Blacksmith Fork River Named a Great Place to Fish During the Winter – Cache Valley Daily
The Blacksmith Fork River is a great place for winter fishing, a Division of Wildlife Resources official said.
Hyrum – There’s more to winter fishing than sitting on a frozen pond and digging all the way through the ice. The Blacksmith Fork River is one of three rivers highlighted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Services as great places to fish during the winter.
With the mix of rain/snow conditions across the state, some anglers may think there are no opportunities to catch fish, but there is. Even in winter, streams and rivers can provide great fishing experiences. The Blacksmith Fork River is first on the list for being a nice little river that is easy to wade and a great place to sink some bait.
Blacksmith Fork is not heavily fished and is well stocked so anglers can catch plenty of fish. Sportsmen can find cutthroat trout (bear river subspecies) for the Utah cutthroat slam or hard-fighting brown trout. There is currently an abundance of brown trout in the Blacksmith Fork River, and current fishing regulations allow anglers to keep an additional four brown trout caught there.
The river holds brown trout, Bear River cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, and rainbow trout, depending on which stretch of the river you fish.
Water levels and clarity are great on the river this time of year, and there isn’t much ice currently. There are no bait restrictions in the river, so anglers can have success using nightcrawlers in pools and along the bank.
Hunters should dress appropriately for the conditions. Dress in layers when hunting during the winter, and be prepared for extremely cold conditions, especially early in the morning. Always be extremely careful when fishing along streams with deep snow or icy conditions. Access can also be more difficult during the winter, especially if there is a lot of snow in the area. DWR recommends checking with relevant land management agencies to see if parking spaces have been plowed, especially if snow has fallen recently.
Anglers should monitor their fishing pole guides if they start to freeze after a while (especially on very cold days), so be sure to have gloves on hand to remove the ice.
Clint Brunson, Utah Division of Wildlife Assistant Director for the Northern Region, wants to remind anglers when fishing a river during the winter that there are some things anglers should keep in mind.
“Fish metabolism slows down during the winter, so fish often spend time in areas of standing water to help them conserve energy,” he said. “Targeting pools and areas along riverbanks is often a good place to find fish during the winter months.”
Different lures that often work well during the winter months include Panther Martins, Bluefox or Mepps and small crankbaits in trout patterns. In areas where bait is allowed, jigs using a piece of nightcrawler are often successful. For fly anglers, they can often find success using small nymphs such as rabbit’s ear, pheasant tail, prince, hog bugs, and zebra finch. One key is to keep those nymphs close to the bottom because in winter the fish are not as willing to swim or dart as far in search of food as they are when it is warmer.
“The fish eat less during the winter, but there are still insects, so making sure you use small flies and bait and place them directly in front of the fish will help you have more success,” Trina, DWR Sportfish Coordinator, Hedrick said.
If you want to release newly caught fish, there are some tricks that can help reduce stress on the fish and increase their chances of survival. It is best to remove gloves, which usually have an absorbent fabric that can remove the protective layer of the fish’s skin. Wet your hands when handling the fish and use a rubber net to get the fish down more easily so you can keep it in the water while you remove the hook.
“Every second a fish is out of the water is a second it can’t breathe, so it’s a good idea to think about getting it back in the water and swimming freely as soon as possible,” Hedrick said. “With colder temperatures, fish typically experience less stress from the experience, but expediency is still key.”
Other rivers mentioned in the release for winter fishing are the lower Provo River and the Duchesne River.