Surrounded by the Parker Mountains to the east, Monroe Mountain to the west and the Sevier Plateau to the southwest, Otter Creek State Park is a popular, yet remote, spot for boating, camping, birdwatching, riding ATVs and especially fishing.
About the Fish
Otter Creek Reservoir is one of those Utah waters with the ability to grow fat and feisty trout quickly. Officials say Otter Creek is one of the most productive fisheries in the state with stocked fish gaining more than one inch a month in length when things are just right — four to eight pound trout are the norm around here. Unfortunately, the lake also can become infested with Utah chubs on a fairly regular basis, and they end up out-competing the trout for food, thinning the pot. When the chub population is low, however, Otter Creek can rank among Utah’s top five trout waters.
While rainbow trout are the most popular, you may also see brown trout, cutthroat trout and tiger trout. If you have it in your sites to catch one of these beauties, baits like PowerBait, worm and marshmallow or cheese work well. Flashy spoons, lures, spinners and Rapalas are a good choice if you are throwing hardware.
Don’t be surprised if you pull in a smallmouth bass while you are fishing here. In 2005, smallmouth bass were introduced in an effort to help control Utah chub numbers. If you want to target smallmouth, consider fishing with soft plastic baits and spinnerbaits off of points and on edges near deep water.
Finding Success any Season
If you are visiting during the summer, one of Otter Creek’s most popular times, then having a boat will help you out immensely. As the water warms, the fish head to deeper water near the middle of the lake to find cooler temps. Trolling needlefish or Triple Teazers is one of the most effective ways to fish here, and if you are fly fishing, streamer patterns work well, as do nymph and midge patterns to bring in trout.
If you are there during the cooler seasons, fishing from the shoreline can be good. Try fishing off points on the west side of the reservoir or near the dam and campground. And if you like fishing when the temps are really cool, then wait for the lake to freeze and head here; Otter Creek is regarded as one of the best ice fishing destinations in southern Utah.
Camping & Recreation
When you are done casting your lines for the day, come back and relax at one of Otter Creek State Park Campground’s 54 sites — a mix of RV and tent. Amenities here include restrooms, showers, fire pits, access to the boat launch and trails, boat rentals, food, swimming and more.
If you want to get out and try something in addition to fishing, there are a variety of trails that will get you into the backcountry for a great hike or mountain bike ride. There is also access to three ATV trails, including the famous Paiute Trail system. If something more mellow suits your fancy, Otter Creek State Park is on the Pacific Migratory Flyway, so birders keep your eyes open for some unique finds.
In 1897, a group of Mormon farmers decided to build a dam to help irrigate the land they had recently settled in central Utah’s Piute County, near Antimony. This 40-foot dam, one of the oldest in Utah, created the 6-mile long Otter Creek Reservoir. Since 1965, the Otter Creek State Park has sat on the lake’s southern shore.
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