List of Pineview Reservoir Fish Species (Fishable and Non)

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List of Fishable & Unfishable Pineview Reservoir Fish Species [Updated]

pineview reservoir in utah
Pineview Reservoir is surrounded by scenic mountains, shrubland, and low trees. Joe Barney / CC BY-SA 2.0

Pineview Reservoir, located in the scenic Ogden Valley in Utah, offers an amazing variety of fun recreational activities! People travel here from miles around for the unmatched boating, windsurfing, swimming, and sport-fishing opportunities the reservoir provides. You can easily access the reservoir for a day trip, or snag a campsite at the nearby Anderson Cove campground to keep the fun rolling.

This well-known and highly trafficked reservoir was created back in 1937, when the Bureau of Reclamation erected a dam to control the flood waters in the Ogden River.

After the original construction and later enlargement in 1957, the dam is 132 feet high (40 meters) and 600 feet long (183 meters). The reservoir has a maximum depth of 81 feet and spans nearly 3,000 acres. Today, Pineview Reservoir is among the most popular attractions in the state of Utah!

How do you get to Pineview Reservoir? Can You Fish?

Ogden dam in Pineview Reservoir, Utah
The Ogden Dam is just visible here in the western neck of the reservoir. Joe Barney / CC BY-SA 2.0

To access the beautiful Pineview Reservoir, you can take the Trappers Loop (Hwy 167) or Ogden Canyon (Hwy 39). Driving up from the south, take interstate 84 up through Weber Canyon, and take the Mountain Green exit. From here, get on highway 167 into the Ogden Valley.

If you are trying to access Pineview Reservoir from Ogden City, start your journey by heading eastbound on 12th Street. This road will shortly  turn into Ogden Canyon- which is highway 39. This winding road will lead you right to your destination.

While there are a variety of recreational activities to partake in at this gorgeous reservoir, fishing is one of the most popular options. Pineview Reservoir is highly renowned as a blue ribbon fishery. When you cast your line into Pineview Reservoir, you might land your hook in a black crappie, largemouth bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, tiger muskellunge (also known as “tiger muskie”), bluegill, black bullhead catfish, or green sunfish!

List of Fish Species in Pineview Reservoir

1) Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)

black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus adult
Black crappie are identified by their dark mottling and laterally compressed, circular bodies.

The black crappie is a freshwater species that can be identified by its deep and laterally compressed body, small head, and arched back. They are similar in shape to the bluegill, and are in the same family of North American sunfish (Centrarchidae). They also have distinctive coloration – a white-colored body speckled with dark black mottling. The black crappie usually grows to around 10” (27 cm) in length and can live to be 15 years of age.

Black crappie are early risers – they prefer to feed in the early morning hours, before the sun comes up. Smaller juveniles feed on small crustaceans and larvae, while the larger mature crappie will eat shad and small, fish-like minnows. They are not technically native to Utah, having been introduced years ago, and are gradually overtaking some native fish species, so fishing of them is encouraged. If you’re interested, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources even shared an easy recipe for crappie tacos!

P. nigromaculatus spawn between the months of March and July. During this season, the males will build nests in gravel, sand, or mud in close proximity to the shoreline vegetation. The vegetation helps provide protection and food for the vulnerable eggs and larvae. Females will lay around 40,000 eggs on average, but the number of eggs she lays is highly dependent on her size and age. Older and larger females will lay more eggs than smaller, younger individuals. In fact, females on the larger side have been known to lay over 100,000 eggs in a single spawning season! The male will guard and protect the newly hatched larvae for many days until they mature enough to leave the nest.

2) Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

a young largemouth bass swimming amongst rocks
Photo courtesy of Ken Hammond via the United States Department of Agriculture.

Also a member of the sunfish family, Centrarchidae, the largemouth bass is a very sought-after sport fish in North America. Often referred to as “green bass,” the largemouth bass is a carnivorous freshwater fish that can be found all across the United States, Mexico, South America, and even Africa in many lakes and rivers. Though technically native to the Eastern US, they were introduced to Utah many decades ago and have since become one of the most valued sport fish there.

