Jordanelle State Park
Jordanelle State Park sits on the eastern edge of the Wasatch Mountains, and is home to the Jordanelle Reservoir. It’s close proximity to both Salt Lake City, Heber, and Park City (all great fishing basecamps) have made it an extemely popular getaway for locals looking to escape the urban lifestyle for a while. So, let’s be honest, you’re very likely to see a lot of boat activity on the water during a visit here, especially during the summer.
That being said, Jordanelle is a great place for watersport enthusiasts and boaters, and has become a popular fishing destination. Fed by the Provo River, the blue ribbon waters of the reservoir are ripe with bass and trout.
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The park is divided into three different areas, Hailstone, Rock Cliff, and Ross Creek, all which make their homes along the shores of the Jordanelle Reservoir and each with their own personality. Hailstone, on the western banks, is the most well-known and visited spot of the three. It’s boat ramps and rentals, fish cleaning stations, and marina with a store where you can purchase fishing tackle make this area a no-brainer for anglers. Although you may have to put up with a lot of company and frequent waves from other boats, it’s well-worth the trip.
If you are looking for something quieter, head to the Rock Cliff area on the eastern side of the lake. This area is a bit quieter with less boat traffic, and is known as a more natural section of the park where birds and wildlife abound. A fish cleaning station is available as well as a single-lane boat launch only when the water is high enough and vessels are limited to 16-feet and under. You can also access the Perimeter Trail from here, which takes you on foot, around the reservoir.
Finally, Ross Creek, home to the main Perimeter Trail trailhead. This 15.5-mile trail takes you on foot (or by mountain bike) around the reservoir. It’s a great way to find secret spots to cast your line from the shore. Not only can you find great fishing off the trail here, but Ross Creek also provides access to some great bass fishing. If you are heading out on the Perimeter Trail, try to catch it at sunset—it’s hard to beat the views.
About the fish
Regardless of where you choose to fish, you can be guaranteed a nice variety of species for the catching. There was a time when smallmouth bass were all the rage at Jordanelle. Rumors of fish larger than the state record of 7 pounds 6 ounces being caught were rampant. One angler even entered one in the catch and release record category that was 1.5 inches longer than the caught and kept record of 22 inches.
There have always been big brown trout, and fish up to 10 pounds are not an uncommon catch each summer. The big browns will likely turn up while fishing for smallmouth bass with tube jigs along the shoreline’s rocky points.
You can also find rainbow trout here. They can be caught while trolling with pop gear and a worm; it’s also another great way to turn up big browns. Fishing from shore with traditional baits like night crawlers or PowerBait can also be productive, particularly in the spring and fall when the water temperatures bring the trout in closer to shore.
In response to surveys of anglers, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources planted 35,000 kokanee salmon in the reservoir to provide people fishing Jordanelle with another species to pursue. Some of the fingerling were released in the Provo River Jordanelle, in hopes the salmon may one day start a spawning run to naturally populate the reservoir.
Largemouth bass and perch are also a possibility at the Jordanelle. And, while they are not as common, there are bound to be some big smallies cruising around in Jordanelle as well.
If you are looking to get away for the weekend or longer, Hailstone has more than 100 RV campsites and four loops reserved for tent campers. There is even a hike-in campground if you are willing to make the journey. There are also six walk-in camp sites for tent camping near the Rock Cliff Nature Center.
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