 6-8 lbs.
Bait: Worms, crickets or legal live bait
What to watch out for? Very shallow water. Watch your line to ensure you don’t snag. You need to plan ahead as it’s approximately a 100-yard walk from the parking area. You can go in as far you like as the waterway is 12 miles and ends up in the Provo River.

F2Burraston Ponds (aka Mona Ponds)
1 hour 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
Location: near Mona, Utah
How you get there: Take Interstate 15 south to exit 233 for UT-54 West toward Mona , take North Main Street to Highway 41 south about 1/4 mile, watch for the Burraston Road sign on right hand side of the road.
What do you fish for? Rainbow trout and German brown trout
Why fish there? I enjoy the quiet, peaceful fishing. There are a lot of trees and shade. You don’t have to walk far—within 20 feet, you are at a pond!
Pole: I use a 2-piece Garcia pole, one-piece Cabela rod
Line: 8-10 lbs.
Bait: Gold power bait, sometimes rainbow power bait and live bait worms/nightcrawlers
What to watch out for? The mud builds up around the bank making it easy to get stuck—easy to lose a shoe! Just ask my wife.

F5Ogden River
50 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
Location: Ogden Canyon
How you get there: Take Interstate 15 north to U.S. 89 to Harrison Boulevard to Canyon Road. Head east to Ogden Canyon ravine. Stop anywhere along the river.
What do you fish for? Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout,
albino rainbow trout
Why fish there? I like to fish there early in the morning or early evening—but not too late, because there are bats, and bats and I don’t get along! I love that there are bathrooms, picnic tables and a great view. You can explore several little fishing holes up and down the canyon. The higher up you go, the better the fishing.
Pole: I use a 2 piece Garcia pole, one-piece Cabela rod
Line: 8-10 lbs.
Bait: Gold power bait and nightcrawlers
What to watch out for? The bats in the evening … they are everywhere!
F4Utah Lake
55 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
Location: near Provo
How you get there: Go south on Interstate 15, then take exit 268 (Center Street in Provo); continue west 2.5 miles to the Utah Lake State Park; access is also available at Lindon Boat Harbor (privately owned) and American Fork Boat Harbor (city owned)
What do you fish for? Walleye,
white bass, black bullhead, bluegill,
yellow perch and carp
Why fish there? I fish on the Saratoga and Lehi side and enjoy fishing there for the sport. The fish are big and strong enough to take your pole—it’s an adventure!
Pole: I use a 2-piece Garcia pole, one-piece Cabela rod
Line: 10-12 lbs.
Bait: Nothing but live bait
What to watch out for? They have huge carp! Boating is allowed, so it gets busy. There are fees to get into the park depending on where you go. They also have camping and restrooms. Dogs are OK if on a leash.

F3Bear Lake
1 hour 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City
Location: north of Garden City, Utah
How you get there: Take Interstate 15 north to U.S. 89/91 in Brigham City, stay on that until you reach Logan. Turn left on U.S. 89 to Garden City. Go 1 mile north of Garden City. Fish lakeside or off a public dock.
What do you fish for? Cutthroat trout, lake trout, white fish and carp
Why fish there? It’s a beautiful blue water, beautiful landscape and great fishing.
Pole: I use a 2-piece Garcia pole, one-piece Cabela rod
Line: 8-10 lbs.
Bait: Gold and Rainbow power bait and worms.
What to watch out for? Big carp and tons of seagulls. Also, there are not many trees, so it gets hot.

Before heading out, don’t forget to purchase a fishing license. You can download the free Utah Hunting and Fishing mobile app from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which allows you to buy and download your license and permits, learn about upcoming events, identify fish and more.

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