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Utah’s rivers and reservoirs offer some of the best fishing in the West. Plenty of different waters and quality trout make it a popular destination for anglers seeking not only some great fishing, but some beautiful landscapes and an excellent adventure.
Fishing in Utah only requires a general fishing license, which is inexpensive and available at any number of approved vendors across the state. Licenses for a nonresident of the state are sold for 3 day, 7 day, and year-long lengths and range anywhere from $20 for a 3 day pass to $75 for year-long pass.
Many anglers travel every year to Utah to chase after trophy-sized fish, and for good reason. From crystal clear lakes to gorgeous flowing rivers, Utah is home to some of the most pristine trout waters in the country. Here are five locations you will not want to miss if fishing in this amazing state.
1. Logan River, Logan
The Logan River is often overlooked by visitors to Utah, especially fishermen. It is close to Bear Lake, which is well known for its cutthroat trout fishery. This river is the only major free-flowing river in the state and has zero dams that impede its headwaters.
Here you will find brown and rainbow trout in the lower stretches, as well as mountain whitefish. While not many anglers care for these whitefish, they are a great indicator of a healthy stream or river system.
The higher up on the river you go, you will encounter fewer browns and rainbows but catch more and more cutthroat trout. Certain sections are closed to protect these spawning cutthroat, so make sure you read up on Utah’s fishing guidebook before going.
The Logan River is just east of the town of Logan, a nice little town near the Utah and Idaho border. It is easily accessible and plenty of signs will navigate you to the river. This river is one you will want to fish as the fish densities are some of the best in the state.
2. Green River, Flaming Gorge
No Utah fishing trip is complete without mention of the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam. This is one of the most popular and legendary trout fisheries in the country. The crystal-clear waters of the Green are famous for their early spring and late fall insect hatches and the giant fish that feast on them.
In the Green River, you will primarily catch big brown and rainbow trout, although in some sections cutthroat trout will occasionally show up. These waters are famous for its giant browns and rainbows, many growing to record-breaking sizes.
This river is located near in the northeastern portion of the state and works its way south across Utah. It has multiple sections that offer easy access, as well as many areas that are more remote for adventure-seeking anglers.
One of the most popular sections is the A section, that runs from the Flaming Gorge Dam 7 miles down to its first takeout, named Little Hole. This area is perfect for wade fishing and fly fishing. This section of the river is well known for being high on most fly fisherman’s bucket lists.
The Green River is one of Utah’s biggest waters, and it shows in both the size of its fish and the bug hatches. The crystal clear water can make fishing a bit challenging, but the fish are big, healthy, and always hungry.
3. Strawberry Reservoir, Salt Lake City
Strawberry Reservoir is one of the premier fly fishing lakes in the United States. It is located about one hour from Salt Lake City by car along scenic Highway 40, and the drive alone is worth the trip out to this lake.
Strawberry Reservoir is primarily a cutthroat trout fishery, but it also holds good numbers of rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon. The trout in Strawberry Reservoir grow quickly and can be quite large, often reaching between six and 10 pounds, with the average fish coming in around 16 to 20 inches and two to four pounds.
Strawberry is best fished from a boat, pontoon boat, or float tube with a sinking line and streamers, leeches, and nymphs. Afternoon winds can be strong, so it is best to get there early and be cautious when fishing from a boat or float tube.
4. Bear River, Brigham City
The Bear is a classic high country Rocky Mountain river, including some giant trout if you are patient enough to look for them. It winds its way from the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains, south into Wyoming, Idaho, then back into Utah where it ends at the Great Salt Lake.
In this river you will find a variety of fish, including brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. The lower reaches are primarily dominated by browns and rainbows, with the occasional giant cutthroat trout. In the upper reaches you will find they are full of brook trout.
It is important to not let the abundance of small fish in this river discourage you, these small fish provide food for giant trout. A patient angler targeting trophy fish will be well rewarded in this river.
The Bear is a giant river, and at 350 miles long it is the longest river in North America that doesn’t end up reaching an ocean. That can be a little intimidating, but most of the river is accessible and provides great fishing for anybody.
The Bear River gets its spot on this list thanks to its location and high country fishing. With its abundant trout and large areas to fish, it only makes sense to give this river a try if you are ever in this section of Utah.
5. Middle Provo River, Heber
The Provo River is one of Utah’s most well-known and most fished rivers. The Lower Provo is popular with rafters and tourists, and its location by Utah county makes it a little crowded. The Middle Provo, however, gives you much more room to fish.
Located between Jordanelle and Deer Creek Reservoirs, the Middle Provo River is great for bug hatches and hosts a healthy population of fish. Here you will find brown and rainbow trout, with browns being the dominant fish and the most popular. You can find some larger fish, but you will have to work hard to find them. This river is more known for catching tons of fish in one trip, rather than catching trophy sizes.
Access to the Middle Provo is very easy. You can head either north or south from the town of Heber and have access to pretty much all of the river. Plenty of public access points are marked, and it is very easy to find your own little private stretch of the river to fish on.
When Does Trout Season Start in Utah
While each specific body of water in Utah may or may not have a certain set of rules, trout season is generally open year round. The most popular times of the year for anglers to pursue trout are in the spring and summer, as the fish are the most active and easily caught.
There are many places that have special seasons and size limits, so it is very important to make sure you carefully read and study the fishing regulations on the water that you want to fish before you plan a trip.
Fishing in Utah can give an angler an experience that is different from a lot of the other classic Western fishing spots. It is usually not near as crowded, the fish are large and hungry, and the vast length of the river systems provides an endless supply of water to explore. If you have ever thought about exploring a new state for fishing, Utah would be a great option!
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