Thursday, August 8, 2019

6 Best Places to Stand Up Paddleboard in Northern Utah

two women paddleboarding on the lake

The beautiful National Parks of northern Utah have become a popular tourist site over the past few years for those who enjoy stand up paddleboarding. Stand up paddleboarding, sometimes shortened to SUP, is derived from surfing. However, unlike surfing, the paddleboarder does not need to wait for a wave. Instead, they use a paddle to move. This makes paddleboarding perfect for places that do not naturally have large waves, and for people who want a more relaxed experience.

cars parked behind the beach and dock

Tibble Fork Reservoir

For those interested in a relaxing and affordable experience, Tibble Fork Reservoir is a great option. At only $6 for a day pass, the price is quite affordable. The reservoir is known for its scenic views and calm waters and winds. This is a great option for those who are just starting out or simply want to take in a view without stressing about rough waves. For those who are camping, the Granite Flat Campground is nearby.

Tibble Fork recently got a few upgrades to make it even nicer for standup paddleboarders. In 2016 the park added a dock to make it easier to access and created a beach. The only downside is that Tibble Fork is no secret - it might be worth it to get there early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Still, for those looking to get started paddleboarding, Tibble Fork is a great option.

looking out over the water and rolling hills

Jordanelle Reservoir

Jordanelle Reservoir is one of the most famous and popular in Utah. It is not only popular with paddleboarders, but also kayakers, swimmers, and others. Located only around 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, it also makes for a convenient getaway for those visiting the city. However, this also means that it is more crowded than some of the other options on this list.

There are several different areas that paddleboarders can enter the reservoir. One option is the Hailstone day-use area, which costs $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends. Once in the reservoir, there are a few different places to go, including a no-wake zone for beginners. Jordanelle is a great option for those who are looking to get a little more experience and then venture out of the no-wake zone for more of a challenge.

paddleboarders and boaters on the blue water

Pineview Reservoir

Pineview is a great option for those who want to both paddleboard and fish (even at the same time!). The beaches also make for a great option if there are family members or friends who are not interested in paddleboarding. There are also areas reserved for swimming.

The scenery at Pineview is absolutely lovely, and since it boasts the warmest waters in Northern Utah it is easy to take some time to relax while paddleboarding or swimming to enjoy the view. There are also places where paddleboarders can get in for free.

Around an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, Pineview can get pretty crowded, so it is wise to get there early.

gray mountains standing above the water on an overcast day

Willard Bay State Park

Another warm water option is the Willard Bay State Park, located about 90 minutes from Salt Lake City off I-15. Willard Bay boasts some of the most extensive amenities of any park on this list, with dry storage, concessions, fish cleaning stations, restrooms with showers, and covered pavilions. The area is popular with birdwatchers as well as paddleboarders and fishers. The historic city of Ogden is also only about 12 miles away.

The mountains that surround Willard Bay make the location a uniquely enjoyable one to simply look at while paddleboarding. For those interested in fishing, the park is home to catfish, crappies, and smallmouth bass. However, before allowing a boat to be launched the park requires certification that it is free from any mussels.

Highland Glen Park

Highland Glen Park's Highland Pond is an ideal spot for beginning paddleboarders to get their feet wet. There is nowhere in the pond that is too far to swim to shore from (although there are no lifeguards). Inexperienced paddleboarders who go to Highland Glen will not be alone, as it is one of the most popular options for those new to the hobby.

The sandy beaches are great to take a break on or to just take in the view. The beaches also feature lots of options aside from paddleboarding, including a beach volleyball court, pavilions, and a playground for the kids. There are plenty of bike paths near the pond for those who want to branch out and enjoy multiple activities in the same area. The pond is populated with rainbow trout and channel catfish.

Highland Glen is also closer to Salt Lake City than many options on this list - it will only take a little over half an hour to get there from downtown.

Lower Provo River

This option stands out a bit from the others. Paddleboarding down a river is a different experience from a lake or pond. It is recommended to bring an inflatable paddleboard for this trip, since fiberglass boards may be damaged. This trip is recommended only for more experienced paddleboarders, and even then it is important to use a life-vest and paddleboarding leash.

The river sports small rapids, and at one point there is a bridge that some paddleboarders choose to portage around. For paddleboarders who are less experienced or just a bit nervous, there are guided tours available through local agencies. However, for more experienced paddleboarders, the river sports great scenery and an interesting challenge. When the river is calm, it can be a breathtaking and relaxing time to just float down the river and appreciate the scenery. Be aware that insuring paddleboards may not be possible for those who want to go out on the river.

