KSL Outdoors: Fishing Utah Lake for walleye and bass

(Adam) Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. (tonya) and I’m Tonya Kieffer. (adam) you know Tonya spring is here, time to get out fishing. (tonya) it’s the walleye spawn, i’m so happy. (adam) you know so many people live along the Wasatch Front, so close to Utah Lake, we hope to show you some of those toothy critters.

(Tim Duke, Rocky Mountain Anglers) It was pretty good a couple of weeks ago. We’ll see what happens today, now that the weather has cleared up and things are nice.

We are headed out with Rocky Mountain Anglers. A group of avid walleye anglers to learn their secrets to catch the eyes at Utah Lake. Our destination…Bird Island.

(Tonya Kieffer) so we’ve reached Bird Island. Happens to be one of the best places to come and fish for walleye this time of year. It’s a rocky substrate of travertine, with a bunch of mud flats surrounding it which makes it ideal for walleye catch and the channel cat fish, later on in the summer months.

(Tim Duke) as long as those pelicans are here, there’s walleye around.

(Tim) “they’ll leave when the spawn is over.”

(Mike Slater) this year we are on about the tail end of the spawn right now. I’m hoping for some males in here still, they come in early and stay late. so most likely we’ll catch them.

(adam) now you and I were pulling nets last summer. With the guy that pulls the carp out of here. (adam) we saw some big fish. (mike) big walleye, that’s one thing that is encouraging about Utah Lake is that we haven’t seen anything that doesn’t look healthy. Everything is fat, full, good looking fish here at Utah Lake.”

(Adam) finally got one. (jason) Finally got one, picked up a walleye. Oh yeah she’s a good one. Need a net though.

(fish splash) nice fish. (tim) that’s a male. (jason) alright. That’s a good one. (tim) walleye! (laughs) (jason) average size. But fat healthy. Woo, inhaled that lure.

(Tim Duke, Rocky Mountain Anglers) I like to throw little crankbaits, jig tails, grubs are really popular. That’s one of the best ones out here. Black with a chartruese. Different crankbaits, small ones. Here’s a little jerk bait. Those work really well.

(Tim) these yamamoto’s are really good. This is the cinamon with the green and red flake #207.

(tim) if you can get it in front of their face, they’ll eat it, try and stay close to the bottom as you can. Bounce it off the rocks, if you are not doing that then you might not get any.

(fish out of net) (tonya) oh pretty! (brad) about 16 inches probably.

(Mike Slater, DWR Wildlife Program Manager) “There is a lot of different species, a lot of opportunity for people here at Utah Lake. we’ve got catfish, real popular fish, say June, July is a good time to target those. You’ve got the white bass which is the most prolific or abundant sportfish. and really the time to fish for those is about now, mid April is the beginning of it, but through the month of May and into June.”

(Mike) D`on’t even mention the bass, there is largemouth bass in here. Some crappie, sunfish, bluegill.

(Mike Slater) “Utah lake is very underutilized. I mean it’s right in our backyard. There’s a lot of opportunities out here. There is a lot of effort being put into Utah Lake. should I say to clean it up, make improvements whether it be through the removal of some of the carp or just to promote the opportunities that are here for all of the different species that are available.”

(Adam Tonya Tag) Well we didn’t catch a lot of fish. But somebody at least did. (tonya) yeah it wasn’t us, we were officially skunked, but there were people amongst us that caught fish. It’s worth coming out and seeing there are other species of fish in here. Channel catfish, whitebass. (adam) largemouth bass and a beautiful day like today, boy come out and experience Utah Lake it is so close. Coming up on KSL Outdoors.

(Adam) “Woo, look at that! (showing fish) (cal off cam) right there. (adam) look at that fat little fish. (cal) you want a big one. (adam) oh we’ve got another fish on.”

Most people don’t realize the quality of the bass fishery at Utah Lake. Up next, some avid bass anglers give us some tips to target the big bucketmouths at Utah Lake. And later on, we’ll show you a heartwarming story of a boat, and the men who built her to help get the disabled out fishing.

(Adam) “That story in just a moment, but first tonights quiz question.


(weighing fish) four, ten. (adam) four ten, beautiful fish.

(Carlos Magdaleno, Provo Angler) this is a big bass factory. There’s not many bass out here, the conditions are right it grows big fish. Lot of fun.

Carlos is one of many anglers who have discovered the big largemouth found in Utah Lake.

(Luke) there’s one. (cal) oh there’s another one. (adam) man he is sticking them now.

Good largemouth fishing usually starts about late April and lasts till about the middle of June. This is when the bass come shallow to spawn. That’s also when you’ll find fishing partners Luke Christensen and Cal Robertson out targeting big bucket mouths.

(Cal Robertson, Robertson’s Marine) Yeah a lot of people don’t know how to catch them but and they don’t think they are in here, but there’s a few.

(Luke hit) (cal) oh there he is.

(Cal) get in the electric. (adam) get it in the electric. (laughs) get him in the electric. (adam) nice. (lift fish into boat) (cal) good fish.