Mature largemouth bass can be around 30” in length (76 cm), and generally the females grow larger in size than the males. They can live to be up to 25 years old, and while they prefer calm and clear water, the largemouth bass is resilient and can survive in other habitats as well, including waters that may be cloudy or moderately polluted. 

When it comes to appearance, the largemouth bass can be identified by its elongated body and dark yellow-green coloration. M. salmoides have a dark stripe running down the sides for the length of the body, and can be distinguished from other species by their larger sized mouths. Sometimes distinguishing M. salmoides from other species of bass, like the smallmouth, can be rather tricky. This is because no two individuals are exactly the same. Some smallmouth bass can have relatively large mouths, and some largemouth bass can have relatively small mouths, with similar coloration to one another!

While largemouth bass are carnivorous throughout their lives, their dietary preferences change as they mature. During the juvenile phase, the diet of M. salmoides consists of insects, zooplankton, and smaller fish. As they grow up, their diet changes and they begin consuming larger insects, crayfish, and other fish.

In the spring, the spawning season begins. The males will build nests in shallow water, preferably in gravel substrate if it is available. In these nests, females will deposit their eggs and the males will come along later and fertilize them. The fertilized eggs will develop and hatch in just four to six days! The male will then protect his school of larvae for about a month until they are mature enough to leave the nest. 

3) Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens)

catch and release yellow perch Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens)
Yellow perch are most easily identified by their golden-yellow bodies with dark, verticle banding. This one was released shortly after being caught. Heath Alseike / CC BY-SA 2.0

The yellow perch can be distinguished by its elongated, golden-yellow body and dark vertical bands running down its sides. They can grow to be up to a foot in length (30 cm) and can be found in many freshwater rivers and lakes. Typically, they prefer hanging out in shoreline vegetation.

P. flavescens are prey to other carnivorous fish and birds, most notably species of gulls and ducks. They feed on a variety of items, but prefer the larvae of insects, crustaceans, and other small fish.

Late February through March is spawning time for yellow perch! They are a semi-anadromous species, so they will reside in freshwater or brackish rivers and then travel to smaller freshwater streams for spawning. Females lay their eggs in gelatinous strands, which adhere to aquatic vegetation. Yellow perch do not build any type of nest, or exhibit any form of guarding behavior. Once spawning time is over, the yellow perch will migrate back to their primary habitat and the eggs and fry will depend on the cover of the vegetation to protect them as they develop.

4) Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

smallmouth bass in shallow water
Smallmouth bass are most easily distinguished from largemouth by the dark vertical bands on the body.

Smallmouth bass prefer to live in the shallower, rocky areas of the freshwater lakes and large ponds that they call home. They are closely related to the largemouth bass, who have a single horizontal dark stripe. Conversely, the smallmouth bass can usually be distinguished by multiple vertically-oriented stripes running along its body. Sometimes these may be difficult to see, but they’re there.

As juveniles, smallmouth bass like to feed on small aquatic insects and plankton, as these are the most abundant and readily available things that they can get their small mouths around! Adults, on the other hand, prey on crayfish, insects, and even other fish. Smallmouth bass have been known to practice cannibalistic tendencies, and feed on members of their own species! Cannibalism is fairly rare in the animal world, and usually reserved for when the animals are stressed, competing for mates, or food resources are scarce. In the case of smallmouth bass, it’s the latter.

Smallmouth bass have similar spawning habits to their large-mouthed cousins. Males will build their spawning nests in gravel substrate under shallow waters. At the nest, a mating pair will perform a short spawning ritual in which the eggs are fertilized. Once the fertilized eggs hatch, the male will guard the nest until the juveniles are ready to survive on their own. Only a fraction of the males and females in a population will reproduce each year.