Paddleboarding is a growing hobby that nobody should be afraid to give a try! For those who are considering getting started, the above options are a great place to start. Anyone who lives in Utah or is planning to take a vacation there should take a day to take advantage of all of the fun that can be had with standup paddleboarding.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Strawberry Reservoir: The Best Stillwater Fishing in Utah

Strawberry Reservoir: The Best Stillwater Fishing in Utah blog cover image

Ready to escape the hectic city life and enjoy a weekend away that’s filled with relaxation, family time and catching all sorts of unique fish? Then Strawberry Reservoir could be the perfect spot for you and your family to take a trip to this summer. Every year, tons of families and fishermen pack up and head out to “The Berry” to explore everything the best Stillwater fishing in Utah has to offer.

a small fishing boat moving slowly through the calm water

Where It’s Located

About an hour and a half outside of Salt Lake City, you’ll find Strawberry Reservoir waiting for you. As you drive, there are gorgeous views along the way. Take in wonderful sights like Heber Valley and Mount Timpanogos as you head to Strawberry Reservoir ready to start your exciting weekend.

You can even stop and fish along the way as Jordanelle Reservoir and Middle Provo River are both on the way to Strawberry. These are some great spots for mini fishing breaks before you make it to your final stop at Strawberry Reservoir.

a fishing net and a trout being held

What Kinds of Fish You’ll Find

Many streams located in the Uinta Basin will run into Strawberry. The spots at Strawberry Reservoir and even some of the stops along the way are very low-traffic but contain plenty of varieties of fish. You can find all different kinds of fish and insects such as damselflies, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, crawfish, Stillwater mayflies, cutthroat trout, and large scuds.

a fishing canoe on the water at sunset

Getting Accustomed to the Strawberry Reservoir Lingo

While walking around the reservoir or if you’re purchasing different fishing supplies or bait in the shops, don’t be afraid to mingle with the local fishermen. You can learn about some pretty fascinating phrases they say that can be helpful to you on your trip. This is why it’s best for you to understand their turn of phrases. It can help increase your chances of catching more fish.

One phrase you're sure to hear are the words, “ice off.” This means that the ice sheet located on the Reservoir is melting away. This results in the fish going on a search to find a good meal and water that is a lot warmer. You’ll soon see very large portions of rainbow and cutthroat trout headed your way along the banks of the Reservoir. Get ready to catch as many of these fish as possible.

looking at the shoreline from the water

How to Fish For Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout

Since they’re desperately searching for warmth and a meal, these fish are ready to eat almost anything that comes their way. You’ll see as you engage in the first couple weeks of the “ice off” that these fish will eat almost anything thrown at them.

If you decide to come out to The Berry at this time of year, this is when you’ll have the best opportunity to catch some of the largest fish available to you. You can also use this time to experiment with all sorts of different flies and streamers since these fish aren’t too picky with what they eat this time of year.

There are a few flies that some fishermen have found the best success in when catching these fish such as streamers and wooly buggers that are found in different colors like white, olive, and black. Normally when these flies are used while fishing, they’re placed on a sinking line.

Many have found impressive results with the types of fish they catch and will see fish at around two to five pounds. This isn’t the only way you can successfully catch these fish. Some fishermen have found great success in using different types of topwater flies like poppers or mouse patterns and saw more fish that way as well.

a fisherman wading in the water, casting his line

Other Seasons to Fish

Once winter and spring start to fade, summer and fall will come along with other new ways to fish Strawberry. This is when you’ll find mayflies buzzing around and even better - fish ready to gulp those flies down. They like to do this early in the morning when the sun has first started to rise.

You can find them on the surface of the lake that is a little calmer in the morning before it starts to get hit by windy weather. This is where they will be feasting on mayflies and other insects, so this is a great spot to begin your day of fishing.

As the weather starts to heat up, the fish will want to cool down. This is when they will try to find water that’s colder so they move down into the deeper depths of the water. This is why your best fish-catching tool for this season will be a sinking line. The following are the best types of flies or streamers that will best be used with this line:

  • Damselfly
  • Scud Patterns
  • Wooly Bugger

Another pro fisherman tip would be to take the damselfly and scud pattern flies with you to the weed beds as you fish along their edges and try your best to catch whatever bites over there.

When fall hits, the fish are preparing for the cold to strike again. They will swim back over to water that is located a little more in the shallows to stay there for a few months, waiting for winter to arrive.

Other Things to Do At Strawberry Reservoir

Although Strawberry Reservoir is known as one of the best fishing spots in Utah, there’s much more that you can do there to truly make it a fun spot for the whole family. Bring your powerboat or pontoon along with you and have an exciting ride on the gorgeous water. Or grab some tubes and float along the Reservoir as well. Once you’ve finished your day fishing, boating, or tubing, grab your tent and pitch it with the family for a fun night of camping out and stargazing.

As you explore your campsite, you’ll see numerous crawfish crawling around on the ground or hiding on rocks in the water. Grab the kids and teach them how to hunt crawfish. It’s a fun adventure for everyone in the family to experience. As a bonus, crayfish are also delicious when boiled.

Whether you’re fishing in the spring, summer, or fall, Strawberry Reservoir is the place to visit. Enjoy your getaway by packing up and going on vacation with your family to boat or camp. Or use it as a relaxing vacation away from everyone else as you spend your days quietly fishing on the water. No matter what, you’re guaranteed to find enjoyment and relaxation at this Stillwater lake.