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Palisade State Park is a small, family friendly lake with a swim beach (although signs warn of swimmer's itch), modern restrooms, camping, paddle boats, and even a golf course on the north end.
Despite all of the recreation possibilities, the lake is pretty quiet and the fishing is usually pretty good for rainbows, tigers and the occasional cutthroat. The current Utah state record for tiger trout is a 10lber that supposedly came from these waters...
Palisade is located in Sanpete County only a mile or so off Hwy 89, just outside of the town of Sterling. Coming from the north, you'll have to drive through the county seat, Manti. You'll know you're there when you see this:
The Manti Temple (LDS) stands proud over its town. From here, it's only a matter of minutes before your fingers are wet.
Most of the fish I've caught have been in the 12-16 inch range. Nothing spectacular, but larger fish still exist and the 20 inch mark is crossed quite frequently.
They're still fun to catch and put up a decent fight. A good color choice for lures and flies might incorporate some bright orange and/or yellow, I've noticed. Black and silver has also been productive at times.
Shiner minnows also swim where there's cover and using them as bait is pretty productive, along with imitations. I hear that jigs work well, but haven't tried it personally. Putting a worm on the bottom might save someone from getting skunked if left to soak.
In the fall of 2008, I made a trip to Palisade on my way back from a trip further south. It was really shocking to pull up to a half-drained lake.
Seeing so much of the bottom was sad, but it also allowed me to look at some notable features. For instance, in the photo above, a straight channel can be seen near the center of the image. That's actually a pretty good little channel at about four feet across that starts out around an outflow box and gets deeper until it hits the main body of the lake. Following that channel out until it breaks, another cuts back about 90 degrees toward the dike and another outflow box.
The fish weren't looking too great while the water was down. Most of the rainbows I caught were starving and thin as a rail. A couple of tigers looked pretty bad too, especially this hammer handle:
One of the landmarks of Palisade is the dead tree in the water. Well during this particular draw down, I was also afforded the opportunity to see what the tree looked like without the water (I had wondered before). Unfortunately, the tree is now gone and the only traces of it are the branches that have drifted to various spots along the shoreline.
Perhaps I should've gone shopping for old snagged lures in that mess.
Palisade is just a nice place to go and the fishing can be pretty fun. It's always worth the trip and every fisherman I know that has been there, likes it. Any chance to drive under the Sanpete skies should be taken anyway.
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