5) Tiger Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy x Esox lucius)

Very few people call this fish by its full name; most people simply know the species as a “tiger muskie.” They are one of the most unusual game fish in Utah, and are actually a hybrid cross between a northern pike (Esox lucius) and a muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). One of the largest game fish ever caught was actually a tiger muskie in Pineview Reservoir back in 2006! It was 49 inches in length (124 cm) and weighed a whopping 33 pounds (15 kg).

Tiger muskies are very large fish, with a body type similar to that of a barracuda. As the name suggests, they are marked by multiple, vertical, tiger-like stripes.

While the tiger muskie itself is a sterile hybrid, it is produced when a muskellunge and a northern pike crossbreed. Pike and muskies typically spawn in the same areas of sheltered shorelines, and generally during the same time frame. Pike and muskie crossbreeding occurs naturally and easily, and happens most frequently in shallow waters that warm up quickly in the spring. 

6) Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

bluegill fish of saguaro lake
Photo by Scott Harden, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bluegill are a North American sunfish species in the Centrarchidae family that are often referred to as “bream,” “brim,” or “sunnies.” They are native to freshwater systems all across North America, and are distinguishable by their beautiful iridescent blue coloration. 

Bluegill are typically around 6” in length (15 cm), but can grow to be up to 12” long (30 cm). While coloration can vary between populations, L. macrochirus tend to have a very deep green and blue color of iridescent scales. Bluegill have a deep and highly compressed body shape. When looking at them from above, they appear ovaline in shape and relatively flat in width.

L. macrochirus are opportunistic feeders, so they will eat pretty much whatever they can get their…hands on. Their diet usually consists of a variety of insects, worms, larvae and crustaceans but what they eat is dependent on what is available in the ecosystem.

Bluegill have high reproduction rates. Just one female is capable of spawning up to three times in one season. Between the months of May and August, she will release anywhere from 2,300-81,000 eggs per spawning event. The male bluegill will construct a nest in sand or gravel substrate, and the female will then come along and lay her eggs in it. After the spawn, the male bluegill will defend the eggs for multiple days. 

7) Black Bullhead Catfish (Ameiurus melas)

black bullhead catfish closeup
Black bullhead catfish are distinguished by their broad heads and very dark-colored barbels. Photo by Emőke Dénes, CC BY-SA 4.0

Black bullheads can be found in most freshwater habitats in their native range, which spans from the Appalachians to Arizona, north to Canada, and as far south as Mexico and Florida. These fish have also been introduced in parts of England. They are distinguished from similar catfish species by their broadly shaped head and dark colored barbels.

Juvenile bullheads feed midday in a school structure on small crustaceans, insects, and larvae. Adults, on the other hand, tend to feed at night and their diet consists of a variety of invertebrates, other fish, and fish eggs.

Black bullheads have a monogamous mating system, in which mating pairs will spawn between the months of May and July. A female will build her nest in a soft, muddy substrate where she will lay anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. The male will watch from close by, and fertilize the eggs in the nest. The male will guard the fertilized eggs, and the offspring until about 2 weeks post hatching.

8) Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)

Green sunfish have yellow-green colored bodies with iridescent blue stripes. Photo by Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 4.0

Green sunfish are a beautifully colored fish, also belonging to the family Centrarchidae. While they may be similar in appearance to bluegill, there are some characteristics that set them apart. L. cyanellus have a slightly thicker body and larger mouth than other Centrarchids. They also have a blue-green colored back side and blue stripes on the head.

When it comes to diet, green sunfish are benthic feeders. They live their lives and eat their meals near the bottom of the water as opportunistic insectivores and piscivores. L. cyanellus have the remarkable ability to adapt and survive in subpar environmental conditions.

In the spring and early summer, L. cyanellus begin to spawn. A male will build a nest in which a female will deposit her eggs. After the male fertilizes the female’s eggs, he will defend the nest aggressively from predators. It is very common for hybridization to occur between green sunfish and other species of sunfish, like the bluegill, when they have overlapping habitats.

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