ST. GEORGE, Utah Northwest of St. George, Utah, is a not-so-well-known reservoir loaded with big bass and big crappie. In fact, Gunlock Reservoir, just 15 miles out of town on Highway 8, could very well produce the next state record largemouth bass, according to Joe Johnson president of Southern Utah Bass Anglers.
"There's a lot of 2 to 3-pounders in there, but there are also some really big ones in there. You can find bass anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds," said Johnson.
March and April will be prime time to chase big bucket mouths here.
Southern Utah's warmer climate is moving bass into the shallows for pre-spawn right about now, and they will be spawning very shortly after.
Where to fish
Gunlock's water level is near full, which means there is a plethora of cover for bass to take refuge in.
"Since the water has come up, there's a lot of great cover. There's a lot of trees, bushes and vegetation in the water now," said Johnson.
Johnson said to look for the flats on the west side of the reservoir across from the boat ramp and on the north end where the Santa Clara River enters. Bass will move onto these flats to stage before they spawn and they become easy targets for bass anglers.
High water levels and flooded vegetation will also produce more food for bass to feed on, making them fat and feisty.
The reservoir is a typical bass fishery the bass prefer white and chartreuse spinnerbaits and rubber-skirted jigs this time of year.
Gunlock also has a healthy population of crappie and is one of the premier destinations in the state to target the silvery slabs.
With all the submerged vegetation, it will be a crap shoot to find the bush where the crappie are lurking, but once you find it the fishing could be incredible.
Small jigs and spinners will land you a crappie that could reach the 3-pound class. Crappie love a one-sixteenths-ounce white/red tube jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler floated slowly past them under a bobber.
The key is to tie a good solid polymer knot so you can present the jig horizontally in the water. If the fish are aggressive, try a Road Runner or Beetle Spin to trigger bigger fish to bite.
For more on Gunlock Reservoir, call Hurst Sports (435)-673-6141) in St. George.
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