As of Sunday, January 7, 2024, Strawberry Reservoir wasn't full capped with open water near the north end. However, there are still pockets with great ice. Anglers have been fishing on the ice since Christmas, starting in Mud Creek, then moving to Chicken Creek, and now they have spread out across the ice.
We chose to fish Haws Point, south of Strawberry Marina. We drove our snowmobile around the reservoir on the road and parked on the point. We did not drive on the ice. There are several areas where you can see the soft spots through the snow, so be careful of those areas. We drilled holes 20 yards from one of these spots near shore and it was only about 3 inches of ice. But, when we ventured further from shore, the ice got thicker - 6 inches in the best spot.
We always like to start shallow (12-20 feet) in the early morning. We found fish immediately - aggressive cutthroats through the upper part of the water column. Using our Garmin livescopes, we were enticing fish to chase and eat from upwards of 20 feet out from our holes. They were feeding up as well as down to our baits. It was a fun, aggressive bite that lasted for 4 hours before the action slowed and we moved to deeper holes in 30+ feet. During that span, the bite was dominated by cutthroats in the slot, but we did find a couple rainbows as well.
The remaining 3 hours we fished, the action was slower, but we managed to find a few cuts suspended in deep water. They were not as aggressive as the morning fish, but they still fed.
The morning fish were hitting everything we put in front of them from the classic tube - 1/32 oz. to 1/16 oz. in white or pearl. We use the Black Magic i for presentations like this, because it allows us maximize our catch rate with the strike indicator. We also had luck with some super aggressive fish that hit a #3 size slap rap - the Finesse or Black Magic are the best options when upsized in presentation size when targeting smaller trout.
With the cold weather ahead, the berry should fully cap and the ice will continue the thicken making the entire reservoir fishable. We can't wait to get out to Strawberry again and hopefully catch a slot buster cut!