KSL Outdoors: Catching Northern Pike at Yuba Reservoir

(Steve Smith, Salina Angler) Let’s go get them today, good ones.

We are headed out to chase the toothy predators in Yuba.

Back in the mid to late nineties Yuba Reservoir was considered one of the best walleye and perch fisheries in the state. But that all changed in 2003, when the reservoir was drained for dam repairs. Once the reservoir began to fill back up, anglers stepped up and helped biologists re-stock perch back into the reservoir and it was hoped that once the perch came back, the walleye would follow. A decade after Yuba was drained, anglers are catching very few perch, some walleye, but main predator now is the Northern Pike.

(Mike Slater, DWR Aquatics Program Manager) Couple of years ago, the pike had an incredible spawn. Typically the fish between 18-25 inches those are the fish we are seeing in high numbers.

(Adam) oh look at that. OH, that’s a monster dude, that’s forty. (steve) yeah he might go forty. (net fish) Woo we need a bigger net. (laughs) Look at the girth on that thing.

The DWR has recently been working with angling groups and several other agencies to come up with a Yuba management plan. The plan is to keep Yuba, a trophy pike fishery, but also to try and come up with some ideas on how to improve the walleye and perch fishery.

(Mike Slater) couple of things that we are going to work on is we are working on supplement of those yellow perch, the forage base. There’s just not enough fish in there for the walleye or the pike or other predators in there to eat. So we are looking at purchasing as well as transplanting perch from other locations into Yuba Reservoir.

(Mike Slater) Fish Lake is a location that we’ve selected and looked at trying to move some of the perch there.

(Mike Slater) we are testing the fish right now to make sure these fish are disease free and eligible for us to move from Fish Lake. If we get the green light on that, next year right after ice out, we’ll go in and try and collect just as many fish as we can get our hands on.

(Collin Carlson, finpusher.com) Pike on the fly, he feels pretty good. (adam) oh yeah, nice fish.

Collin is a third generation fly fisher, a guide on the green and someone who just enjoys catching anything on his custom made flies. He was showing that catching a pike on a fly, can be just as effective as catching them with a rapala.

(Collin) nice yuba pike on the fly, look at those blues. Lots of color in these fish down here. Fighters too.

(Collin) if you are coming down here looking to get into some pike with a fly rod you are going to want to have a six and a eight weight, depending on what size of fly you’re throwing.

(Collin) this is a great perch pattern right here. We’ve got that orange, yellow and green colors. Again with the orange, coppers work really good down here. Lots of flash, good for essexs. And then if you are tying your own stuff or if you can find stuff that has a rattle in it. (nats rattle) When the water murks up, the wind picks up a little bit and you get a color change and they can’t see well under the water, then use something that has a little bit of noise in it.

(Collin) when you are fishing down here, these are toothy critters and you don’t have to use steel leaders. You can use what is called bite guard and this is a Seaguar 80 pound.

(collin) fluorocarbon.

(Collin) Instead of tying a clinch knot and holds that fly and pinches it like this, especially with this really stiff line. Your fly is not going to move naturally in the water. So you want a hoop style knot, that your fly can articulate in.

(Adam) that’s a nice fish. (larry Circle, Pleasant Grove) it’s a good one. (adam) caught many of those before? (Larry) this is my first one. (adam) that’s your first pike? (Larry) first one ever. (adam) that’s a pretty good one. Nice start.

(Collin) first walleye I’ve ever caught (laughs) I can’t lip him can’t I. (laughs) go right ahead lip him.

And don’t overlook the walleye, there are still some good ones in here. We caught our three man limit, bottom bouncing a worm harness in 10 feet of water.

(Brad Cutler, Rocky Mountain Anglers) The thing about Yuba walleye, when they are healthy, they are nice fish.

(Adam tag) that’s not a big fish here at Yuba, that’s one of the smaller ones, I’ve got about a 38-40 inch at home, but if you’ve never caught one of these, Yuba is the place to come and check it off your bucket list. Time now to check this weeks quiz question.


(Adam) Welcome back to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. Collin Carlson with finpusher.com. We are at a central Utah Lake that’s known for rainbow trout. (collin) big rainbows. (adam) but we came here for smallmouth. Now we can’t exactly tell you where we are at, because my buddy Steve Smith would kill us, but believe me there’s some big fish in here.

(Lance Eliason, State Park Ranger) It’s well known for the rainbow fishing, you can see our fish cleaning station is pretty busy today, it’s been non-stop.

This small reservoir draws anglers from all over Utah, even Las Vegas for it’s great scenery, proximity to the Piute ATV trail and for fishing, but what most anglers don’t realize is they are missing the boat when it comes to the hardest fighting fish in the lake.

(larraine and Steve) he’s got it set the hook! (miss) (larraine) see every time you tell me that, I couldn’t feel it! (laughing and larraine wanting to punch Steve)

My buddy Steve has brought his lovely wife Larraine to fish, he’s bound and determined to get her on some bedded bass.

(Larraine with fish) (collin) there we go!. (adam) Hey Smith hold on for a second, we are going to come over there.

(Adam) what is the reason it’s so good where we are at? (steve) well right now, the water temperature is right, right at 60 degrees, full moon, the bass are getting on the beds, real aggressive, easy to catch. We just have a lot of fun with them right now and turning them loose so the next person can catch them.

