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Morgan Jacobsen, Utah Division of Widlife Resources

Why now is a great time to fish Joes Valley Reservoir

By Faith Heaton Jolley  |  Posted Apr 18th, 2017 @ 2:30pm


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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — If you want to catch big fish in a scenic location this spring, you should plan a trip to Joes Valley Reservoir.

Located about 15 miles west of Orangeville in east-central Utah, Joes Valley offers turquoise blue water and three different fish species: splake (a sterile cross between lake trout and brook trout), cutthroat trout and tiger muskies. And Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists picked this body of water as the best place to catch big fish this spring.

DWR regional fisheries biologist Calvin Black said the reservoir offers some big fish, as discovered in a gill net survey last fall. Most of the splake in the reservoir are between 16-18 inches long and some weighed as much as 2 1/2 pounds.

“They’re definitely footballs,” Black said in a news release.

Many of the cutthroat trout in Joes Valley Reservoir range between 15-17 inches and weigh 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. The tiger muskies average between 36-40 inches.

The spring is a good time to fish these species at Joes Valley Reservoir because the splake and cutthroat trout currently hang out by the shoreline in water that’s only 5-10 feet deep, Black said. This makes it easier for anglers who want to fish from the shore.

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The reservoir is also much less crowded in the spring than during the summer months, and Joes Valley offers plenty of shoreline with easy access for fishing. Anglers can either get to the reservoir by pulling of state Route 29 and walking down the water or by parking in the parking lot near Seely Creek and walking to the west side of the reservoir, officials said. The reservoir also has a boat ramp, restroom picnic tables and a campground available.

Black recommended using chub meat when fishing for cutthroats right now at Joes Valley Reservoir. He said it is especially effective in May because chubs in the reservoir move into the shallows to spawn and hungry splake and cutthroats feed on them. Black said an effective lure at the reservoir is a ¼-ounce jig head with a plastic 3-inch white tube threaded on the hook. A good lure for tiger musky fishing at the reservoir is a large silver spoon or crankbait that is silver, black or green in color, Black said.

Anglers can keep up to four trout at Joes Valley, but only one of the fish can be longer than 18 inches.

What is your favorite spot to fish during the spring? Let us know in the comments.

Faith Heaton Jolley
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