Utah Lake Recreation Guide
Utah Lake was once a renowned trout fishery with crystal clear waters. And although it’s had a bit of a rough history, there are now lots of great activities you can do at the lake. Here’s a brief recap of the lake’s history, plus a guide to enjoying its many offerings.
Several resorts used to dot the shoreline of Utah Lake, including the Geneva Resort in Provo. It was built in 1888 and boasted a hotel, dance pavilion, saloon, boat harbor, rental cabins and two swimming pools. One of the most popular attractions was a toboggan slide that sent riders plummeting down a wooden track and skidding across the water. The Geneva Resort remained a local favorite until it finally closed its doors in 1935.
Another popular lakeside destination was Beck’s Saratoga Springs Resort, which opened near the mouth of the Jordan River in 1884. It offered swimming, boating, dancing and amusement park attractions.
Most importantly for outdoor enthusiasts, Utah Lake was home to massive cutthroat trout. They regularly tipped the scales at more than 20 pounds.
Unfortunately, the lake was abused by early settlers. Industrial chemicals and waste were routed directly into the water. And years of unrestricted commercial fishing didn’t do the native cutthroat population any favors.
With the lake’s biomass plummeting in the late 1800s, the powers that be decided there needed to be something in it. Enter the carp. While it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, the vacuum-mouthed detritus feeders only hastened the lake’s demise by eating vegetation and churning up sediment on the bottom.
Utah Lake is a shallow lake prone to strong winds, so an unstable bottom is a big deal. The lake’s plant life served as crucial anchors in the sediment of the already volatile lake and as the carp plowed through it, the water got dirtier and less sunlight reached the remaining vegetation.
In addition to hurting water quality, less vegetation also meant less cover for young fish from the lake’s other species. The native June sucker has suffered mightily. On the federal endangered species list since the late ‘80s, it is estimated that there are now less than a thousand living in the lake, which is the only place on earth they call home.
So there’s the history of Utah Lake. What about the future? What does a trip to the lake hold in store for you? Plenty.
Although the native cutthroats may not call the lake home anymore, there are several species of game fish. Giant channel cats can be caught from shore, as well as trophy walleye. Additional species include white bass and crappie.
Popular fishing spots are the Provo boat harbor, Lindon boat harbor, American Fork boat harbor, Lincoln Beach and Sandy Beach. Of course, with a lake this big, nearly every angler has a couple secret spots that consistently produce fish.
You can get an updated fishing report for the lake by clicking here and view maps of the area by clicking here. You can even get recent water level reports from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District by clicking here.
For additional Utah Lake activities, check out the links below:
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