Fishing the Uinta Mountain Lakes
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.
The unique, east to west running Uinta range beckons you to travel a little farther, then farther still. You’ll find lakes holding a variety of fish species (brook, cutthroat, tiger, grayling, rainbow, and brown) from 7,000 feet to just over 13,000 feet above sea level, each with various selections of trout and char. Each lake will fish differently and will require the angler to crack the code. Things to consider when picking a lake to fly fish: does the lake have an inlet and outlet? How deep is the lake? What is the elevation? Do you see any bugs around? Do your homework by contacting a local fly shop or outfitter to make the most out of your time in the Uinta wilderness.
There are many ways to fish the high Uintas. For example, the Four Lake Basin — comprised of lakes Dean, Jean, Dale and Dane — offers varied fly-fishing in a modest area, and one lake or another may fish better, depending on pressure. Generally, if you go further from the trailhead, the less pressured the fishery. Dry flies, nymphs and small streamers will bring fish in for a closer look. Drive rookie trout insane with attractor and terrestrials patterns like ants, beetles, the purple haze, lime trude, orange asher, and renegade. Don't forget your scuds and wooly buggers for the peak summer months when direct sun drives fish towards the deeps.
It would take a lifetime to explore the Uinta range's 600+ lakes with fly rod in hand. Sounds like a great excuse to head for the hills.
See the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Uinta Mountains Fishing Report.
Fishing information adapted for Visit Utah by Bloodknots/Asher Koles. Please visit Bloodknots.com for Utah fly-fishing information, journals, multimedia and guide services.