On a recent trip to southern Utah for sightseeing of the beautiful national parks that are available, we hit a state park, too.
Sand Hollow Reservoir, about 20 miles north of downtown St. George and off the Hurricane exit on I-15, offers some good to excellent bass fishing. Fish in the eight- to 15-inch range are plentiful, and are cooperative with a variety of lures and techniques. But bigger bass can be found on occasion.
Jon’s lure, a Senko worm, had settled to the bottom. But just before he began his retrieve, his line started scooting away. He gave a sharp lift, and was quickly tied onto a nice largemouth. The fish became airborne,
and gave a nice fight on its way to the float tube. Subsequent casts offered the same result, with a few jumping on the bait as it was still falling to the bottom. This was the start of a banner day, as one of the big excitements was being able to see fish suspended below in the clear water.
My son-in-law has fished the warm-water Sand Hollow on several occasions, and has done well with small crank-baits, plastic worms and spinners. He was my source of information for a brief trip to the lake one evening. Temps were still in the 90-degree range, but a slight breeze and no direct sun made it more than tolerable. We found a few skiers and wave runners, but most patrons were fishing on this weekday.
The lake, which originally started filling in 2002, contains largemouth bass, bluegill, and some catfish. The long warm-weather season makes for quick growth for fish, and should only get better with time. The campground there offers full hook-ups and showers, the ramps are paved and make for easy loading and unloading, and there’s an ATV course nearby as well. So this spot can be utilized for days with a variety of things to keep you busy.
The shoreline around the dam and nearby banks are rocky, and tend to hold fish well, especially bluegill. I fished off the rocks on my trip, finding a spot where the shallower rock bottom that extended out quite a distance had a fall-off perpendicular to the bank. Fish were holding deep off that rocky drop-off, and were susceptible to deep jigging with tubes and grubs. The water was crystal clear, and I could easily see 10 feet down. My son-in-law used a float tube on his visits, and did better than I could do from the bank.
He started with Senko worms along rocky areas and out toward the island that sits near one of the boat ramps. Otherwise, he jigged up his bass from deep water with tube jigs in a crawfish color. The strikes were solid and unmistakable, adding to the percentage of good hookups. Sinking or deep diving crank baits were also good and were fun to be using when a solid strike occurred. The pole would bow down suddenly, and we knew we had a bass on the line.
The bluegill would also hit small grubs, but catching was best when tipped with a piece of worm. I watched a family stay pretty busy with the bluegill using this technique. The bluegill limit is a liberal 50 fish, while the bass limit is six, with only one being over 12 inches. This is to build a trophy fishery for the largemouths in the near future. But we practiced catch and release on our days on the lake. My first cast prompted a follow by a decent-sized bass, and follow-up casts produced results as I slowed down my presentation.
The bass were fairly cooperative on this hot afternoon. I could only imagine what a trip would be like if I could get on the pond before sunrise one morning, and motor around looking for likely structure to hold bass. A fish finder would be a valuable asset here. Bass are very oriented to the contours of the bottom, where ambush points give them the advantage over prey.
Parking is plentiful, as is the beauty of this fine reservoir to those who visit. Plan a day or so on Sand Hollow if you get a chance to visit. It’s too far for a day trip, so make the most of your opportunity to give this lake a try.
Unfortunately, the 1,000 acre reservoir is also home to quagga mussels. You have the opportunity to wash off your boat before leaving the park, so as to prevent the spread of these invaders. But Sand Hollow is participating in Cabela’s “Fish for Millions” contest, hosting tagged bass worth prizes and cash for lucky anglers. So if the occasion presents itself to you, plan a stop at Sand Hollow Reservoir on your next run to St. George. You won’t be disappointed.
Brad Kerr is an avid angler who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.