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Utah Lake at night?

FLASY FISH LURES fishing
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Utah Lake at night?
  With the new schedule IHC forced down our throats, I am having a terrible time getting out for anything. My random days off are just not enough to get prepped, get responsibilities nailed down, plan ahead, and go fishing....

So, the only answer is to rob myself of sleep.

I can easily get to Utah Lake in 25 minutes from the IMC hospital, so I could conceivably fish on nights I'm on call, got called in, or after work........

Can anybody tell me anything about UL crappies, walleyes, bass, and white bass at night? Bluegills and perch don't much bite at night, even in the summer it seems, but crappies taste ALMOST as good as bluegills and are nearly as much fun to catch, white bass are fun. I'll fish for whatever if I'm not wasting my time....

My ice fishing record at Utah Lake has been pretty mixed. Caught a lot of pan fish at the Pumphouse once. Usually, it''s mainly white bass. For some reason, I almost NEVER catch anything near docks.........

If I don't go at night, I may only get out 4-5 times this year. Pineview is too far. I'll mostly be alone, so help me avoid anything too dangerous...
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
I have found that the ice is often sketchy and have fished from the docks, through the ice, or in close proximity to the docks. Most of the time I hit Utah Lake State Park, and have fished there at night several times. Prior to Christmas, they were making everyone exit by 5 pm due to the Christmas light display/event they had going on. Im not sure what the hours are now but hope to check it out again soon.

I also have seen others report on ice fishing at Pelican Bay in the Saratoga Springs area. Im not familiar with the access there.

This year I have caught white bass and perch by fishing a small jig tipped with wax worms or night crawlers right on or near the bottom of the south docks (just near the locked gates). The one crappie I caught was suspended mid column. It took a lot of effort and downsizing to my smallest jig to get the crappie to bite. Suggest using a spring bobber on the end of your pole to detect light crappie bites.

Last year catchinon, piscophilic, and I fished late one night and caught a bunch of white bass off of the furthest northwest dock. Catchinon and I have fished on and near that dock several other times with mostly white bass and the occasional perch to show for it.

Good luck and maybe well run into you out there some night!

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joatmon
jack of all tackle, master of none
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
I've fished at UL state park 7 times the last 2 weeks and it is slow. But that is during the early morning. This morning I saw a couple of guys fishing out on the ice in the harbor. Walked out there to ask if they are catching any fish. They only caught 1 whitebass, and the ice was a little over 2". I quickly walk back on to the dock. Not sure if the night bite is any better. I have caught perch, whitebass and crappies out of Lindon boat harbor. Same as over Pelican bay.
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Most species in Utah Lake can be caught under ice after dark. White bass and crappie inside the harbors are your best bet. And they are both attracted to light. But you will do better if you place your light on the ice a few feet away from where you are fishing. And if you are fishing for walleyes, fish even further away from the lights or only use a headlamp when needed rather than flooding the area with lantern light.


Using glow goodies can help...or it can not be a good idea. Take both glow and non-glow stuff and experiment. Also take a variety of baits. Wax worms are good for most species but so are plain old crawlers...or a piece of white bass meat.


White bass tend to orient more to the bottom, whereas the crappies will usually be suspended above bottom...sometimes cruising right beneath the ice after dark.


Walleyes can be tough anytime on Utah Lake. But a few anglers target them at night through the ice and if they can find them they usually score. But since these fish roam around a lot it takes luck to set up on a walleye night highway. One good ploy is to have a dead minnow suspended just above the bottom on one rod while actively working a rattling lipless crankbait on another close by. The noise will bring in curious fish and they will either smack the lure or slurp up the bait. Sometimes just working a large plastic with a piece of worm will get walleye action...or a silly catfish.


Success under the ice is almost always better inside the harbors than taking your chances in the wide open lake outside. The exception is at Lincoln Beach, where there are offshore rock piles and rock shelves...and more variations in bottom contours.


If you can work it, try to get to the lake before dark and try to locate a fishy area. Then get set up and don't move around a lot or make too much noise. Utah Lake is shallow and the fish are all affected by too much commotion in their area. In short, set up your lantern a few feet away and then sit quietly over one or two holes you can work without having to tromp on the ice. Stay put, watch your sonar and wait for fish to move through.


Oh yeah, set up a machine gun too...to discourage curious nighttime visitors who want to stomp across the ice to ask stupid questions...or fish out of your second hole. Can't count the times when I have been doing well...with lots of fishy marks on my sonar...only to see a blank screen and motionless rod after the noisy doofii visit. Night fishing in shallow water is definitely not a social sport.

