There are thousands of natural lakes, reservoirs and mountain streams throughout the mountainous areas of Utah. Many are stocked with trout and other fish in a well run state program. Noteworthy fishing destinations include Flaming Gorge and the Uinta Mountains in the north, and Lake Powell in the south.
Destinations to consider are grouped by region below. Select any destination that interests you for more detailed information.
The Provo River is one of America’s best rivers. It boasts stretches of 3,000 fish per mile and has extensive public access along the 25 miles of Blue Ribbon quality river. The Provo River supplies diverse hatches of mayflies, caddis, stoneflies and midges providing anglers with daily opportunities to cast a fly at actively feeding fish. Fisherman can catch fish on the Provo 363 days a year. Jordanelle Reservoir at the north end of the scenic Heber Valley is the first in a series of two dams on the Provo River. The water controlled by the variable release dam optimizes temperatures to grow trophy brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout year-round. This tailwater fishery has minimum flow requirements to maintain the high quality fishing experience, even during severe drought years. The Provo River has excellent access for anglers of all walks of life. There are access points within 30 feet of the rivers bank so that everyone has an opportunity to fish, or a three quarter mile walk-in for adventurous souls on Utah’s premier trout fishery. The Provo River is within 45 minutes of Salt Lake City, 15 minutes of Park City and 35 minutes of Provo.
Almost 30 miles of river for uncrowded Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing.
In the remote Northeast corner of Utah runs a river that needs no introduction. The Green River is known for its legendary hatches and exciting numbers of fish. This great stretch of river begins its journey at the Flaming Gorge Dam where its gin-clear water boasts high numbers of quality fish and amzaing pools, riffles and runs. Best fished from a drift boat, this river will provide you with memories to last a lifetime.
One of the Green River hatches to note is the Blue Winged Olive Hatch in the Spring. This hatch seems to bring all the fish to the surface, big and bigger. The BWO hatch is a real opportunity to catch a trophy fish on a small dry fly.
The BWO hatch is quickly followed up in May and June by the Cicadas. The Cicada, a burrowing insect that has varying yearly emergence, is similar in size to a cricket and can be heard “chirping” in the trees when the emergence is on. Although some years the emergence is stronger than others, there always seems to be enough to keep the fish very interested.
About the time that the Cicadas are gone, the summer is in full swing and ‘hoppers and other terrestrials are on the water. The Green is also home to midge, caddis and PMD hatches. The fall and winter can provide incredible streamer and bugger fishing and you can effectively fish nymphs year-round on the Green.
The Green River is approximately a 3 1/2 hour drive from Salt Lake City (and well worth it!).
The Weber River
The Weber River may be your only chance of finding true solitude close to the Greater Salt Lake Area. A moderate-sized river that is very similar to the Provo River in its water flows, the Weber has a strong population of large Brown Trout and hard fightin’ Whitefish.
Although the Weber is primarily a nymphing river, it does have a handful of hatches through out the year. Most notable of these hatches is a summer caddis that is prolific as any in the West, as well as blue-winged olives and winter midges.
The Strawberry River
The Strawberry River, sometimes referred to as a little bit of New Zealand in Utah’s, is a fine alternative to the Provo. Anglers can hunt for large browns in a small stream setting. The water if often quite clear and provides for great sight fishing challenges.
There are more fly fishing shops in the Cache Valley than anywhere else in Utah, according to fishing guide Steve Schmidt, author of Steve Schmidt’s Non Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing in Utah.
The reason? A rich selection of quality trout fishing waters. Wild brown and cutthroat trout, as well as stocked rainbows, are found here in good numbers.
“A medium-sized piece of water by western standards, the Blacksmith Fork is, nevertheless, a diverse and challenging fishery,” Schmidt explains.
“From a small, sub-alpine stream gaining volume as it cascades through the canyon to the quality freestone water of the lower river, it offers a variety of options for the fly fisher. There is even a small section with spring creek-like conditions above a small hydroelectric dam about halfway downstream.”
Unfortunately, Blacksmith Fork has a history of being dewatered. In recent years with higher flows it has not been dewatered but it has a long history of total water removal during the summer irrigation season. Water users have the rights to the water and in dry years the stream for a few miles is dried up and fish become trapped in isolated pools. If there isn’t any flow the water warms, oxygen is depleted and eventually the fish die.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Flaming Gorge Reservoir is one of the largest bodies of water in Utah. It is second only to Lake Powell in size and recreational popularity. It was built to impound spring floods in the Green River and store them for year-round use for Arizona, Nevada, and southern California.
This reservoir holds the state record for several species of trout. Available fish species include rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon, and smallmouth bass. The lower end of the reservoir is in Red Canyon and the Flaming Gorge itself, while the upper part spills over the Wyoming deserts. Flaming Gorge and Red Canyon are both several thousand feet deep and with brick-red walls. They were named by John Wesley Powell, the leader of the first intensive exploration of the Green/Colorado Rivers. The dam was built in Red Canyon, the second of five deep canyons the Green River has carved through the Uinta Mountains. A lake, rather than a river, now lies at the bottom of the gorge.
Damming rivers is easiest in narrow canyons. Dams have been proposed in Ladore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain Canyons, but the dam in Red Canyon is the only one that has ever been built. Construction was begun in 1958 and completed in 1964. The 502 foot high dam was built out of concrete in an arch shape. Land surrounding the reservoir is managed by the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Public access is unrestricted. Water is used for both culinary and irrigation purposes.
Bear Lake is an 150 square mile lake set attractively between low, lightly timbered mountains. Anglers go for cutthroat and rainbow trout, mackinaw, whitefish and in winter Bonneville cisco.
The Uinta Mountains
The Uinta Mountains, Utah’s tallest mountain range, are dotted with thousands of small lakes. Over 600 of them are stocked regularly (by airplane) with trout fingerlings. Some lakes are accessible by car, but your best opportunities will take some hiking.
Utah River Conditions
Logan River is a blue-ribbon trout stream – one of the best in the Intermountain Region
Are Ciscos a joy or a curse? These sardine size fish found only in Bear Lake haunt anglers with a curse of their own.
Bear Lake is truly a unique fishery because of the five endemic species that are present…
…a list of the best flies for Utah waters that would help my students…
covers early season hatches on well known rivers such as the Green
Fishing in Northern Utah from Utah.com
Utah Outdoors article providing basic information about fishing the wild Strawberry River.
Battling the elements — on principle
Western Rivers Flyfisher is a fly fishing retailer and outfitter located in Utah, providing guided fishing trips to the Green River, Provo River and other small streams.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources fishing info
In Utah just a handful of waters command the attention of most fly fishers.
Here’s a fact: Utah has some of the best trout fishing in the West…
Utah Hatch Charts
Utah fishing report from Utahoutdoors.com
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
from Western Rivers Flyfisher
Reports for the Provo, Green, L.C. Ranch and more
from Four Seasons Fly FIshers
from Western Rivers Flyfisher
from TroutBum2 – includes Provo, Weber, Green and other reports
Utah Fly Fishing Shops
Salt Lake City, Utah 84171, 801-733-6452
32 South Main Street, Heber City, Utah, 435-657-2010
4343 North Highway 224, Suite 101, Park City, Utah 435-658-1166
1071 East 900 South Salt Lake City, UT 84105, 801-521-6424