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Fishing near Moab

Fishing near Moab

Enjoy fishing?  What’s your preference…trout or catfish? Bait or Fly? Lake or River? Moab has it all, with the Colorado River offering many sandy beaches from which anglers can try their luck at cat fishing. Great trout fishing can be found in the beautiful lakes and streams of the nearby La Sal Mountains.  Whispering pines, quaking aspens, bubbling brooks, all of nature’s music harmonizes into a beautiful symphony making a family outing in the forest an unforgettable experience.

The La Sal National Forest just a few miles Southeast of Moab offers many great opportunities for recreational angling with its many lakes and streams.  Eight lakes, ranging in size from 2 to 5 acres, are scattered amidst fir, spruce, tall quaking aspen and beautiful mountain meadows often colored with wild flowers.  While the lakes are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles during the summer months, periodically wet weather can at times make roads impassable.

Game Fish

Game fish within these lakes include Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat and Brook trout.  While the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stock these lakes annually, several have enough natural reproduction to provide an angler with both planted and native fish. 

Rainbow TroutRAINBOW TROUT
These spring spawners are scrappy fighters, with fishing being its best during May and June in the large reservoirs and from July to September in the high mountain lakes.  Bait includes worms, cheese and salmon eggs.  These trout are identified by the irregular black spots that densely cover the head, body and fins.  Their sides are silver in color with a pinkish band on the adult fish.

Brown TroutBROWN TROUT
Fall spawners that provide excellent stream fishing with artificial lures.  Flies are often used for evening fishing.  Fishermen consider them to be the smartest, most difficult to catch of the trout specie. Most brown trout are covered with black spots along their sides, back and dorsal fin with each spot surrounded by a light halo. Frequently, the spots near the lateral line are red. Unlike brook and rainbow trout, the tails of brown trout have few if any spots.

Brook TroutBROOK TROUT
These Fall spawners are found in small lakes with the best fishing being from June to September.  Baits include dark flies in the evening, worms and artificial lures.  Brooks are often brightly colored with lateral pink and yellow spots, dark wavy marks on green back, and lower fins with white and black front edge.

Cutthroat TroutCUTTHROAT TROUT
Spring spawners readily found in small lakes and can be caught using files and artificial lures.  Best fishing occurs during the cool weather of October.  Cutthroats are identified by the lack of spots on head and red slash under the lower jaw in adults.  The dorsal, pelvic and anal fins may be tipped with red.

 

Lakes in the La Sal Mountains

Medicine LakeMEDICINE LAKE

Elevation: 10,000 ft

Size: 2 acres

Miles from Moab: 48 miles (approx)

Vehicle: High Clearance - Possibly 4WD*

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 24’ 55.4” N
109° 14’ 52.9” W

How to get there: Drive 22 miles south of Moab on Hwy 191 to La Sal Junction. Turn left onto Utah Hwy 46 which goes thru La Sal. Drive east 12.9 miles, and turn left onto Canopy Gap road (a.k.a. Two Mile Road).  Go approximately 2 miles, turn left (at the signed junction) onto La Sal Pass road (F.S. Road 73).  After about 1 mile you'll come to a "Y" junction. Stay right. Continue approximately 6.5 miles where you will pass the turnoff for Beaver Lake.  Continue on F.S Road 73 approximately 1 mile thru a deep cut bank. Immediately turn left on a small road (F.S. Road 238). It is 4WD due to some hills and rocky stretches and ends in a meadow after about a mile.

Camping Info: Low-impact primitive camping is permitted, as well as small controlled camp fires, although stoves are preferred.


Warner LakeWARNER LAKE

Elevation: 9,200 ft

Size: 5 acres

Miles from Moab: 30 miles (approx)

Vehicle: 2WD*

GPS Coordinates: 
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 30’ 53.02” N
109° 16’ 46.57” W

How to get there:  From Moab take US 191 south 6.8 miles to La Sal Mtn. Loop Road sign (Old Airport Rd.).  Turn left onto Old Airport Rd. and go 0.6 miles to "T" intersection and another LaSal Mtn. Loop Road sign (Spanish Valley Dr.).  Turn right onto Spanish Valley Dr. and then 0.6 miles to a "Y" intersection.  Bear left and continue approximately 14 miles to campground sign.  Turn right at sign and proceed 8 miles on dirt road to the Lake and Campground. 

Camping:  There are 20 camp sites in an aspen grove with tables and grills. Vault toilets are available.  No hookups.  A group area accommodates up to 50 campers, and a small cabin sleeps up to 4. Open: Jun-Oct; fee charged.  Reservations: tele: 1-877-444-6777 or link: www.recreation.gov.


Oowah LakeOOWAH LAKE

Elevation: 8,800 ft.

