Fish species information

 

Information & Facts

Tiger trout

Species Name
Tiger trout
(Salmo trutta x Salvelinus fontinalis

Size Range
Average 10-16 inches. Tiger trout can grow up to 20 inches and five pounds in quality populations.

Description
The tiger trout is an artificially produced sterile hybrid that is produced from crossing a male brown trout with a female brook trout.  Hybridization can occur naturally, however it is very rare. Tiger trout have pronounced dark vermiculations (tiger stripes, like brook trout) all over a brownish, gray body.

How to fish for Tiger trout
Tiger trout can be caught year-round, although the spring (after ice-out) and fall are the best times to target them.  During those seasons, the tiger trout will normally be found in the upper water column in search of food.  As the water warms up during the summer, the trout will move to deeper, cooler water.  As the surface temperatures cool down in the evening the fish will move up near the surface and into the shallows.

Tiger trout can be successfully caught on flies, spoons, spinners, and bait.  Since tiger trout are aggressive and piscivorous (they eat other fish), a minnow imitation such as a streamer or Rapala are a good choice.  These fish can be successfully caught from shore as well as from a boat or float tube.  For shore anglers, the best time to fish is either early in the early morning or in the evening.  The fish will be paralleling the shoreline for prey as the water is cooler and the low light conditions prevent them from being detected.  They are also less wary at this time of day.  When fishing from a floating device (e.g. a boat or float tube) trolling is an effective method.  One can use pop gear with bait or lures.  Some popular lures are: Kastmasters, Triple Teasers, and Jake's Spin-a-lure. Fly fishers do well with leech, muddler, woolly bugger, and nymph patterns.  If fish are taking flies at the surface use a floating line and a dry fly or emerging pattern.  Otherwise, a sinking tip or full sinking fly line would be best with streamers and nymph patterns.

 

Information & Facts

Rainbow trout

Species Name
Rainbow trout
(Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Common Names
Bow, Redband, Silver Trout, Redsides

Size Range
Average 10-18 inches. 

 

Description
Rainbow trout are the most common and hence most popular species of trout.  There are many wild populations statewide but the main reason for their popularity is that the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources stocks large numbers of rainbow trout annually across the state for the specific purpose of providing recreational angling opportunity.  Rainbow trout are an excellent game fish reputed for their willingness to bite bait and lures, scrappy nature when on the end of a fishing line and the fact that they are excellent table fare. Rainbow trout can be identified by their bluish-green back, silver sides and belly, and black spots on the body and on the caudal, dorsal, and adipose fins.  Another characteristic of rainbow trout and a characteristic that it gets its name from is the presence of a reddish stripe along its sides that is often, but not always present.

How to fish for Rainbow trout
Rainbow trout prefer to eat small aquatic and terrestrial insects, but larger adults will also prey on other fishes.  Part of their popularity as a game fish is because they are so willing to take a variety of baits, both natural and artificial, including but not limited to: night crawlers, and powerbait;  artificial lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs, flies, wedding rings and plugs are also very effective.  When fishing during the spring and fall, the water is cooler and the rainbow trout will often be found near the surface and also more active.  When the water warms during the summer months, the rainbow trout become a little more sluggish and seek deeper, cooler water, so fishing will need to occur at or near the bottom.  To catch the bottom dwellers you will want to fish with bait slightly suspended off the bottom.

Remember, when handling any fish you intend to release, wet your hands first so you don’t take off the fish’s protective slippery coating.  Dry hands will remove the protective coating and make the fish vulnerable to bacterial or fungal infections, which can kill them.

 

Information & Facts

Smallmouth bass

Species Name
Smallmouth bass
(Micropterus dolomieu)

Common Names
Smallie, black bass, bronzeback, brown bass, redeye

Size Range
Average 12-16 inches. Smallmouth bass can grow 16-24 inches in quality populations.

Description
Smallmouth bass are one of two species of “black bass” in Washington with the other being the more popular and widely distributed largemouth bass.  Although smallmouth bass are not as popular or widely distributed as their genus mate, their popularity is increasing steadily. The common name “smallmouth bass” is appropriate given that their mouths are considerably smaller than those of the largemouth bass (the maxillary bone usually does not extend past the center of the eye).  The spiny and soft-rayed parts of the dorsal fin are continuous. Although coloration varies significantly with water clarity and habitat, smallmouth bass are mottled with dark vertical bars; largemouth bass have a singular longitudinal stripe running the length of the body. 

