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Fishing Duchesne River

Duchesne River   |  Jeremiah Watt
  • Weather: Sunny, 43F

The Duchesne River, a tributary of the Green River (Watch: The Green Less Traveled), drains the southwest slope of the Uinta Mountains, and has become a popular choice for local fisherman. The main river, the West Fork, and the North Fork combine for more than 80 miles of diverse fishing. There are limited access points to the rivers, and some require a bit of a hike, but the locals will tell you that it’s worth it.

The Duchesne’s origins on the south slope of the Uinta Mountains make it a popular destination for camping, hiking and ATV riding, so it’s only natural to bring along a rod for some fishing, too. Fishing is good here year round, but the best time to come is July through September. The area is driving distance to the community of Hanna or the town of Duchesne for supplies or amenities. 

Upper Portion, West Fork

The upper portion of the West Fork of the Duchesne River runs through the Ashley National Forest, and has a variety of wildlife and towering pine, spruce and fir trees. Further down, native cottonwood and willows grow along the river banks. The West Fork is home to an abundance of native Colorado River cutthroat trout and is also known for a population of wild brown trout. Look along the banks for terrestrial insects such as cicadas, ants and grasshoppers for clues as to which is the best to use.

Note that the majority of the Duchesne drainage is open to all kinds of fishing, but the West Fork regulations permit only artificial flies and lures. Spincast, spinning, baitcast or fly tackle are used here, which makes West Fork a great place for novice and more experienced anglers.

Lower Portion, North Fork

The lower section, Hanna to North Fork, runs from the town of Hanna up to the confluence of the West and North Forks of the Duchesne River, just off Highway 35. This area is more wide open, and is a great place to catch naturally reproducing mountain whitefish, as well as cutthroat, brown and rainbow trout. Like the West Fork, Hanna to North Fork is also popular with both novice and experienced anglers, and the best bait includes grasshoppers, crickets, salmon eggs, night crawlers, waxworms or mealworms. Live crayfish can be used as bait in areas where the crayfish is captured, and using live baitfish and tiger salamanders is prohibited.


The West Fork is approximately 14 miles northwest of the town of Hanna on State Road 35. Access on the West can be tricky due to private property, but the state has worked with landowners to grant access to the lower West Fork, while the upper stretches are accessed via U.S. National Forest Service lands.

The lower portions of the creek run along State Road 35, also known and the Wolf Creek Road. Only access the river from designated parking areas along Highway 35 and at the Sand Creek Bridge — do not cross private property.

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