The prime time for bass in Utah Lake is the late winter through the spring, but it’s not that the fish disappear, anglers simply move on to other waters as Utah Valley heats up and the surrounding mountains and cooler temperatures call like a siren’s voice.
As a follow up to the last post, the same areas will still hold fish. From Lincoln Beach in the south to Saratoga and Pelican Point in the north, bass settle in to their summer patterns. The key here is to think hard about where the fish would want to be and why? Let’s take a look at marinas.
In any sand- or clay-bottomed lake that struggles with fertility and can’t seem to grow sufficient vegetation except along the shoreline, fish seem to congregate in areas where they feel protected. Marinas offer that protection. The marinas in Utah Lake are built with levies of chunk rock. The rip rap areas seem to go on forever which play into the protection concept. There is so much area in which the bass can hide, ambush, and take advantage of feeding opportunities. The marinas also attract other prey species such as blue gills, sun fish, catfish, and white bass.
With the protection also comes the challenge of figuring out where among all the rocks will the bass “want” to be. I’ll leave most of that up you you, but here’s a huge hint — since Utah Lake is a shallow lake, oxygen depletion becomes problematic when air temperatures rise above the 90-degree mark.
Other areas that hold fish in the summertime also remain the same. Rivers, inlets, back waters, and irrigation ditches all hold fish year-round. The difficulty again, is simply finding areas that will hold the bass when the spring runoff ends and water levels drop. A push pole is a must for getting into pockets of deeper water in any of the inlets or back waters.
So, what are the summertime baits on Utah Lake? Simply put, follow the prey. White bass, blue gills, crappie, and sun fish make up the bulk of the largemouths’ diet beyond carp and catfish minnows which means color should gravitate toward any of the prey species. White is a great color for crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits. But, don’t forget black (catfish). Jigs work year-round and it would be a mistake to go too far away from blue/black. Creature baits work well. When I started fishing Utah Lake the Zoom Brush Hog was taking the California Delta by storm. My friend Bob Johnson brought me some and a tradition was begun. Interestingly, brown and green were the best colors. But, over time, reds, blacks, and combinations of blues are now dominant.
Swimbaits do well at times, crankbaits work very will in the summertime, and tubes and grubs flipped and pitched are mainstays.