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Re: [TubeDude] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Thanks, TubeDude.

"and if they can find them they usually score"

There's always a catch, isn't there? I've never caught a UL walleye, except a few tiny cigars in the Jordan River below ther Pumphouse.

"rattling lipless crankbait on another close by"

I MIGHT have one of those, but it's a crawdad pattern. Tongue I've seen people using Sonar Lures in the same way, aggressively jigging them to create strong vibrations and noise.

I was thinking about Lincoln Beach, actually, but its out of range to respond and get back to Murray if I get called, so may not be my first spot.

"try to get to the lake before dark and try to locate a fishy area"

Another handicap. I leave work about 5:30 pm, and I'm usually on call until next morning when my regular shift starts. However, the caution on the making of noise I will take to heart.

I don't have any sonar. Don't know when I ever will. I don't have a machine gun, either, so I guess the old 12 ga. will have to do. Ill keep the lantern turned low.
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
From the intel I have been receiving, the State Park Marina at Provo is probably one of the best bets for you. Not much further than Lindon or American Fork but deeper. It was dredged last year and the extra depth seems to help draw in more fish. And there are almost always a few walleyes that creep in there, although most Utah Lake tanglers do not have the skill, knowledge or luck to get acquainted with them.


You are right about the blade baits being good for jigging. But in the "olden days"...even when we were not nearly as smart as we are now...we worked plain old hammered nickle spoons and caught everything on them. That was after chopping a hole in the ice with our axes. And while fishing with the same 7 foot rods we used for trout...after the opener.


Oh yeah, we didn't have fish finders back then either. We just kept chopping holes and trying new spots until someone caught something. Then we might stay in the same area all day...without ice sleds or tents to stay out of the wind. Today's ice anglers are much better equipped...and a bunch of wimps.


Good luck. Hope you are able to take advantage of your new work schedule. When the world gives you a lemon...make lemonade. Or else get out the salt and tequila. But don't tell the bishop.

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Re: [joatmon] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Thanks, Joatman.

It's funny, though, just a few years back, I fished the Bubble-Up and Lindon about this time of year. The harbor was socked in with 6" of ice, and the open lake had 8", easily.

Access at Pelican Bay is easy year round, and I always do well on something there in the late spring, at least. Used to get a lot of crappies, bluegills, and bass in the harbor. There used to be some great bluegill beds over there come May/June, but I've been less successful on those species since they broke down the phrag.

Always use a spring bobber or similar, but when I hear the word "suspended" it scares me. Without sonar that makes it a real guessing game....
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
The hours, this time of year, at the UL State Park are posted as 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. I have no idea if they enforce them or not.

Link


We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.
- Stephen M.R. Covey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Thanks.
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Some years the whites will be crazy all day and thru dusk but shut down at full pitch dark then start up again like an hour after dark. This year they mostly shut down at pitch dark but there was one day that it was slow but steady after pitch dark. Ten years ago they were more aggressive, and I've ice 150 white bass in the pitch dark with no light whatsoever. Don't worry about walleye, chances are like winning a lottery ticket. I used to fish that lake up to 5 times a wk and in 30yrs I've iced only 3 eyes of size like 22 plus inches. I don't count the 8 inchers lol, those are fry. Ul eyes are only accessible during spawn and I have caught a them frequently at that point. U will catch crappie at night for sure. Again light isn't necessary and fish like crappie seem to hate glow jigs. Glow jigs only work for trout which go absolutely nuts for them. I would just jig for whites and crappies at night, don't worry about the other species. At this point most of the best winter fishing at Ul is over with though. There will be some fish here and there, but anything under a hundred white bass is boring to me lol. They need to bite on every drop or I just don't bother with it. I haven't fished much last 5yrs but I'm getting my health back so starting up again.
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Re: [Fin-S-Fish] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Great information. Could you give me some specifics about how to catch the crappie this time of year? I've tried a few times and have had no luck.

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"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [Fin-S-Fish] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Thanks, Fin-n-Fish

"Again light isn't necessary and fish like crappie seem to hate glow jigs."

Well, I more or less always bring my Coleman lantern for both light and hand-warming. However, at Pineview, I have used glowing jigs with great success for crappie in the past (haven't found em the last couple years.) I also see people purposely setting up big, bright lights outside their tents, and a couple guys using bright green underwater lights shallow above deep water.

I took a buddy out to PV once, who jokingly accused me of withholding information, because I was out-fishing him so badly, until he found out I was using glow-in-the-dark jigs. I had assumed anybody fishing in deep water at night would have known to use a glow jig.

