From scenic streams to deep lakes, you’ll find it all in Utah.
We’ve put together our complete guide to fly fishing in Utah! From the best lakes in Utah for fishing to the license you’ll need, we’ve covered it all. Read on to find out and prepare for an amazing fly fishing experience in Utah!
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Utah’s Top Fly Fishing Destinations
Here’s our list of the top fly fishing destinations in Utah. From calm lakes to fast-flowing streams, you’ll find it all in the Beehive State!
1. Green River
Green River is, without a doubt, the most famous fishing destination in Utah. Starting in Wyoming, the Green River flows into the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and the best fishing spots can be found below the dam. The dam tailwaters make this a first-class fishery, with cool water and plenty of forage.
You can fish for trophy trout here, both rainbows and brown trout that grow to immense sizes in this excellent environment. Cutthroat trout can occasionally be found here, too. Fly fishing on the Green River is an incredible experience, with huge numbers of trout. It’s easy to spot where they are through the crystal-clear water, so you can get your flies right to them.
The Green River is not just a top fly fishing spot – it’s a beautiful, jaw-dropping location. The river flows through a deep canyon with red stone walls; fishing here is an experience like no other.
We recommend fishing from a boat on the Green River, as you can only access the river from 3 spots – the dam, Browns Park, and Little Hole. Hatches take place all year – some of the best flies to pack are BWOs, midge flies, cicadas, hoppers, and ants.
2. Strawberry Reservoir
If you prefer fishing on stillwater, get yourself to Strawberry Reservoir. It’s one of the top spots for fishing for trophy trout including cutthroat trout, as well as Kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass.
Another spectacular spot, the Strawberry Reservoir is located in a gorgeous mountain valley around 65 miles from Salt Lake City. This makes it an ideal location for a day trip if you’re staying in the city.
Wild trout are prolific, thanks to the perfect water conditions for feeding and spawning. Rainbows and salmon are also stocked to keep fish numbers high and consistent, for an excellent experience. You’re limited to 4 fish per day, but catch and release is strongly encouraged.
Head here during the spring or fall, if possible, when the water temperatures are cooler and the fish will happily rise up to eat your flies at the surface. If you visit during the summer, considering hiring one of the local guides to show you the coolest spots to catch some fish.
3. Fish Lake
This large, deep mountain lake offers superb angling opportunities, with yellow perch and rainbow trout in abundance. If you’ve got your sights set on catching a huge lake trout, this is where you need to be.
There are many great spots to fish from the shore or by wading, but you can only reach the best spots in a boat. If you don’t feel confident, talk to the local guides who will be able to show you where to go, and help you handle the boat while you fish. If you’re looking for a tranquil destination where you can stay for a few days, Fish Lake is perfect, with camping and lodges nearby.
You’ll have fantastic success drifting a streamer just below the surface at Fish Lake, but don’t forget your sinking line and your weighted flies. Those monster lake trout tend to be found deep down, so you need to get your fly down into the strike zone.
4. Weber River
A handy location for a day trip from Salt Lake City, Weber River is a designated Blue Ribbon Fishery for trout. Beginning up in the Uinta Mountains, the Weber winds its way down through valleys and towns. This river tends to be quieter than some of the other big waterways, making it easier to find a calm place to set up for the day.
You’ll find healthy-sized trout all along the Weber River, with many measuring 16-18 inches. Cutthroat trout and rainbow trout live higher up in the cool mountain streams, while brown trout can be found further down the river. It’s easy to wade in many places here, as the river doesn’t get too deep – but there are some great pools where the fish lurk.
Avoid the Weber River during the winter, as the conditions aren’t ideal. Instead, visit during the spring or summer, and make sure you keep to public land only. Check the access spots in advance, so you don’t stray onto private property.
5. Provo River
Provo River is another location that’s handy from Salt Lake City, as you can get to Provo in just a half-hour drive. The Provo is divided into three distinct streams: the Upper section, Middle section, and Lower section, each with its own unique character and appeal.
On the Middle section, you’ll find only brown trout. But they’re in good numbers and grow to a healthy size of 18+ inches, making it worth the trip.
If you’re after scenic views and more variety, head to the Lower section streams instead. Here, you’ll find lots of brown and rainbow trout, but access can be more tricky. You can get public access to the streams at Nunns View Area Parking and the Canyon Glen Park.
The most productive flies on the Provo River include sowbug and scud nymphs drifted along the bottom. You can also fish a Wooly Bugger streamer or a BWO dry fly with a lot of success.
