Deer Creek Ice-Off


Aug 9, 2007
I've been watching the local waters for reports of hot fishing. I haven't done much boat fishing in the past, but I'd heard that ice-off is an awesome time to wet a line. I'd heard reports that Deer Creek was clear of ice and the fishing was good, so @slc_dan and I headed up on Saturday to check it out.


After getting skunked at Powell last month, it was awesome to get into the fish almost immediately. We started out by just trolling as slow as we could with a jake's lure on each rod. Dan caught the first of the boat and then it just kept going.

All were nice, plump rainbow trout from 12-17".

We had a couple times where we both got fish on at the same time.

The perils of sitting too far away from the back of the boat when a fish strikes.

The wind kicked up hard in the afternoon. It was fun to see how the boat handled the rough water. We decided to motor right into the wind and head up to the dam. We turned around and let the wind propel us for a bit. It was strong enough to keep the boat riding waves at about 2-3 mph with the engine off.

But then we snuck into a more sheltered cove to cook up a little lunch. I just rigged this grill up earlier this week. It's not designed to be a boat grill, but so far it's working out awesome. It's particularly good because you can swap out the grill plates for stove burners or griddles. The other nice thing is that the legs for the grill can be stowed on the boat and reattached with one bolt and wing nut so it can be moved to the beach if desired. I'm really excited about it.


Throughout the day we landed 21 and lost a handful of others. Great day out on the water.

Featured image for home page:
Jan 23, 2012
Very nice haul for its second voyage!


Mountain Carver
Feb 19, 2012
but I'd heard that ice-off is an awesome time to wet a line.

21 is a great day and any day on the water (that doesn't end up on the bottom) is a good day!

Hitting the Ice off right at the breakup is something I keep trying for. I recommend "Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes" by the late, great Gary LaFontaine. Great book and Chapter 2 covers this. One particular point in this chapter describes the "true" ice-off as a day when the semi-thawed ice gets fragile enough and blown by the wind at just the right time so that it breaks up nearly all at once. This drops the entire winter's worth of dead bugs and other tasty bits into the lake all at once and for the rest of the day the fish go into a feeding frenzy. Only lasts a day and guarantees the best day ever. He gives other great info on pre-breakup conditions.

The book is worthwhile and after reading I was thinking "ah, that's why" on several fishing experiences I have experienced when backpacking.


I walk
Jun 25, 2012
I still can' believe you caught those fish with dice! I thought it took cunning and guile and a not-insignificant knowledge of the natural world (natural food and insects dependent on time of day etc.) to catch fish reliably.

Dice. :facepalm:


Aug 9, 2007
Hahaha! That cracks me up, Art! I have to set you straight though. 98% of fisherman have no idea what they are doing. They just read whatever someone else wrote on the interwebs or just keep trying what worked before, or what they guy at the fish store said to use. :) In this case, the 'dice' are a fabulous trout lure in the backcountry waters, so we tried it here. Go Dan. When I'm heavy into fly fishing, I've gotten reasonably good at identifying hatches and learning what might be good food above the water. I never got really good at it, but certainly better than figuring out what is going on UNDER the water! I'm just happy we didn't have to resort to bait. :rolleyes:


I walk
Jun 25, 2012
I fully expect the next boating TR to have pics of beautiful fish on the line with those grilled hot dogs ahead of them on the line.... :cool:

BCP is burying all my stereotypical hero-types. First survivalManiac Les or whatever his name used to be and now Frank the fantatstic fly fisherman.

P.S. I am just joshin' ya of course (except the quip about Les).


Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Jun 7, 2012
TIL that lure is called dice, makes sense :)

I prefer @Bob's name for it, the money clip. It doesn't make much sense that Jake's Spin a lure (the actual name for the lure) works so well, until you see it under the water. It shifts and bends in a convincing fashion.

I've caught well over 100 fish on that one lure. I know it's that one, because I clamped off the barbs on it. I took a few different lures, and flies with me to the Winds, and Uinta's last year, but almost only ever used the Jake's. It casts extremely well too, making it perfect for mountain lakes, getting to the deeper part.

I do love @langutah's name for it though! Dice!


Aug 9, 2007
Went back up to Deer Creek today. It was my wife's first time out on the new boat, so of course the 'pretty good' forecast turned into a hurricane as we were launching. We found some sheltered bays and trolled around for a while though. Audra caught into a super fat rainbow right off the bat and then quite a few more that weren't quite as plump. The sun came out a little and warmed us up before we decided to call it a day. It was definitely fun to see how the boat handled in 3-4' waves. I'm glad I just placed an order for a third pontoon to put on it. :)

Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
B Thorofare loop from Deer Creek Trip Planning 20
fossana Deer Creek out-and-back (Grand Canyon NP) Hiking & Camping 5
S Deer Creek into the Thorofare Trip Planning 6
Eugene Monument Point to Thunder River and Deer Creek Backpacking 9
Jackson Question about Deer Creek Trip Planning 2
cmgz Grand Canyon-Bill Hall Trail to Thunder River and Deer Creek Backpacking 6
Mr. Me Deer Creek to Dry Creek Trail #43 Everything Else 3
TIMP Grand Canyon Bill Hall Trailhead to Deer Creek Falls and Thunder Spring General Discussion 3
J Grand Canyon NP Backpack Pt. 2 Deer Cyn explore-->Esplanade-->Indian Hollow Tr. April 18-23, 2021 Backpacking 10
J Grand Canyon NP Backpack Pt. 1 Thunder River Tr.-->Esplanade-->Tapeats-->Deer. April 18-23, 2021 Backpacking 13
NorthwestWanderer Washington - 4x4 to Bear Lake & Little Deer Pass Off Road 0
Ugly Snowy Dawn Traverse on Deer Ridge Hiking & Camping 6
J Dayhikes GSENM, Cap Reef, Behind the Rocks: Deer Cr, Tanks, Sheets Gulch, Moab Rim Apr. 4 to 8, 2018 Hiking & Camping 0
natylka Bald Mountain at Deer Park-July 2014 Hiking & Camping 0
Howells Outdoors XC Ski at Southern Utah's Deer Valley Winter Sports 3
Howells Outdoors Cross-country Ski at Deer Valley Hiking & Camping 8
gnwatts Deer Canyon, Cedar Mesa Hiking & Camping 2
BobFink Yellowstone South Entrance to Fox Creek via Basin Creek Cutoff - Labor Day 2022 Trip Reports 3
Janice Professor Creek / Mary Jane Canyon - mid April? Trip Planning 0
scatman North Ridge of City Creek Canyon - February 4, 2023 Hiking & Camping 17
MikeP Exploring/Calf Creek Trip Planning 24
scatman South Ridge of City Creek Canyon - January 28, 2023 Hiking & Camping 4
travel2walk Gros Ventre Wilderness: Granite Creek, West Fork Crystal Creek, Crystal Creek, & Swift Creek - June 2021 Backpacking 8
slieb Lower Muddy Creek in Winter? Trip Planning 7
scatman A Yellowstone Love Story (Bog Creek Euphoria) - September 12, 2022 Backpacking 28
NorthwestWanderer Backpacking Grand Teton National Park : Fossil Pass,Fox Creek Pass,Indian Lake,Alaska Basin,Hurricane Pass,Ice Floe Lake,& Snowdrift Lake Backpacking 19
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Wrangler Lake, Bog Creek, Joseph's Coat Springs, Broad Creek, Wapiti Lake, Hot Springs Basin, and Pelican Valley. The Second Half. Backpacking 15
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Wrangler Lake, Bog Creek, Joseph's Coat Springs, Broad Creek, Wapiti Lake, Hot Springs Basin, and Pelican Valley. Part One of Two. Backpacking 61
scatman Pacific Creek, Moss Lake and Gravel Lake - Teton Wilderness - October 7, 2022 Backpacking 32
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Hayden Valley, Trout Creek, Beach Lake, and Arnica Creek Meadows. September 11, 2022. Hiking & Camping 7
scatman Trout Creek and the Headwaters of Alum Creek - September 11, 2022 Hiking & Camping 17
R Wind River Range: Green River Lakes/Clarks Trail/Porcupine Creek Trail Trip Planning 3
Janice Salt Creek plus... Trip Planning 17
Gretchen Millward Trachyte Creek, April – May 2022 Backpacking 3
XID_AZ Kanab Creek Wilderness - Sowats Canyon - Mountain Sheep Spring Trip Planning 6
balzaccom McGee Creek--Fire (smoke) Rain, Winded and rockslides... Trip Reports 0
John Goering Tobacco Root Mountains South Meadow Creek Off Road 1
SteveR Bull Creek Hills, Alberta Hiking & Camping 5
T Salt Creek this weekend Trip Planning 1
TeamJenkins17 Red Tops/Needle Creek Drainage Info Trip Planning 0
M Kannah Creek Basin loop, Grand Junction CO Backpacking 6
Anthony Montezuma Creek Rd Trip Planning 1
The Trout Whisperer Non kilt wearin’ version of th Gneiss Creek Expedition part 3… Backpacking 0
The Trout Whisperer Non kilt wearin’ version of th Gneiss Creek trip, part 2, Backpacking 4
The Trout Whisperer Non kilt wearin’ version of th Gneiss Creek Expedition part 1 Backpacking 4
Gretchen Millward Trachyte Creek, Oct. 2021 Backpacking 8
scatman Foothill Follies Part 2 - Black Mountain Ridge and City Creek Canyon Loop - November 11, 2021 Hiking & Camping 6
RyanP Coyote Gulch to Halls Creek via Steven's Canyon and the Baker Route (car/key swap) Meet Up (Members Only) 8
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake, Ouzel Creek, and Three Rivers Junction -- September 13-16 2021 Backpacking 62
Gretchen Millward Trachyte Creek conditions/water Trip Planning 0

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.