7 Best Wiper Fishing Lakes in Utah

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Wiper fishing is booming in Utah.

There are several prime spots to target these tasty hybrid stripers, with more being introduced all the time. We’re here to tell you about the best places to catch wipers right now.

Wipers are worth the time to get to know if you fish in Utah. A sterile hybrid of white bass and striped bass, these fish fight hard and make fantastic fish tacos.

The nickname “wiper” is a mashup of white and striper, and in some parts of the country these same fish are more commonly called hybrids, but the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) typically goes with wiper.

The DWR uses wipers to cut the populations of “rough fish” from lakes and ponds as a management tool.

For example, an illegal introduction of golden shiners occurred in Newcastle Reservoir in the late 1990s that caused the rainbows and smallmouth to lose out on food competition. Wipers were introduced in 2005, and by 2009 the lake was thriving for all species of gamefish.

Given that early success and more since then, today the DWR brings in the wipers when lakes get overrun by chubs or other non-game fish. It’s effective and makes for some epic fishing.

Newcastle Reservoir set a state record at over 15 pounds in 2021, so there are some real monsters out there.

How to Catch a Wiper

Wipers are very predatory and will eat anything resembling a shad. They like to school up and chase baitfish, causing boils on the surface. Watch for birds to spot the boils.

Consistently effective lures like the Shad Rap Rapala, Rattling Rapala, and silver Kastmasters tend to cover most waters. Rat-L-Traps in white or pearl also work great.

Try trolling or casting toward rocky structure with a moderately fast retrieve. Slanted slopes hold good numbers of wipers as well. Wipers move fast, so be prepared.

The Best Wiper Fishing in Utah

Wipers were introduced to Willard Bay in the early 1990s and are prolific in that water. Newcastle has a solid population of big fish as well. Several lakes had wipers introduced over the last few years and are more recently becoming real hotspots.

Willard Bay Reservoir

Willard tops the list due to accessibility and catch rate. There are a ton of wipers in there! You can get to Willard Bay just off I-15 near Brigham City and 20 minutes north of Ogden. 

Willard has two marinas to launch your boat and good shore access along the dikes separating its freshwater from the Great Salt Lake.

The North Marina, Bay near the North Outlet, Light Pole and the Submerged Island are prime wiper spots. The area near the North Outlet can produce well for shore anglers.

Rat-L-Traps in white or pearl, pearl tube jigs, white or pearl grubs, and mussels work great for catching wipers at Willard Bay. 

If the wiper bite is slow during the day, try in the evening, just after sunset. As the summer wears on, the wipers chase shad later in the day. Boils are common just after sunset, so get your topwaters ready for some fast action. 

You can also catch crappie, channel catfish, walleye, and smallmouth bass around the lake. The crappie and smallmouth like the trees and rocks just south of the North Marina. Smallies here are very active from late spring through the fall.

Newcastle Reservoir

Newcastle is located about 30 miles west of Cedar City. It’s a small lake with a boat launch and not much else.

Wipers grow big here. The state record was set here twice and probably will be again. With its small size, it’s easy to cover a lot of water to find where the big ones are hiding.

Starting in late March/April, when the water gets warm enough, the bass start biting. You can target them by boat or from shore, and there are solid numbers of both wipers and smallmouth here.

Newcastle is a water management reservoir for irrigation, meaning it gets very low at times. The wipers don’t mind, but there are also trophy rainbows cruising around that might.

Try to avoid catching any trout throughout the summer during low water times. It puts a considerable strain on an already struggling fish.

The wipers roam throughout the lake and school up chasing their dinner, so you’ll need to search for them actively. 

Shore fishing can be excellent for wipers and smallies, with tons of rocky structure and gently sloping banks that wipers prefer. You might need a 4×4 to access parts of the shoreline, but it could pay off big.

Speaking of big, Newcastle holds the Utah state record for wipers, a beast well over 15 pounds.

Newcastle receives significantly less pressure than most other Utah lakes due to its remote location, about an hour north of St. George. It’s worth the trip.

