Cool streams descend from rugged snowcapped mountains, feeding shimmering lakes or pausing in reservoirs where trout reach trophy proportions. 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.
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 (Read: Alpine Fishing Above the Red Rock Landscapes of Southern Utah) is far out of sight and further out of mind.
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 (read the fishing guide) should be in your top three “must fish” locations. While in the neighborhood, you may want to check out Flaming Gorge Reservoir, perhaps the most scenic trophy trout destination in the world. (Read: Anglers Delight itinerary, a 5-day exploration)
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.
Top Still Waters
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.
Bonus: Lake Powell
Lake Powell is a world-class destination for fishing, whether it’s sport fishing or the zen-like fly fishing. The waters are clear and the fish abundant. While on Lake Powell, you can try to hook a number of varieties of fish, including smallmouth bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie, walleye, channel catfish, bullhead catfish, and northern pike.