Fishing in Utah
Cool streams descend from rugged snowcapped mountains, feeding shimmering lakes or pausing in reservoirs where trout reach trophy proportions. Utah is a land known for sandstone icons and The Greatest Snow on Earth, yet throughout the year anglers gear up in pursuit of experiences on waters that measure up to their passion. In fact, Utah has more than 1,000 fishable lakes and numerous fishing streams.
The fishing in Utah is varied enough to suit anyone’s desires. While there’s Blue-Ribbon fishing in the canyons of the Wasatch Front within minutes of the city — including the Ogden, Weber and Provo rivers — there’s also destination fishing in wild places where the bustle of the city is far out of sight and further out of mind. You’ll find stunning streams near red rock landscapes and crystal-clear tailwaters teaming with fish. Species range from the popular rainbow and native cutthroat trout to large mackinaw and brown trout, striped bass, walleye, bluegill, whitefish, the Bonneville cisco and more.
Discover nine of Utah’s top fly-fishing spots (six rivers and three flatwaters) and some of the best complete destinations for fishing in Utah. Explore them individually or see our Anglers Delight itinerary, a 5-day exploration of one of the finest fishing regions in the West: the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and Green River. Read on or buy a Utah fishing license and you’ll be catching fish in no time!
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1. Green River
2. Provo River
3. Weber River
5. Logan River
“The Green” is a gem. Literally. Its waters sparkle with the colors of a polished emerald, its red rock canyon walls glow like rubies in the sunlight. And the river’s resident trout lure trophy hunters from around the globe. If you are keeping a fly-fishing bucket list, the Utah section of the Green River should be in your top three “must fish” locations.
2. Provo River | Heber-Midway-Provo Canyon
The famous Provo River is one of the country’s top tailwater fisheries. Just an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport and a mere 15 to 25 minutes from Park City, the Middle and Lower sections of this Blue Ribbon stream offer 15+ miles of fisherman access, prolific hatches, stunning views of Mount Timpanogos, and rich populations of trout. Both the Middle and Lower Provo maintain healthy stream-flow year round, enabling consistent dry fly, nymph, and streamer fishing opportunities for both brown and rainbow trout.
3. Weber River | Wanship-Echo-Morgan
Just a short 20 minutes northeast of Park City lies another of Northern Utah’s famous Blue Ribbon fisheries — the Weber River. The Weber humbly rises out of various lakes in the northeastern Uinta Mountains. Cool, clear water begins its descent into the “Thousand Peaks Ranch,” one of the first fly-friendly sections of the river’s 125-mile trek toward the Great Salt Lake.
4. Currant Creek | Uinta Basin
An hour beyond Heber Valley lies a treasure trove of more remote opportunities for fly-fishing in Utah’s Uinta Basin. Currant Creek, a tributary of the Strawberry River, is off the beaten path for many anglers, offering intimate and solitary fly-fishing during the spring, summer and fall. No wider than a lane of traffic in many places, Currant Creek carves its way through silty, desert soil giving life to wildflowers, cottonwoods, moose and elk.
5. Logan River | Logan Canyon
When we think of western freestones, cascading pocket water, quick riffles, eddy and seam lines and the sound of rushing water comes to mind. The stream is audible far before it comes into sight. The Logan River is an amalgam of all these attributes. Vast swaths of fisherman access, inordinate insect hatches, suitable water temperature and a fantastic fly-fishing ambiance for brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout make this northern Utah stream worth exploring.
6. Fremont River | Fishlake National Forest
Fish Lake Plateau rises a few miles north of the hoodoos, pinnacles, and arches of Capitol Reef National Park. Nested within the high desert uplift are a few stillwaters that give life to the desert valleys below — this is where the Fremont River’s story begins.
Although all the still waters on this list are family friendly, Strawberry Reservoir truly has something for everyone. Let’s start by keeping that pesky, diehard fly-fisher person occupied. Locals call it “Strawberry,” and it is the lifeblood of many highly productive Uinta Basin streams. Bustling populations of rainbow, cutthroat and land-locked kokanee salmon patrol the deeps and cruise the banks, feeding on crawfish, large scuds, damsel flies, leeches and a variety of still water mayflies.
8. Uinta Mountain Lakes | Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and High Uintas Wilderness
Backpackers, day hikers, R.V. folk and casual campers can all experience the Uinta Mountains in their own way. Trekking through daisy-chained lakes within the backcountry drainages like Rock Creek and Swift Creek you’ll find plenty of fly-fish friendly options in a relatively small area. In contrast, camping and hiking along the roadside lakes like Trial Lake and Lost Lake (off Mirror Lake Highway) allow easy access for short stays and family get-togethers. You’ll find lakes holding a variety of fish species (brook, cutthroat, tiger, grayling, rainbow, and brown) from an elevation 7,000 feet to just over 13,000 feet above sea level.