(Steve)now he’s got it now, now! (swing and a miss) (laughs) he was swimming off with it. (larraine) I’ll just decide next time, ok. (steve) ok, you watch.

(Adam) you were getting a butt whipping out there, not just fishing, but she was mad at you. (steve) yeah a timing issue, I tell her to set the hook and she gets a little mad at me. But she did catch the first fish today, I’ve got to say that and probably the biggest one if the truth was known. (laughs)

(Steve) he’s got it now, I don’t know what to tell you. Did you see him, he had it sideways. (larraine) what did I tell you. You had better put your lifejacket on (laughs)

Collin has seen enough and decides to jump ship to try his luck with his fly rod.

(Collin catches fish) (steve) yup, he’s got it. (adam) on a fly rod, the ferry flicker came through.

(Adam) larraine, he stole you fish…oh my gosh. What a pig. (adam) is that typical here steve?

(Adam) that’s the biggest smallmouth I’ve ever seen. (collin) gawly. (steve) don’t turn him loose yet. (collin) provo hooker. (laughs) what a champ. Got to love those red eyes. That’s a tank. Wow heavy, what is that 16 inches and four pounds. Amazing. (Adam) What did it hit? (collin) That’s a finpusher original provo hooker.

As the weather warms, bass in higher elevation lakes like Starvation, Jordanelle and the gorge will all start having bedded bass as well. If you recognize this lake, next time take your bass gear, you just might be surprised at the big smallmouth you can catch. Time to head back to Salt Lake to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights fishing report.


(Adam) Welcome back to KSL Outdoors and for our third stop we’re hitting Deer Creek Reservoir, but we are not going fishing, well kind of. We are going bow fishing. A new law has enabled anglers to go and target carp at night. So the boys just arrived, it’s time to hit the water.

(greetings) Matt how we doing. (man hug) doing good, this is a motley crew.

we’ve assembled some of the craziest, and best shooters around. Our goal, shoot carp on the moon lit waters of Deer Creek.

(jeff Bringhurst, Sandy Bowfisher) This is my first time bowfishing at night, i just got the set up this year. I’m excited to try it, but you don’t get sunburned, you don’t have to deal with other guys on the lake. The fish seem to be, get caught in the spotlight a little bit more.

(Josh Noble, Utah Bowfishing Association President) we went through the RAC meetings this last year. The Utah Bowfishing Association went through, made a proposal to the Utah Racs, went ahead and got it approved and for the first time in legal existance we’ve been able to night bowfish.

To go bowfishing at night, you need a good deal of light. High pressure sodium lights or LED’s, powered by a generator or in Jeff’s case this 1250 Yeti, should be just the ticket.

(Jeff) I’ve got four 50 watts, and two 30 watts. They are cree, so they don’t draw hardly any power so yeah put them on that Yeti, they are probably going to run all night, then some. (adam) sweet, lets go try it, after we eat. (jeff) after we eat.

(Adam) alright there Anderson, what are we eating? (matt Anderson) Grilled Tri-tip, we pre-smoked a couple of them so we’ve got a little smoke hint, we’ll grill them on the grill box for everyone.

(Adam) have you ever done this at night? (matt) Never, I’m really excited, the daytime is a blast, it’s going to be a new adventure.

Finally the sun is starts to set, dark is upon us, it’s time to hit the water.

(Adam) We ready? We’re ready.

(Adam) ok, pull hard on that crank, start it up. (jeff starting) (adam) there she goes, turn her on.

(lights come on) (adam) wow, that’s bright.

(Josh) the best way to do it is with these Night Rangers. These LED lights that RPM brought to market this year. You can do it with a generic flashlight, a headlamp, it depends on how much money you want to spend on it. You can do it with just about anything. As long as you can illuminate some light, get it on the water, you’ll see some fish.

(Josh) there you go. (josh) we’re floating.

(Steve Mcgrath, Camp Chef) there is no better way to start a year, than out here with friends in the middle of the night, looking for fish, we are not shooting any fish, but we are looking for fish.

It is an eery feeling, the lights illuminating the grass under the water.

The glow of the full moon shining in the trees and bowfishers all at the ready hoping for a big ol’ carp to show itself. When one does, it’s the quick draw that gets the shot.

(Adam) you can see about two feet down. (jeff) right there below us, shoot STEVE! (shot) nice job Mcgrath. (adam) you get him? fish on! Woo hoo.

(Jeff) that was so cool seeing it down in the water like that. (adam) did it hover there. (steve) it was just straight below us, it didn’t move at all.

(Josh Noble) it sure is a lot of fun, the neat thing about night bow fishing is you are always on point. You’ve got this halo of light out in front of the boat, so you are not looking long distance, you’ve got this halo that sticks out in front of the boat, you are always on point and all of a sudden this glowing orb comes into the light and everybody is super excited to shoot some fish, it’s a great time.

(Jeff) I almost shot, then I realized I couldn’t shoot through the platform. (steve draws and shoots) (adam) oh Stevo, that’s two.

(josh) to get you on the water you can go to Home Depot and buy yourself a 250 watt halogen for 9.99 plug it into a generator, get out on the water and shoot some fish.

(shot on other boat) woo hoo!

(Josh) do you always wear your pajamas when you bowfish at night? (chuck) not always some times I go buck naked.

On that note, let’s take a look at another species in tonights Utah Field Guide.

Add comment

Get In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.