April 2018 – We left Goblin Valley State Park with big smiles on our faces, but a layer of sand covered everything in the RV! It was time to get away from the dusty desert.
The fun thing about getting away from the red rock hot spots that are so popular in Spring and going into the greener, more mountainous areas that are filled with RVers come summer, is that we can get ahead of the crowds.
As we headed towards northern Utah, we found ourselves so far ahead of the season that at the interestingly named Starvation Reservoir one campsite’s picnic table was awash in waves!
But it was at Strawberry Reservoir where we found true beauty and solitude. This fabulous and enormous lake is surrounded by campgrounds that are filled with weekenders and vacationers in the summer, but when we arrived in April all we found was closed campgrounds and a vast sheet of snow covered ice!
It was absolutely beautiful, and we did a slow drive all through the park. The roads weren’t all open, so we had to turn around before seeing everything, but how cool it was to be the only souls there.
The ice was melting along the shoreline, creating beautiful patterns of white and blue.
Despite the melting ice by the shoreline, there was snow on the mountains and a wonderfully brisk chill in the sun-filled air.
Some herons and other water birds were fishing at the shore.
And a brave ice fisherman was set up at a fishing hole carved through the ice in one of the coves!
There are boating and camping facilities along the shores of Strawberry Lake, and we drove down to Strawberry Bay Marina. There wasn’t anyone around, although the buildings looked like they must be full of life and activity in the summertime.
The floating docks had been pulled up into the parking lot for the winter. and Buddy hopped up on them and had a look around.
At the Strawberry Reservoir Visitor’s Center there’s a nice little nature trail on a boardwalk that runs alongside the Strawberry River and crosses it a few times on the way to a fish hatchery. The Visitor’s Center wasn’t open, and when we first took a look in the morning, the boardwalk was covered frost.
When we returned a little later, the frost had melted and we took a walk through some very pretty scenery.
There wasn’t a soul around, and the fish holding pens at the fish hatchery had been drained for winter. But then we noticed a car parked in a dirt lot and saw a fellow emerge from a doorway. It turned out he was a Fisheries Biologist who works at the reservoir year round studying the fish and managing the stock.
We had a fascinating conversation about fish and fish management, and he described the long term study he had been working on.
It struck me that this isn’t a bad place to work collecting fish lifestyle data and helping the fish thrive, even if it is a little remote and very cold in mid-winter!
There are three primary fish species in Strawberry Reservoir that live at different depths: Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon.
I was surprised to learn that, when they are ready, the fish migrate out of the reservoir and up the Strawberry River towards the hatchery at night rather than during the day. When they sense the electric field of an electric fence they make the turn that takes them into the hatchery!
Bushes in the landscape all around the Strawberry River and Reservoir were a beautiful golden hue, and the Fisheries Biologist explained that these were willows that had been planted in huge numbers all around the area to help with erosion.
What we loved was the way these willows lit up our photos. What gorgeous colors!
Strawberry Reservoir is undoubtedly a fantastic Utah destination to visit for boating and fishing during the warmer months of summer. And even though it’s 7,200′ elevation makes it slow to warm up in the Spring, it is still well worth a stop to see the beauty of the lake when it is iced over and the surrounding mountains are covered in snow!
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More info about Strawberry Reservoir:
- Strawberry Reservoir Fishing Info – Dept of Natural Resources in Utah
- Strawberry Bay Marina – Official Website
- Strawberry Bay Campground – Reservations
- Location of Starvation and Strawberry Reservoirs – Interactive Google Maps
Another fun fish encounter we bumped into:
The Salmon Festival in Stanley, Idaho – A neat celebration of all things salmon, about halfway down the post.
Other blog posts from northern Utah:
- Bear Lake, UT – The Caribbean of the Rockies
- Bear Lake, Utah – A Turquoise Paradise in Snowy Mountains
- Dinosaur National Monument, UT – More than fossilized dinosaur bones!
- Escapod Teardrop Trailers – Rugged Campers for Off-Road Adventure!
- Flaming Gorge Utah – Fiery canyons, a cool river, and nearly tame bighorn sheep
- Flaming Gorge Utah – Vibrant Hues
- Logan Pass, Bear Lake, Mt. Nephi, & Cedar City, Utah
- Mirror Lake Scenic Byway Utah – Fishing and Fun!
- Provo Canyon & Alpine Loop Scenic Byways in Utah
- Utah – Off the Beaten Path…then FURTHER Off the Beaten Path!
- Utah Back Roads – Lakeside RVing Near Salt Lake City
- Vernal, UT – Colorful Gateway to Dinosaur National Monument
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