9. Pineview Reservoir | Ogden Valley
The Ogden Valley is a year-round recreation utopia. At the heart of the basin lies a phenomenal record-breaking, warm-water fishery — Pineview Reservoir. This stillwater was, until recently, home to the world record catch and release tiger musky, topping out at 53 inches and over 40 pounds. Every year, generally from May until July, when water temperatures are ideal, toothy-critter aficionados make their pilgrimage to Pineview to patrol the banks in search of this prehistoric game fish.
This sophisticated and adventurous mountain town less than 45 minutes from Salt Lake City tops our list of of destinations for fly-fishing in Utah. Park City is a crossroads for a majority of the state’s Blue Ribbon streams and a gateway to the Uinta Mountains. Only a hop, skip and jump in either direction to both the Provo and the Weber, and a little less than half-way to many Uinta Basin streams and still waters, Park City is where you can lay down roots during your stay in Utah.
By no means is Park City a sleepy alpine village. Its historic Main Street boasts four-star restaurants, live music, shopping, and a multitude of bars and pubs. Step away from the center of town and you’ll find internationally recognized lodging, quiet hotels, motels and inns to get a good night’s sleep for the following day’s fly fishing adventure.
Recently incorporated, the town of Dutch John has begun to come into its own. “DJ” draws anglers, rafters and adventurers from around the globe to explore Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River. Fly-fishing guide culture is obvious upon your arrival, with boat trailers being hauled back and forth from one ramp to another. Outfitters host thousands of guided float trips down the A, B and C sections of the Green each year making Dutch John, the only town in the area, a destination in and of itself. Flaming Gorge Reservoir has multiple ways to fish and multiple species to pursue.
DJ is small with limited lodging availability and general services. Plan on stocking up on food and supplies in Evanston, Rock Springs or Vernal before jumping over the pass. If you are planning a trip to fish the mighty Green and want a roof over your head be sure to book a few months ahead of time. If you plan on camping, campgrounds like Dripping Springs and the Firemen's Memorial are good options within a 15-minute drive to the river.
BOULDER AND TORREY (S.R. 12)
These two small desert towns straddle some of the most spectacular red rock in the country. On the northern end of Highway 12, Torrey offers spectacular views of Boulder Mountain, access to the Fremont River and Fish Lake, and the entrance to one of the less well-known yet gorgeous national parks in Utah, Capitol Reef.
Boulder is sandwiched between the Aquarius Plateau and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. From your float tube you can sink a wooly bugger for monster brook trout on Blind Lake outside of Torrey or explore some of the Escalante River tributaries like Boulder Creek, just a few minutes outside of town. Bring the whole family and drive the famous Hell’s Backbone Road for a real-life geology lesson.
At the summit of Ogden Canyon lies a cluster of three small towns that comprise the “Ogden Valley.” The towns of Hunstville, Eden and Liberty line the banks of the aforementioned warm water musky and bass fishery, Pineview Reservoir with both its inlet, the South Fork of the Ogden River and its outlet, the Ogden River offering options for fantastic trout fishing.
The Ogden Valley is a year-round outdoor playground. Two world class ski resorts offer both amazing winter and summer recreation opportunities with a multitude of trails for mountain biking, hiking and shredding. Great lodging opportunities are available as the valley grows with several small restaurants popping up here and there. Refuel your fishing tank with a stroll over to the Shooting Star Saloon for their world famous knockwurst topped Star Burger. Extend the stay with metropolitan amenities of nearby Ogden, also home to a beautiful stretch of Blue Ribbon fishing in an urban environment: the restored Ogden River Parkway, only a few minutes' stroll from downtown.
Check the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Fishing Proclamation Guides for regulations. Guides are available online and at Wildlife Resources offices, many local stores and visitor information outlets.
Buy a Utah Fishing License
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Fishing information adapted for Visit Utah by Bloodknots/Asher Koles. Bloodknots captures a unique element of modern explorative culture. We strive to pursue a distinctive category of the outdoor experience. Content and services present themselves as up to date contemporary outlets for the modern day fly fisher, adventurer and weekend warrior in pursuit of the very best in outdoor media. Please visit Bloodknots.com for Utah fly-fishing information, journals, multimedia and guide services.