Starvation State Park

A Name not Befitting of the Fishing Opportunities

Don’t let the name scare you away. Starvation Reservoir has plenty of walleye, bass, and even trout, to keep your belly full. Enjoy your freshly caught dinner along the lake’s shores beneath some of the best sunsets in Utah.

There is a bridge along U.S. Highway 40 when driving between Heber City and Vernal that takes you over Starvation Reservoir. As you pass above, you can’t help but notice the stunningly blue waters of the lake framed in the unique canyon country of northeastern Utah. And if you are an angler, then all thoughts turn to, how can I get out on that water and is there anything to catch?

The 3,495-surface acre Starvation Reservoir is part of Starvation State Park. While there are a few different legends regarding the origin of the park’s (and reservoir’s) name, the one that stands out as the most likely is based on the harrowing lives that the pioneers faced in the area when settling. Harsh winters and storms made farming a challenge and the region’s early residents often found themselves lacking for food. It’s not surprising they nicknamed the area “Starvation.”

Starvation State Park

 

Starvation's Bounty

Luckily for anglers looking to cast their lines and fill their bellies, this name is no longer befitting of the fishing opportunities found here. Walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, and even cutthroat trout can be hauled from the waters of the reservoir.

Most anglers focus on the walleye and smallmouth bass, and rightfully so. Walleye up to 15 pounds are not uncommon here. The state record catch-and-release walleye — 31.5 inches — was caught here in 2002, and was very close to the 31.75-inch caught-and-kept record, that tipped the scales at 15 pounds 9 ounces.

Considered by many to be the best-tasting fish around, walleyes this size guarantee a solid meal or two or three with leftovers. Fishing for walleye is typically best if you are trolling with bottom bouncers down to about 25 feet.

There are many other small fish for the taking as well. Yellow perch are not far behind walleye on the scrumptious scale, although it takes a lot more of them to feed a family. Good thing they can be caught in abundance here. The smallmouth bass in the lake are as feisty as anywhere, and there are some dandies among those frequenting these waters.

Trout can also be found at the lake. Big browns are more common in Starvation than many other reservoirs in Utah. And, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plants rainbow trout to provide trout anglers a reliable species to land from shore or through the ice. Fishing for rainbows can be off the charts at times, but typically best in the spring, fall, and winter.

Trolling with pop gear and worms is a common practice at the reservoir, but don’t be surprised to pick up any of the other species while doing it. Traditional trout baits work well from shore when the fishing is good.

Stay the Night

In addition to the great fishing and beautiful waters, the landscape that surrounds you while fishing is breathtaking. The sunrises and sunsets at Starvation State Park are some of the best in Utah. And you’ll often find yourself glancing to the north to take in the views of the Uintas. It’s hard not to, until your line goes tight.

There are six campgrounds at Starvation State Park, two developed — Mountainview and Beach — and four primitive — Knight Hollow, Juniper Point, Indian Bay and Rabbit Gulch. The park also has a 4-lane cement boat ramp and courtesy docks.

Starvation is two hours, or 118 miles east of Salt Lake City, four miles northwest of the town of Duchesne, and about 90 minutes from Dinosaur National Monument.

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