How to fish for Smallmouth bass
Although smallmouth bass make excellent table fare, most anglers pursue smallmouth bass for sport.  Experienced bass anglers agree that pound-for-pound; smallmouth bass are stronger and more acrobatic fighters than most freshwater sport fish.  Several powerful surges towards the bottom or jumps at the surface are common, and many anglers are fooled into thinking a much larger fish is on the line.  Rule of thumb: the warmer the water, the better the fight.    

Though smallmouth bass can be caught throughout the year, fishing success increases dramatically in the spring as waters temperatures rise and food becomes increasingly available.  During this transition period, reaction baits such as crankbaits and suspending jerkbaits can be very effective for coaxing lethargic bass to bite.  As waters approach 55-60 °F in May, smallmouth bass become increasingly active as they prepare to spawn.  In lakes, smallmouth bass also seek shallow, flat, gravel bottom for spawning, but relate more to structure (large rocky substrate, docks) than current breaks to ambush prey. In both instances, hard baits (crank baits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits) and soft baits (grubs on a football head jig, finesse worms rigged drop shot) can be effective depending on the location and how the fish are relating to available cover.

Spawning occurs as temperatures reach 60 °F in late May and June.  Male smallmouth bass build nests (beds) to attract females and together they spawn over gravel substrate in 5-20 feet of water, depending on water clarity.  Spawning adults will aggressively defend their nests from any intruders, including soft plastic baits, but you will need some patience and experience on the water to locate nesting sites. 

As summer progresses and lakes become thermally stratified, smallmouth bass will spend much of the day resting on the bottom.  Dragging soft plastics and drop-shotting finesse worms on the bottom are the primary methods of choice.  During low light periods between dawn and dusk, smallmouth will venture into the shallows to hunt for food.  In early morning and late evening, a variety of shallow diving or surface baits will work; favorites include spinnerbaits, soft jerkbaits, and poppers.  Time periods when topwater is effective can be very short, especially when targeting larger fish, but the surface explosion of a lunker smallmouth is worth the effort. 

Fall is another transitional period as temperatures fall, food becomes increasingly scarce, and predatory fish like smallmouth look to pack on fat reserves for the winter.  Many of the tactics used during the summer carry over to the fall, including bottom fishing soft plastics during the day and fishing reaction baits near the surface during low light periods.  As winter approaches, smallmouth will seek out deeper water  and become increasingly inactive and difficult to catch. 

 

Information & Facts

Green Sunfish

Species Name
Green sunfish
(Lepomis cyanellus)

Common Names
Panfish

Size Range
The typical length ranges from about 3-7 inches and usually weighs less than a pound

Description
They are stockily built, and from a side view have a body shape somewhat like the bluegill. Their mouths are quite large and strong in comparison to the bluegill.  The green sunfish has no teeth near the tip of the tongue, it has more than 45 scales in the lateral line, and has a dark spot at the base of the last three soft dorsal rays.

How to fish for Green sunfish
This species is aggressive, sometimes striking lures almost as large as they are. Most common baits, plus a wide variety of artificial lures, will take them. Because of their robust build, they are strong fighters on light tackle.

 

Information & Facts

Black Bullhead

Species Name
Black bullhead
(Ameiurus melas)

Common Names
Mud catfish

Size Range
It has an average length of 7-14 inches

 

Description
Black bullhead is native to areas east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. It has become established, however, in many of Utah's warm waters, where it is now a popular sport fish. The black bullhead is especially common in Utah Lake. The black bullhead is an opportunistic bottom-feeder, eating fishes, many types of invertebrates, plant matter, and detritus. The species spawns from late spring to early summer; nests and young are guarded by parents.  It is typically black or dark brown on the dorsal side of its body and yellow or white on the ventral side.[

How to fish for Black Bullhead
Black bullheads can be caught using similar techniques as for channel or blue catfish, although their small size may require smaller bait and hooks. Like most catfish, they are most active during the night, and tend to be less active during the day, bedding under piers or in shady shore areas.