(Cal Robertson) you’ve got to use a big rod, medium heavy probably. Heavy line, 14-20 pound test, whether it’s braid or mono. Today we threw what they call a sweat beaver.

(Cal) the color I don’t think matters, it’s just throwing it into the fish. Wide gap hook with probably a 3/8th, 1/2 ounce weight and just pitch it into the cover and reel her back.

(nat of bird) (luke cast) (hit and fish!) (cal) oh there he is. (adam) nice. (fish splash)

Luke was giving Cal and I a beat down. I think he was into his forth fish before Cal and I finally got into the action.

(Adam) “That front of the boat is kicking butt right now. (cal) Yeah I know. (luke) it always does. (laughs)

(Adam) my first one of the day, been running the camera, but decided to throw into a bush. Good fish, maybe a three pound fish. come on buddy. (lift fish) oh yeah look at that pig. That’s why you come to Utah Lake. nice little fish.

(Cal) do you want a big one? (adam) oh we’ve got another fish on.

(Cal) (cal fighting fish) woo, (laughs) looks like a good one. (cal) we’ve got a good one. woo.

(cal) Oh yeah. (fish splash) (luke) want me to get that fish for you. (grabs fish) (adam) nice fish, nothing wrong with that.

(Adam) is that a pretty typical, good one, have you seen bigger than that? (cal) oh there’s a lot bigger than that. That’s a good one though. How much does it weigh? (cal) three and a half.

Both Cal and Luke have caught 8 pound largemouth here. But come prepared, these fish can fight hard and can be pretty addictive.

(Cal) I think you can get bigger fish here when they are on than anywhere around.

(Adam) boy he just hit it hard. (cal) slammed it. (adam) yeah slammed it really hard. (adam) I’m impressed on how well they take it. (cal) these Utah, mud lake fish they just hammer it. (adam) man he is…darting back for the bushes. Here we go, c’mon buddy.

(fish splash) (cal) oh yeah. (adam) nice buddy, look at that.

(Adam) That’s got to be 4 pounds isn’t it. (cal) yeah maybe. (adam) alright dogs. I’m calling it four pounds. (laughs) it’s heavier than the three and a half I just caught…maybe.

We caught upwards of twenty bass today. The best bait seemed to be a lure called a kinky beaver. Really any bulky bait in a dark color with a big profile will give you a chance to catch these big fish.

(Cal) there’s some good bank fishing. You don’t necessarily need a boat. I mean you can walk these harbors.

(Adam) what a pretty fish. You know it’s really important once you catch these fish to put them back. There’s not a lot of largemouth in here. There’s enough believe me but you want to them back so they’ll produce offspring and we’ll have a fishery like this for years to come. Woo what a fish, hey lets take a break now and head up to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights fishing report.


(Adam intro) Welcome back to Utah Lake, I’m Adam Eakle. Tonight, It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Hand in Hand Outdoors and the man behind a boat made with love, called Freedom’s Dream.

(Steve Henline, HandInHandOutdoors.com) “Well i’m a fisherman and a guide and have been all of my life and part of the things that part me joy was taking out wounded warriors and children with disabilities. Although I had a fleet of boats, I had none that would carry disabled children in wheelchairs.

As our soldiers began to return home from the wars, Steve saw many suffer from horrific wounds and lost limbs. News stories of the war left him sleepless as he struggled at the great price our men and women have paid with their blood on far off desert sands. Steve and his friends were bound and determined to find a boat that would meet their needs. When they couldn’t, they decided to built one.

(Steve) we couldn’t find a boat that could accommodate wheelchairs that they could just wheel right onto from the docks, so we found the pontoons from AZ, brought them back and started building this boat. We had no experience boat building but we had a great desire and determination. We had the support of lots of people. Children in wheelchairs would come by and help. I had a great chief engineer in Gary Robarge. It took us a long time, 13 months, but now she’s ready, she’s on the water and life is good.

(Steve) she’s surely rigged to fish, her name is Freedom’s Dream.

Once the boat was finished, Steve and his friends started Hand in Hand Outdoors. A non-profit organization with the goal of getting disabled vets and kids into the outdoors. The idea, get them trying new activities to enhance their lives through education, experience and direct participation in fishing and boating.

(Steve) So anyone that has a disability is welcome on this boat. any day at no charge. We provide all of those services at no charge. (adam) Why did you guys do it? (steve) We did it because it brings us as much joy as it does them. If you get a chance to make someone happy, just for half a day. You’ve in a small way made a contribution. As our savior says, we are our brothers keepers.

Steve stores the boat at Utah Lake State Park and plans on taking it up to support other events that benefit our soldiers and our kids.

(Adam tag) If you’d like to find out more about Steve’s organization or maybe you’d like to help him out with a donation to help pay for gas and gear to get people out on the lake. You can do that at HandInHandOutdoors.com. Time now to take a look at another species found in Utah Lake, in tonights edition of our Utah Field Guide.

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