If the weather cooperates, Memorial Day weekend should be a fantastic time to fish in Utah. Paul Birdsey says fishing in the state has never been better than it is right now. And late May is the perfect time to get out and enjoy it.

Birdsey is the cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. The diversity of fish you can catch in the state is one of the reasons he’s optimistic. “No matter which type of fish you like to catch,” he says, “if that species lives in Utah, you’ll find good fishing for it at multiple waters. And the water temperature in late May, coupled with spawning activities that happen at the same time, make Memorial Day weekend a great time to fish.”

While great fishing is available at multiple waters, Birdsey picked the following Southern waters as the best place to fish in Utah during the Memorial Day this year. And, take note: by following Birdsey’s tips and advice, you can enjoy good fishing at many of these waters after the holiday weekend:

South-central, southwestern Utah

Of all the regions in the state, Birdsey says south-central and southwestern Utah provide the highest number of outstanding fishing waters. “Point at any spot on the map,” he says, “and there’s likely an outstanding fishing water not far from where you’re pointing.”

Birdsey says the following are among the very best:

Community fishing ponds

Several of Utah’s community fishing ponds are found in Utah’s Dixie. Many of the ponds have picnic tables, bathrooms and other amenities. They’re excellent places to take your family fishing. And fishing at the ponds can be really good. You can learn more about the community ponds at www.wildlife.utah.gov/fishing-in-utah/community-fisheries.html.

Newcastle Reservoir

Wiper and smallmouth bass fishing should be really good over the weekend. And, if you hook a wiper, get ready – you might be in for a big fight. The last three record wipers in Utah were caught at the reservoir.

To catch wipers at Newcastle, it’s important to fish before the sun hits the water. If you can’t fish that early, try fishing later in the afternoon, just before the sun goes down. The reservoir is packed with crayfish, so fishing with dead crayfish, or a lure that imitates a crayfish, is an excellent way to catch both wipers and smallmouth bass.

Lake Powell

A boat is required to fish most of the lake. If you have a boat, get ready for excellent striped bass, walleye, crappie and smallmouth bass fishing. As you plan your trip to the lake, review Wayne Gustaveson’s fishing reports and fishing tips. Gustaveson is an avid angler who also serves as the lead DWR aquatic biologist at the lake. You can read his weekly tips and fishing reports at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots/reports_lp.php or www.wayneswords.com.

Also, please remember that quagga mussels have spread across much of Lake Powell. Before you leave the reservoir, you must clean and drain your boat and then properly dry it at home before boating on another body of water in Utah. More information is available at www.stdofthesea.com.

Otter Creek Reservoir

This reservoir is well known for its excellent rainbow trout fishing. But the reservoir also has a good population of smallmouth bass and wipers. To catch rainbows, try PowerBait and other baits and lures. For smallmouth bass, a plastic worm threaded on a hook, or a jig with a curly tail grub on the hook, are great lures to try. Wipers in the reservoir are fairly small, averaging about 12 inches long. To catch them, mussels (available in various grocery stores) are a great bait to try. If you use a lure, use one that imitates a crayfish.