The word is out. People travel to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area from around the globe to fish for record-breaking trout and kokanee salmon. When they arrive, diverse and colorful landscapes greet them — and then stick around for the entirety of Flaming Gorge Reservoir’s 91-mile length.
The Flaming Gorge dam was completed in 1963, and in the decades since the reservoir has developed a storied history of wildlife management paired with record-setting catches. Flaming Gorge’s name was actually inspired by John Wesley Powell’s Green River expedition of 1869. As his crew drifted into the north slope of the Uinta Mountains, rays of sunlight reflected radiantly off the red and orange hues layered within the canyon walls making them look like they were on fire. Today you can witness the same photo-worthy shale buttes, sandstone cliffs and quartzite canyons that tower above the reservoir’s cobalt waters and that gave the area its name.
Flaming Gorge Stories
About the Fish
Key Species: Lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and channel catfish.
Rainbow trout provide the bulk of the harvest. Kokanee salmon are typically second in harvest and popularity with anglers. TThe trophy lake trout or Mackinaw are the most sought after and most difficult to catch at Flaming Gorge. Regardless, lunkers over 30 pounds are still regularly caught.
Adjacent to the 500-foot-tall Flaming Gorge Dam sits an ADA-accessible fishing pier. You can take in the views from atop the dam, then drop a line from the pier. Moose Pond is a small reservoir found along Scenic Highway 44 that is annually stocked with rainbow trout. Surrounded by mature lodge-pole pines, Moose Pond is easily accessed and if visited near sunset affords ample opportunity to view deer, moose and other wildlife foraging near its shores. Hanging above the gorge, the Greens Lakes at Red Canyon Lodge offer great catch-and-release fishing for rainbow and brook trout. Little Hole on the Green River (learn more about this fishing destination) is also a must-visit, whether you’re fly-fishing or spin fishing. Located in the steep and scenic canyon below the Flaming Gorge Dam there is easy access to miles of trout-filled water where the average fish caught is over 15 inches. Buckboard, Lucerne and Cedar Springs Marinas all offer great shore-side fishing as well.
From house boats, speedboats, pontoons, fishing boats, canoes, kayaks and even stand-up paddleboards, angling on the lake is by far the most productive and fun way to fish Flaming Gorge.
Trolling and jigging from a boat are the most prolific forms of fishing on the lake. Long lining with lead, steel or monofilament using divers or down riggers as well as vertical jigging will help hook fish at depth. Bait fishing with night crawlers or power bait can also be productive. And, yes, the basic cast and retrieve method works well too.
Flaming Gorge is on the border of Utah and Wyoming. To fish across state lines at Flaming Gorge, you must have a valid fishing license from one state and a reciprocal fishing permit from the other state. For example, if you buy a Utah resident or nonresident fishing license, you can fish the Utah portion of Flaming Gorge.
For the latest regulations, consult the Utah Fishing Guidebook
Visitors to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area are required to obtain a “Use Pass.” Passes can be obtained at the visitor centers and are also usually available at kiosks at the launches.
Flaming Gorge information:
- More about the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
- Flaming Gorge fishing itinerary
- Logistics and information (weather, when to visit, groceries and supplies)
- Marinas and boat ramps
Visitor centers are located at the dam and at Red Canyon.
The area is 45 miles from Vernal, a great fishing basecamp.
Additional nearby fishing destinations:
- West Fork Duchesne
- Currant Creek Reservoir
- Starvation State Park
- Green River (right below the Flaming Gorge dam)
- Strawberry State Park
Learn more about fishing in Utah:
Check out favorite spots for local anglers across the state — all off-the-beaten-path, all full of fish.
World-Class and Trophy Destinations
In Utah, these fishing holes are the places visitors from around the world come to experience.