That makes it even more interesting that your experience is the opposite. Is that mostly at UL, or everywhere in your experience? Wonder what that is about? Depth? Water clarity? Simple skittishness in the shallow water and noise on the ice?
(This post was edited by Springbuck on Jan 15, 2020, 7:58 AM)
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
As I suggested, glow jigs WILL work...sometimes. In fact, there have been times of murky water when a glow head on a plastic was the ticket for both white bass and walleyes.


And the crappies in UL WILL hit glow jigs...if they feel like it. If they are in a funky mood they may not hit anything. Without sonar to find where they are coming through it can be tough.



Never say never...or always.

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Re: [catchinon] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
  Catchinon, I'm not an expert, but I will say that finding the crappie is the first step (as usual) during the winter.

WB usually just come in mobs and like active baits (jigs, Sonar lures, rattley things) or one by one, taking things like ice jigs with WB meat, worms, or waxies nearer the bottom.

Bluegills tend to be in clumps where there is any structure, or spread along the bottom of flats. Last year at Lincoln Beach, some guys had a hole RIGHT NEXT to shore, a rocky drop-off. You could reach in and feel big rocks on two sides. They caught big bluegills and white bass every few minutes for a couple of hours.

CRAPPIES run in schools (so you gotta find the school) maybe tight, maybe spread out. AND they suspend, like TD mentioned. They may be right on the bottom, or right under the ice.

The couple times I caught decent numbers of crappies through UL ice, I was catching other species as well. I had learned on this site to lower my jigs slowly through the holes, letting the jigs keep my line straight, if not actually tight, rather than just dumping them down the hole. Often enough, a crappie would take it on the fall, and a tiny TICK would be visible in the line, OR the line would stop sinking as the jig sank. That was a crappie taking the lure on the drop.
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
"The couple times I caught decent numbers of crappies through UL ice, I was catching other species as well. I had learned on this site to lower my jigs slowly through the holes, letting the jigs keep my line straight, if not actually tight, rather than just dumping them down the hole. Often enough, a crappie would take it on the fall, and a tiny TICK would be visible in the line, OR the line would stop sinking as the jig sank. That was a crappie taking the lure on the drop."

I have had good success in finding and catching suspending crappies by doing just the opposite. First I drop to the bottom. Then I slowly bring the jigs up about six inches at a time...first wiggling it and then letting it sit completely motionless. Watch and feel for the tick...or a line twitch. Keep track of where the bites occurred and then bring your jig back up off the bottom to that level on subsequent drops. If you run out of action, go back to the drop and staggered lift routine. Different groups of fish may be cruising at different depths.
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Re: [catchinon] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
TD's response is right on about the crappies. They are suspended. But I fished a secret spot on UL for the crappies, I opened 2miles of trail through 12 'high Phrag and calf deep mud to wade into an open water pocket. This spot held tons of crappies and bluegills, caught the crappies topwater even lol, they even sucked in dry flies on top. Caught them in pitch dark too on jigs. This spot is gone now, there's no phrag left for cover. Used to catch crappies every cast there for about a 20 year time frame during winter. Usually just fished an hour or so, got a quick limit and quit. UL has too much carcinogenic glyphosate contamination now, I fish it much less than I used to. They keep spraying that phrag, and tumors are appearing on fish of all species, metastatic ovarian cancer in crappies and white bass. It's freaky.
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Re: [Springbuck] Utah Lake at night? In reply to
Mostly at UL I have noticed a negative response to phosphorescence glow jigs. I specifically experimented on crappies and white bass several times. I would be catching them steadily on non glow lures. I would charge up a glow tear with same bait and place it down the hole, nothing touched it for ten minutes. Finally I put original non glow methodology down and it was devoured in seconds. From this I gathered they didn't like glow. Further, I have not caught a single walleye on glow vs many eyes on black or purple type jigs non glow. At mantua, I have only caught one or two bluegill extra after attempting glow jigs. But trout of all species in numerous waters, I've had excellent success with charged glow jigs. I caught many crappies at pine view with glow tears uncharged. I never did attempt to charge them for warm water species after the Ul experiment. It seems some fish like a subtle glow, after the glow fades a bit, it works. I think to some fish, glow seems unnatural, their normal food does not glow. Fish are not as skittish in shallow water as you might think. I've chiseled many holes in Ul and mantua in only 6ft of water and caught fish on the first drop. The pounding it took to make the hole was anything but subtle.