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Strawberry Reservoir
Information provided by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Strawberry Reservoir contains four major fishing areas including the Strawberry Basin, Meadows Basin (sometimes referred to Indian Creek Bay), the Narrows, and Soldier Creek Basin. The Strawberry Basin encompasses the old 8,400-acre Strawberry Reservoir which was contained by the original Strawberry Dam and Indian Creek Dike. This is the largest of the four areas and comprises about 64 percent of the entire reservoir volume at high water. Most of the fishing pressure occurs in this area. The Meadows inundates a broad gently sloping valley of the lower Indian Creek Drainage, and is a good place to go fishing. It is located on the south end of the reservoir immediately south of the old Indian Creek Dike. Soldier Creek Basin overlies the old Soldier Creek Reservoir and contains Stinking Springs and Soldier Creek Bay. Soldier Creek is the deepest area of the reservoir, and is often a good place to find schools of kokanee in mid-summer. The Narrows area lies between Strawberry and Soldier Creek and occupies the narrow drainage channels of the Strawberry River and Indian Creek.

Strawberry Valley provides a variety of fishing opportunities from catch and release fishing on reservoir tributaries to trophy cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing on the reservoir. The reservoir is open to fishing yearlong, and there are a variety of seasonal fishing opportunities as well. Most of the fishing pressure and catch occurs from boats. Shoreline fishing is best during the cooler seasons of spring and fall. January an February provide the best ice fishing success. Strawberry has also become a popular float tube destination.



Strawberry fishing calendar

Strawberry provides excellent ice fishing during the period from ice formation through the first part of March. March ice fishing success typically declines, but anglers who move over the deeper water areas offshore continue to take cutthroat trout. Anglers report good success fishing with chartreuse grub-type jigs or foxy jigs tipped with meal worms, night crawlers or power bait. Fish are also commonly taken with dead minnows. It is important to fish within 1–2 feet of the bottom during the winter period.

April is usually characterized by transition ice conditions, and fishermen have difficulty in reaching the fish. During years when the ice comes off early, float tube fishing can be good, but often the fish do not put up a lively fight due to the extremely cold water conditions.

Ice-off usually occurs between May 10 and 15 on normal years. Post-ice-off is the best time of the year to fish, as large cutthroat and rainbows move into the warming shallow waters and cruise the shoreline to feed on leeches, scuds, and snails. Anglers have good success fly fishing with the typical dark colored leech patterns, and casting black marabou or grub-type jigs toward the shore. This period lasts only about two weeks until the spring overturn when the reservoir water mixes from top to bottom, and the fish scatter widely. In addition, the larger cutthroat spawners begin searching out spawning tributaries, and are not interested in feeding.

June fishing can be good, but can also be frustrating because the cutthroats move offshore and scatter throughout the water column, or ascend the tributaries to spawn. Zooplankton and midges are very abundant, and the fish are well fed. During the last several years of high water conditions, worms have become an important part of the trout diet during this time as well. The cutthroat spawn continues through the last week in June or first week of July. Fly fishermen typically report good success fishing with scud or damselfly patterns during this time of the year.

Warming surface waters during July and August force the cutthroats to the deeper open water of the reservoir or to areas influenced by springs or stream flow. Anglers should use leaded lines or down riggers to get down to the cutthroat at this time. Depending on weather patterns, surface waters during the first two weeks of July can reach temperatures as high as 71°F, which are the warmest of the year. Rainbow tend to remain in weedbed areas, even during the warm summer months. Rainbow fishermen should anchor in the shallows and cast power bait, or work along the edges of the vegetation with marabou jigs or grubs. Fly fishermen report good catches of rainbow by casting scud, leech or damselfly imitations on sinking lines in the vicinity of weedbeds. July and August can be the best times to fish for kokanee salmon. The trick to catching kokanee is finding the schools, and getting the terminal gear down to them with leaded lines or down riggers. Kokanee are typically located at depths of 20–40 feet, and strike a variety of flashy lures such as needlefish or teasers. Trolling with pop gear or dodgers attached to the line or down rigger also adds to the attraction. Many kokanee anglers also use a snubber to prevent the hook from tearing through the soft tissue of the mouth. Anglers wishing to release their fish during the summer months should avoid the use of bait or combination bait rigs. Fish are stressed by warm water conditions, and release mortalities are higher than at any other time of the year.

September and October are excellent months to fish for cutthroat. Cutthroat tend to be cold water feeders, and a variety of fishing techniques are effective during the fall. Cutthroat are taken in both deep and shallow waters. Fishing with rapalas, flatfish, Strawberry wobblers or other fish imitations are particularly effective during this time of year.

Fishing during November can be unpredictable, and is greatly influenced by the weather. During most years, the boat ramps remain open through mid-month, and fishing success can be good. November seems to be an especially popular month for float tubers, who report good success fishing with purple and black leech patterns until ice-up.

At the high reservoir levels we have seen of late, ice forms by about December 15, but good ice is not common until the end of the month. Safe ice does not typically form on the Soldier Creek side until about mid-January. Be sure to wait until there is a good six inches before venturing out onto the surface of the reservoir.

Directions: Strawberry Reservoir is located 23 miles southeast of Heber City, Utah on US Highway 40. Major improved access routes to the reservoir include the West Side Road [FS Road 131], Soldier Creek Marina road, and the Soldier Creek dam road. There are four paved boat ramps at the reservoir including Strawberry Bay Marina, Renegade, Soldier Creek Marina, and Aspen.

For campground reservations call the National Recreation Reservation Service toll free at (877) 444-6777. To reserve the group pavilions call MCM at (435) 548-2554. For other general user information call the USFS Heber Ranger District at (435) 654-0470 or the USFS Strawberry Visitor Center at (435) 548-2321.

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