Size: 4 acres

Distance from Moab: 25 miles (approx)

Vehicle: High Clearance - Possibly 4WD*

GPS Coordinates: 
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 32’ 00.93” N
109° 19’ 23.17” W

How to get there:  From Moab, go south on US 191 6.8 miles, then east on Old Airport Road 0.6 miles to Spanish Valley Drive.  Turn right onto Spanish Valley Drive and go 0.6 miles to a “Y” intersection.  Bear left and continue on the LaSal Mountain Loop Road approximately 12.5 miles to the Oowah Lake Sign.  Turn right and continue 3 miles to lake and campground.

Camping:   11 campsites (RV & tent only) on small but scenic Oowah Lake. Vault-toilets, tables, and grills. No hookups.  Open:  Jun-Oct; first-come, first serve; $5/night fee.  


Hidden LakeHIDDEN LAKE

Elevation: 8,400 ft

Size: 3 acres

Distance from Moab: 34 miles (approx)

Vehicle: 2WD*

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 34’ 33” N
109° 11’ 15” W

How to get there:  Take Scenic Byway 128 along the Colorado River to the Castle Valley junction approximately 16 miles.  Turn Right, pass through Castle Valley, and continue on toward Gateway, (past the Loop Road turn-off).  When the pavement ends , continue 2 miles to a Y,  turn right toward Gateway for 2.5 miles to a fork with signage indicating Don’s Lake 1 ½ miles ahead.  Turn right and follow this road approximately ¼ mile then turn right on the dirt road by the vault toilet.

Camping:  While there are no amenities such as picnic tables and grills, there are many areas that can be used for RV as well as tent camping.


Don's LakeDON’S LAKE

Elevation: 8,800

Size: 3 acres

Miles from Moab: 35 ½ miles (approx)

Vehicle: 2WD*

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 33’ 44” N
109° 11’ 15” W

How to get there: Take Scenic Byway 128 along the Colorado River to the Castle Valley junction approximately 16 miles.  Turn Right, pass through Castle Valley, and continue on toward Gateway, (past the Loop Road turn-off).  When the pavement ends , continue 2 miles to a Y,  turn right toward Gateway for 2.5 miles to a fork with signage indicating Don’s Lake 1 ½ miles ahead.  Turn right, drive the 1 ½ miles and take a left turn into Don’s Lake (immediately past the vault toilet).

Camping: No amenities, but several camping areas can be found for both RV and tent camping along side the road between Hidden and Don’s lakes.


Blue LakeBLUE LAKE

Elevation:  10,100

Size:  4 acres

Miles from Moab:  30 approximate

Vehicle: 4WD*

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 28’ 20.9” N
109° 12’ 21.0” W

How to get there:  From Moab, go south on US 191 6.8 miles, then east on Old Airport Road 0.6 miles to Spanish Valley Drive.  Turn right onto Spanish Valley Drive and go 0.6 miles to a “Y” intersection.  Bear left and continue on the LaSal Mountain Loop Road approximately 12 miles to the Geyser Pass Road turnoff.  After 4.5 miles on County Road 126 (aka Geyser Pass Road) you will come to a parking lot.  Continue one mile to a fork where CR #126 bears left and continue another 2.5 miles on to another fork.  Stay right on CR 126 approximately 1 mile, then turn left on the Blue Lake road (Forest Service Road #721) for approximately 1.5 miles.  Note:  The road to Blue Lake requires 4WD and is very bumpy and travel is slow.

Camping Info:  Low-impact primitive camping is permitted, as well as small controlled camp fires, although stoves are preferred.


Dark Canyon LakeDARK CANYON LAKE

Elevation: 10,000 ft

Size: 5 acres

Miles from Moab: 35 approximate

Vehicle: High Clearance 2WD*

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 27’ 23.02” N
109° 11’ 47.8” W

How to get there: From Moab, go south on US 191 6.8 miles, then east on Old Airport Road 0.6 miles to Spanish Valley Drive.  Turn right onto Spanish Valley Drive and go 0.6 miles to a “Y” intersection.  Bear left and continue on the LaSal Mountain Loop Road approximately 12 miles to the Geyser Pass Road turnoff.  After 4.5 miles on County Road 126 (aka Geyser Pass Road)  you will come to a parking lot.  Continue one mile to a fork where CR #126 bears left and continue another 2.5 miles on to another fork.  Stay right on CR 126 approximately 7 miles to the Dark Canyon Lake turnoff on the left, then 0.5 miles to the lake.


* Remember that while the lakes are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles during the summer months, periodically wet weather can at times make roads impassable.

Ken's Lake

Ken's LakeElevation: 5,050

Size: 82 acres

Miles from Moab: 10 miles

Vehicle: Passenger Car

GPS Coordinates:
Lat/Long (WGS84)
38° 28’ 54.16” N
109° 25’ 47.70” W

How to get there: From Moab, go south on US 191 6.8 miles, then east on Old Airport Road 0.6 miles to Spanish Valley Drive.  Turn right onto Spanish Valley Drive and continue approximately three miles to the Ken’s Lake turnoff.