Minersville Reservoir

Minersville Reservoir is a short 15-minute drive from Beaver. Beaver is nearly three hours south of Salt Lake City and has all the amenities you’ll need. There’s a campground and boat launch at the state park at the lake.

Wipers were introduced here in 2011 and have flourished since. Recent DWR surveys showed high numbers, with several in the 10- to 12-pound range.

Known for its epic rainbow trout fishing, Minersville is showing up on more people’s wiper radar. It has big numbers.

Hit the lake in the evening during the summer with an 8wt fly rod and a streamer. You shouldn’t have a problem identifying the schools. They spook easily, so be cautious.

Wipers on the fly rod are a wild experience that rivals most other freshwater species you could catch. They fight like a truck and don’t give in easily.

Fish nearer the shoreline in the evenings or pre-dawn for the best action. You’ll likely catch a rainbow or two along the way.

Jordanelle Reservoir

Fishing boats on the blue surface of Jordanelle Reservoir.
Photo by sainaniritu (Depositphotos)

Jordanelle is 45-minutes east of SLC and just a few miles from Park City. Known for its bass and trout fishing, wipers are now coming on strong.

The DWR started planting them at Jordanelle in 2017, and they’ve taken to the lake well. There are good numbers in there, with the average catch between 2 to 4 pounds, with occasional bigger fish being caught.

It’s a large reservoir, so you’ll need to find the wipers amongst the trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, kokanee and tiger muskie. There’s plenty to target, so if you can’t find the wipers, don’t fret.

Fish the area near the dam and by Rock Cliff for your best chances. Smallmouth and wipers typically hang out around the deeper shorelines here.

East Canyon Reservoir

East Canyon is a 45-minute drive through the mountains from SLC. It offers epic trout and smallmouth bass fishing, in addition to the wiper fishing.

There are multiple boat launches available and campgrounds at both ends of the lake. East Canyon State Park near the dam is the perfect starting point for targeting wipers.

Starting in late April, the wipers become very active, moving in schools between the dam and the Dixie Hollow areas. Fishing remains consistent throughout the summer. 

Fish later in the day during the spring to catch hybrid striped bass here, changing to evening and early mornings by August. Wipers in the 4- to 6-pound range are caught often.

Keep moving until you find the fish, then try to keep up with the school. They move quickly.

Huntington North Reservoir

Huntington North is just north of the Huntington, and about two hours southeast of Provo. It’s a popular lake for water sports in the summertime, so fish early or late for your best chances.

Wipers have grown big here, with catches of 5 to 6 pounds being fairly common. There are bigger fish in here; you just need to find them.

May is the start of the bass season here, and they’re ready for you. The wipers will chase down crankbaits with a vengeance, while fishing with worms or mussels can be good.

Trout, smallmouth bass and bluegill are around in good numbers as well, so be prepared to catch a few.

Yuba Reservoir

Wipers have been caught in good numbers at Yuba, but this seventh selection is more of an “honorable mention” than the six we’ve already covered.

Yuba Reservoir seems to have all the makings of a great wiper fishery.

However, this lake suffers from significant water level fluctuations and can be either hot or completely dead. Some anglers consistently do well, though admittedly it’s a hard lake to learn.

When the fishing is good, it’s worth the hour’s drive south of Provo (closer to two hours from Salt Lake City). It has several campgrounds and boat launches.

Yuba also can rate among the best yellow perch fishing lakes in Utah.

Utah Ponds with Wiper Fishing

Literally dozens of community ponds across Utah have been planted with wipers.

It’s possible to catch some big ones that have been feeding on the carp minnows and chubs commonly found in these ponds.

To find a list of these waters, check out the DWR’s fish stocking page. Click on “species” to sort the waters by the type of fish stocked. (Click it again to reverse this alphabetical list and put wipers on the top of it.)

You might want to check out some previous years to find ponds where these fish are likely catchable size, as the ones stocked in ponds tend to be about 7 inches and then grow by feeding on smaller fish.

In some larger lakes, wipers are stocked in big numbers but in small sizes.