Pruess Lake is also known as Garrison Reservoir is located in Millard County, Utah. The lake lies near the border of Nevada, just south of the city of Garrison. From Delta you can take US-50/highway 6 west for about an hour and half. You will need to turn south onto US-159, but you should see the sign for Garrison before you hit US-159. If you reach Nevada you missed the turn. Once you’re on US-159 continue south for 11 miles. Pruess Lake is right against the road so you should see it.
I have a video on Pruess Lake with a ton of content that is almost finished. I have one more trip planned in April of 2020 with a canoe to hopefully catch a Sacramento Perch this time and to get more footage. If anyone wants to go to the lake with me hit me up at [email protected] I will be heading from Salt Lake probably leaving around 3 am.
Most likely catch: Catfish or Common Carp also knows as Mirror Carp, and Utah Chub.
Less Likely catch: Sacramento Perch, Utah Sucker, Black Crappie and Largemouth Bass.
Possible but unlikely catch: Bluegill, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass
The Sacramento Perch was first officially documented in 1854 in central California. Shortly after in the 1870’s stocking began in Nevada. The fish first appeared in Utah in 1880 when they were planted in Cutler Reservoir, and The Bear River. I couldn’t find any records indicating when the Sacramento Perch was first introduced into Pruess Lake. Although most historians think it was in the 1890’s. I’ve seen various reports of the fish in the Sevier River being caught over the last 30 years. Minersville Reservoir was illegally stocked with Sacramento Perch in the late 1990’s. A small population was established and then was likely eliminated after the reservoir was drained in 2004.
The Sacramento perch is part of the Sunfish family and resembles a bass. compared to other fish they are not very aggressive and can be very difficult to catch. In 2011 the DWR did a gill net survey on Pruess Lake. They were able to catch a few Sacramento Perch, although the survey showed Suckers, Carp, and Chub to be the biggest populations.
Fishing tips: I recommend using a floating bubble with a small jig tied 2 feet below. Tip the jig with a small worm and slowly reel in the lure. The best time to catch Sacramento Perch is in the spring when they spawn.
The 2020 Utah Fishing Proclamation states the bag limit of Sacramento Perch is 10.
Fish Stocking History
2019: 3500 Channel Catfish
2018: 3492 Channel Catfish.
2017: 3500 Channel Catfish.
2016: 3456 Channel Catfish.
2015: 91 Largemouth Bass, 16 Smallmouth Bass, 347 Black Crappie,
2014: 36 Bluegill Sunfish, 74 Black Crappie, 33 Smallmouth Bass, and 23 Largemouth Bass.
2013: 3500 Channel Catfish
History of Pruess Lake
Pruess Lake was named by John C. Frémont who was an explorer of the early American West. Frémont named the lake after his cartographer Charles Preuss. At some point their was a spelling error of Preuss to Pruess and the lakes name was never fixed. The lake has gone through several names such as Garrison Lake, Burbank Reservoir, and Lake Creek Reservoir.
1890 the local ranchers started a project to make the small lake deeper and build a dam. The lake expansion didn’t go as planned. The rocks surrounding the lake were too permeable and caused the water to drain instead of collect.
1922 much of the epic western film The Coverd Wagon was filmed here. Over 2,000 people were hired to build the set and work as extra’s in the film. The Beaver County Newspaper of the time had a great story on the film.
1968 the water was treated with rotenone to remove unwanted fish. Sacramento Perch were planted after the treatment with help from the Nevada Fish and Game Department.
1969 the Department of Fish and Game stocked 12,000 channel catfish and 22,000 large mouth bass in the lake.
1974 Utah DWR and Nevada Fish and Game Gillnet the lake. The catch resulted in mostly Utah Chub, Utah Suckers and Sacramento Perch. There was also several channel catfish and a few carp caught. Not listed in the catch but assumed to be have populations was Largemouth Bass and Brown Trout. Officials stocked Brown Trout multiple times in the mid 70’s in the lake.
1976 There is a 13 pound Channel Catfish caught. Picture of cat. In this same year approximately 81,000 channel catfish at 2 and a half inch are planted.
1979 Pictures of 15 to 18 pound catfish caught.
1993 The current state record catch of the Sacramento Perch is caught at 4lb 5 ounces, a length of 17″ and a girth of 15″.
2011 The last gill net survey was performed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Pruess Lake is approximately 2 miles long and a half a mile wide. It is fed from Big Springs in Nevada where a spring as big as a wagon wheel gushes from the ground. Big Springs is one of the main sources of water for the lake. The water from Big Springs creek travels 12 miles before it empties into Pruess Lake. Do to irrigation the water doesn’t always consistently make it the whole journey. Once Big Springs Creek reaches the Utah border it becomes Lake Creek.
Clay Springs is located a half mile south of Pruess Lake. This is the only spring that continually empties into the lake. The springs travels through Lake Creek.
In years of heavy run off Lexington Creek to the south and Big Wash to the north will run into the lake as well.
Collecting Sea Shells. In the fall time when the water level drops the California Floater shells collect on the beaches. The large beautiful shells can provide kids with several hours of entertainment.
Food & Gas: The Border Inn is 12 miles to the north just over the border in Nevada. They sell gas and have a restaurant as well as cheap rooms. There is also a small casino there. I’ve heard there is a self serve gas station some where in Garrison but I couldn’t find it.
Phone Signal: I read several reports online that there was no phone signal in the area. Some areas were spotty but I was able to send and receive multiple pictures while on the lake.
National Park: The Great Basin National Park lies to the west just across the Nevada border. It is the least visited national park in the United States, do to it’s remote location. If you have some extra time go check out the Lehman Caves.
Nearby Areas to Fish
Lake Creek a tributary to Pruess Lake can have good fishing but most of it is on private land. Survey’s have shown Redside Shiner, Mottled Sculpin, and Speckled Dace on the Dearden Property of Lake Creek.
Mormon Gap Reservoir has no fish but is great for 4 wheeler’s. Baker Creek in Nevada has a good population of Brown Trout.
Gandy Warm Springs 40 miles north near Gandy are home to a managed Least Chub population. The hot springs and water fall are a popular swimming destination and the caves are stunningly beautiful.
Sevier Lake is a 60 mile drive to the west. You can reach Minnersville Reservoir by heading 90 miles south on the same road as Pruess. If you head West to Delta you can fish the Sevier River, Gunnison Bend Reservoir, and DMAD Reservoir.
Clear Lake Waterfowl management area west of Delta is home to several types of fish.