Utah State Fishing License
If you want to fly fish in Utah, you are required by the Utah Department of Natural Resources to buy a fishing license. With both resident and non-resident licenses available for varying lengths of time, you can choose the license that meets your needs.
If you’re a resident aged 18 or over, you’ll pay $34 for the annual fishing license. Seniors pay $25, while young people aged 12-13 pay just $5. If you’re between 14-17, expect to pay $16 for a one-year fishing license. For kids younger than 12 years old, you don’t need to buy them a license, but you will need an adult license if you’re helping them (even if you’re not fishing yourself!)
The annual non-resident license costs $75, more expensive than in many other states, so factor this into your budget! You can buy online here or in many stores across Utah.
Utah Fishing Regulations
Make sure you’re aware of all the relevant fishing regulations before you hit the water. From bag limits to catch-and-release only restrictions and how many rods you can fish with, you’ll need to find out which regulations are in place for your fishing destination.
There are also specific rules in place in certain locations, so make sure you’re up to date on the latest info. Here’s where to find all the information on fishing regulations in Utah.
Utah Fishing Reports
It’s essential to stay up to date on the latest conditions on the water before you head out for fishing. Not only will you stay safer, as you’ll know about any flash floods, high water levels, etc.
But you can also have an improved experience by packing the right gear and flies, so you can catch even more fish. Check out the most recent fishing reports for Utah here.
Best Flies for Utah
If you’re wondering which are the best flies to fly fish Utah, here’s what you should stock your tackle box with! You can use a range of dry fly patterns, nymphs, and streamers effectively, but here are the most productive flies. Tie one of these on, and you’re almost guaranteed a catch!
Streamers are some of the best fly patterns to use on Utah streams and lakes, particularly during the winter months. You’ll draw the sluggish brown and rainbow trout out of their hiding places. Our top recommended streamer patterns include the Muddler Minnow and the Kiwi Muddler.
If you’re wondering what’s the biggest rainbow trout ever recorded, see our World Record Rainbow Trout here.
When it comes to nymphs, go for caddisfly, mayfly, and stonefly patterns. Stay as close to the natural forage in size and form as possible, and if you see a hatch taking place, match it! Must-have nymph flies are the Pheasant’s Tail, Hare’s Ear, the Black Stonefly Nymph, and the Green Caddis Nymph.
Don’t feel like you have to take every single dry fly, streamer, and nymph that you own out with you. Just a few carefully selected patterns will serve you well on the fishing lakes in Utah!
Utah Fly Fishing FAQ
If you need answers to all your Utah fly fishing questions, here’s where you’ll find the answers!
Where can I fly fish in Utah?
Utah is full of excellent fly fishing spots. You can fly fish in Utah on the Green River, Fish Lake, Logan River, and the Strawberry Reservoir, among other top locations.
What are the best flies to use in Utah?
Streamers work wonders when fly fishing in Utah, especially during the winter months. From late spring and through the summer, dry flies are effective. Try to match the hatch, if you can (check a local hatch chart first).
The best flies include hoppers in size 10 – 14, Elk Hair Caddis in size 14-18, mayfly and caddisfly nymph imitators, and the Muddler Minnow or the Kiwi Muddler in any size from 2-8.
Where can I catch big trout in Utah?
Some of the best places to catch big trout in Utah are Fish Lake, Navajo Lake, and Bear Lake.
What is the fishing limit in Utah?
The daily fish limit varies according to fish species in Utah. For example, you can catch up to 4 Kokanee salmon per day, but you’re prohibited from catching them between the months of September – November.
As for channel catfish, the fishing limit is 8 per day per angler, while you are allowed up to 50 bluegill, crappies, and green sunfish. For some fish, including striped bass and crayfish, there are no limits in place.
The Wrap Up
Utah offers some fantastic fly fish streams, lakes, and rivers throughout the state. If you’re looking to hook some cutthroat trout, rainbows, brown trout, or even some salmon and bass, you won’t be disappointed. What’s more, you’ll be surrounded by the diverse and stunning countryside of Utah, from the mountains and forests to the open fields and secluded valleys.
Whether you hire guides or go it alone, you’ll have an incredible time casting out some streamers or dry fly patterns on Utah’s streams. With cold water and a thriving aquatic ecosystem, the fish have everything they need to grow to immense sizes. What more could you wish for?!
So now you know where to go fish in Utah, plus all about the local licenses, rules, and regulations are, you’re all set. You just need to grab your gear and head out to your chosen spot! Don’t miss our other guides for fly fishers, and if you found this article helpful, why not share it on Facebook? Happy fishing!