Hiking and horseback trails originate at the campground. Boating on the reservoir is limited to non-motorized craft

Camping:  Number of sites: 31.  Fee: $12.00 per site.  Picnic tables, vault toilets, grills, graveled roads, and trash receptacles.  There is no drinking water at the campground. Campsites are available on a first-come, first served basis.  Camping at all sites is limited to 14 days within a 30 day period.

Colorado River

Colorado RiverIf catfish is your preference, the Colorado River offers miles of accessible shore line and many sandy beaches from which anglers can try their luck.  Chicken livers, grasshoppers, worms and stink bait are popular baits for cat fishing.  Crawdads, shrimp and clams can also be used.

Channel Catfish were first introduced into the Colorado River near Moab, Utah in 1919 by active sportsman and public figure, Horace Stone Rutledge.  They have deeply forked tails with a rounded anal fin with 24-29 rays and scattered black spots along their back and sides. They have a small, narrow head. The back is blue-gray with light blue to silvery-gray sides and a white belly. Larger channels lose the black spots and also take on a blue-black coloration on the back, shading to white on the belly.

Catfish

The best time to catch catfish is late in the evening and early morning right before the sun comes up. Catfish also like to hang out in holes where the water is a little deeper. Again, anywhere the current is a little slower and a place where food might gather is great place to find catfish.

Recipes

Pan Fried Whole Trout

4 whole (12 ounce) trout, cleaned with tails and heads on
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Remove gills from fish and discard. Rinse fish under cold water.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.   In shallow dish, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high. Dredge fish in flour mixture and fry in hot oil for about 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until meat flakes with a fork.

Trout Amandine

4 whole (12 ounce) pan-dressed trout
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

Sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity of each trout. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and cream. Dip trout in egg mixture, then roll in flour. In a small skillet over low heat, sauté the almonds in 2 tablespoons butter until lightly browned. Add lemon juice and tarragon; heat through. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, combine oil and remaining butter. Fry the trout for 8-10 minutes; carefully turn and fry 8 minutes longer or until it flakes easily with a fork. Top with almond mixture.

Foil Baked Trout

1 whole trout
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder or ½ clove chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 strips bacon
Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven or grill to about 350°. You can also cook the fish over a bed of hot coals from a campfire. Lay 1strip bacon onto an 18” piece of foil.  Place fish on top of bacon. Pour oil over fish.  Sprinkle garlic and onion over trout.  Place another piece of bacon on trout.  Add a little salt and pepper.  Fold the foil lengthwise around trout, roll the sides together. Roll ends of foil to create an airtight package. Cook the trout for about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn once halfway through if cooking on bed of coals

Fried Catfish

¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon
garlic powder
4 catfish fillets or whole catfish
vegetable oil 

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Coat catfish with mixture, shaking off excess. Fill deep pot or 12 in. skillet half full with vegetable oil. Heat to 350°. Add catfish in single layer, and fry until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, depending on size. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Pancake Fried Catfish

1/3 pound Catfish fillets per person
2 cups dry Pancake Mix
Salt
Oil for frying
Lemon and Pepper seasoning
Cocktail Sauce

Wash and dry fish.  Dip fish into water.   Sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper.  Coat lightly with pancake mix.  Fry in deep fat for four or five minutes or until fish flakes easily.

Catfish & Kraut Sandwiches

1 cup cooked, flaked Catfish
½ cup well drained Sauerkraut
¼ cup chopped Dill Pickles
¼ cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Horseradish
12 slices Party Rye Bread
4-1 ounce slices Swiss Cheese
2 Tablespoons Margarine


In mixing bowl, combine fish, sauerkraut, pickles, mayonnaise, and horseradish. Mix well. Portion mixture evenly on half the bread. Top with cheese. Top with remaining bread. Melt margarine in skillet. Place sandwiches in skillet and grill on each side until golden brown.

Utah Fishing Proclamation

2008 Utah Fishing Proclamation

Licenses

Fishing licenses are available in Moab at the following locations:

Canyonlands Outdoor Sport
446 S Main Ste A
(435) 259-5699

Walker Drug Company
290 S Main
(435) 259-5959

Additional information on hunting and fishing licenses is available from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Website
www.wildlife.utah.gov

Street Address
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
1594 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Mailing Address
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
P.O. Box 146301
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301

Telephone
801-538-4700
Fax
801-538-4745
Recorded information
877-592-5169

Manti-La Sal National Forest

For current conditions in the La Sal Mountains, contact the Manti-La Sal National Forest District:

Website

Moab Ranger District
62 East 100 North
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-7155

Monticello Ranger District
P.O. Box 820
Monticello, UT 84535
(435) 587-2041

 

 

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