Enterprising Locals Needn’t Go Far

by Hartt Wixom

Ken Johnson hooks a nice rainbow trout at Lower Enterprise Reservoir.
Ken Johnson hooks a nice rainbow trout at Lower Enterprise Reservoir.

Enterprise, Utah Offers Much for Outdoor Lovers

There are many good reasons for us outdoor types to visit the community of Enterprise, 37 miles north of St. George. For one thing, there are Upper and Lower Enterprise reservoirs. Last time I was at Lower, a friend and I caught some two dozen 12-14 inch rainbow trout. And I’ve seen bigger ones taken in both lakes.

Upper Enterprise has smallmouth bass as well as trout. In my experience, the angler should do well on both lakes as soon as the ice breaks open in April. My best bets: a no. 3 Mepps spinner and/or a size 6-8 black woolly bugger streamer. I like to locate the fish with spinner, then go to the fly. Weight it with a split shot at eye of the hook and again 12 inches up the leader.

A boat would be an advantage on these waters but so far I’ve found fast fishing on Lower from the south bank. Keep moving around because these fish seem to school up. The reason for that is probably due to minnows gathering in back bays and coves. There is a stream (Pine Creek) flowing from the lower lake but it does not hold water year around; any fish would be washed down and not resident.

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The upper lake has a wonderful campground (Honeycomb) although not many units. You would likely have to get there at mid-day (checkout time) on weekends and holidays. Kids love to climb those rocks at this campground and it’s a good place for them to play hide and seek.

Dixie has many bass waters but I have not found them particularly productive until at least middle of May. Then, Sand Hollow can be fast fishing with jigs. This is a strange lake in that the largemouths do not hang around surface structure. I’ve seen many taken in open water on the east and south sides. Best for trout in this region following spring thaw are besides the two Enterprise lakes are Kolob (north of Virgin northwest of Zion National Park), plus Upper Sandcove and Newcastle. Note: Lower Sandcove does not hold trout. Quail Creek Lake is good for trout until summer heat.

But back to the Enterprise community. It is in the heart of superb mule deer country. Troy Truman’s taxidermy shop displays some of the local trophies taken every year. You can also view many trophy mounts in Lee Bracken’s General Store east end of town. But my favorite memory of Enterprise was looking at a two-point buck prancing down Main Street. During the archery deer season. One woman told us she was not surprised. “They get in my garden about every night.”

One day a conservation officer in the area pointed to cliffs and ledges north of town where he has seen bobcats. He also told me of a golden eagle which attacked a young coyote that the bird could not quite subdue. “It was an interesting wildlife show,” he said. “The eagle was too ambitious for its own good but then he lost nothing by trying.”

In any event, it was just one more indication of the reason to spend some time in and around Enterprise. I’ve also seen bald eagles in the general area on north toward Beryl Junction, and westward toward Hebron. Latter was the original settlement in the vicinity but flooding and an earthquake moved settlement where it is today. According to Utah Place Names, Hebron was settled in 1868 with a fort but was later demolished by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but no damage was done to Enterprise. ( I don’t know of any impact on other Utah communities but that’s what it says in Utah Place Names.) Enterprise was just meant to be where it now is.

I have noted over the years that Enterprise is a community of pride. It is clean and exudes energy …all reason enough to deserve the name it has. The town has also a major share of winning high school sports programs. Whenever I’ve checked, the Wolves usually excel in both boys and girls competition.

Access to the two reservoirs has been via the road north of Gunlock, (from bottom of the hairpin turn) as marked; but flooding sometimes knocks the road out, so many have taken to going via SR 18 to past Central to Enterprise itself.

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