In Utah just a handful of waters command the attention of most fly fishers. The Green, of course, and the Provo are classics which rank with the best anywhere in the U.S. And Strawberry Reservoir has become a Mecca for float tubers. Add a few others - the Logan, Blacksmith, Ogden, Weber and Strawberry rivers, Current and Huntington creeks and Minersville Reservoir - and you've accounted for most fly fishing trips in the state.
But if you restrict your fishing to those waters you miss many opportunities to catch a lot of fish, including big fish, in scenic settings. Some of our lesser-known waters offer good fishing in relative solitude.
Many of these waters are subject to special regulations. We've tried to mention special regs which pertain to fly fishing. Be sure to check the proclamation for complete information before you head to a water.
The nature of special regulations can provide valuable information about a water. Many of our better waters are restricted to fishing with artificial flies or lures only and subject to restrictive harvest limitations. The intent is to protect fish where pressure is heavy, to spread the harvest over a longer period of time, and to allow more fish to grow big.
When a water has size restrictions - for example, only one fish over 18 inches - the intent is either to protect fish which can reproduce successfully or to build a population of trophy-size fish. Some waters are closed each year during a spawning period. In those waters wild - naturally spawned - fish may compose a good percent of the population. Some fishers prefer to catch wild fish.
In general, the sections of stream subject to special regulations provide the best fishing.
Below we provide a rundown of good Utah fly waters. The waters are listed alphabetically - they are not ranked in any way.
ASHLEY CREEK (Uintah County): Good fly fishing for trout. Artificial flies and lures only, trout limit 2 fish, from Steinaker (Thornburg) diversion to the water treatment plant near the mouth of Ashley Gorge.
ASPEN-MIRROR LAKE (Kane County): A popular small lake in very scenic terrain. Closed January 1 through April 24. Trout limit 4. Fishing from a boat or a float tube is unlawful.
BARNEY LAKE (Piute County): Native cutthroats. Trout limit 2. Artificial flies & lures only.
BEAVER RIVER (Beaver County): Some big rainbows come into the stream from Minersville Reservoir. Closed January 1 through May 22 from the reservoir upstream to the bridge at Greenville. Often good for small browns below the reservoir.
BOULDER MOUNTAIN LAKES (Wayne and Garfield counties): Small, high mountain lakes in spectacular area. Trophy brookies in some lakes. Lots of small brookies and/or cutts in others. At most lakes the trout limit is 6, with only 2 trout over 13 inches. Check the proclamation.
CAUSEY RESERVOIR & TRIBUTARIES (Weber County): Good fly fishing in the reservoir near inlets. It's quite a hike or canoe ride to the inlets. Tributaries run through narrow, rugged canyons. They are small streams with fast fishing, offering mostly smaller fish.
CORN CREEK: Good for small, wild browns.
CURRANT CREEK (Wasatch County): Very good for browns. Trout limit 2 from Water Hollow Creek upstream to headwaters, including all tributaries to Currant Creek Reservoir, but not the reservoir itself. Artificial flies & lures only.
DEER CREEK RESERVOIR (Wasatch County): Spotty float tubing for rainbows. Good fly fishing for bass. Trout limit 4. Minimum bass size is 12 inches. Closed to the possession of yellow perch.
DEER VALLEY LAKES (Wasatch County): January 1 through September 30, catch & release only. October 1 through December 31, trout limit 2 under 16 inches. Artificial flies & lures only.
DIAMOND FORK CREEK & TRIBUTARIES (Utah County): Good fly fishing, particularly in the fall when water flows are down. From Springville Crossing to the headwaters, closed to the possession of cutthroat trout or trout with cutthroat markings. All other trout species limit 8. Artificial flies & lures only.
DUCK CREEK (Kane County): Popular small water on Cedar Mountain. Closed January 1 through April 24. Trout limit 4.
DUCK FORK RESERVOIR & TRIBUTARY (Sanpete County): Managed for larger trout. Artificial flies and lures only. Limit 8; all trout 12 to 20 inches must be immediately released. Only 1 trout over 20 inches. From Duck Fork Creek upstream to its headwaters closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July.
EAST CANYON CREEK (Morgan County): Good fly fishing. Lots of private land so get permission. From White’s Crossing, located approximately 2 miles upstream from Porterville, upstream to the East Canyon Reservoir Dam, closed January 1 through March 31, and November 1 through December 31.
EAST FORK LITTLE BEAR RIVER & TRIBUTARIES (Cache County): Good fly fishing for various trout. Artificials only from Porcupine Dam downstream to the Avon-Paradise County Road (second stream crossing below reservoir, with a trout and salmon limit of 2. Upstream from Porcupine Reservoir closed August 15 through September 30 to protect spawning kokanee.
EAST FORK SEVIER RIVER (Piute County): Good fly fishing through Black Canyon and Kingston Canyon. Kingston Canyon, including all portions of the river and spillway ponds below Otter Creek reservoir, trout limit 6.
EAST FORK SMITH’S FORK DRAINAGE (Summit County): Good fly fishing in a very pretty stream. From Stateline Reservoir to the bridge on USFS Road 072, at China Meadows, including the branch from China Lake Dam down to East Fork Smith’s Fork closed August 15 through September 30 to protect spawning kokanee.
ELECTRIC LAKE (Emery County): Used as a brood lake for cutthroats. Good fishing. Trout limit 4; all trout over 12 inches must be immediately released. Artificial flies & lures only on the reservoir and tributaries. Tributaries are small but offer some fishing opportunity. They are closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July, and have the same limit and restrictions as the lake.
FISH LAKE (Sevier County): Lots of opportunity here. Float tubers commonly take perch and rainbows. Splake and lake trout usually stay deep - down 40 feet or more, but in spring and fall they may range up near the surface. Check the proclamation for special regulations.
FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR (Daggett County): Very good fly fishing for smallmouth; good for rainbows. Some fly fishers use special equipment to go deep after kokanee and lake trout.
GREEN RIVER (Daggett County): Utah's classic fly stream. Well deserves its reputation. Artificial flies & lures only from Colorado state line in Brown’s Park upstream to Flaming Gorge Dam. Closed to fishing from a boat with a motor between the Utah-Colorado state line and Flaming Gorge Dam. Licensed anglers, trout limit is 3 (2 under 13 inches and 1 over 20 inches). Unlicensed anglers 13 years of age or younger, trout limit is 2 (2 under 13 inches or 1 under 13 inches and 1 over 20 inches).
HUNTINGTON CREEK (Emery County): One of our better fly streams. Right Fork (from Flood and Engineers canyons upstream to Electric Lake Dam): ARTIFICIAL FLIES ONLY. All trout 12 to 20 inches must be immediately released. Only 1 trout over 20 inches. Left Fork (from top of USFS Campground, near confluence with Right Fork, to headwaters, including all tributaries: Scad Valley Creek, Rolfson Creek, Lake Creek, Staker Creek, Millers Flat Creek, Paradise Creek and Spring Creek): Artificial flies & lures only. Closed to the possession of cutthroat trout or trout with cutthroat markings.
JONES HOLE CREEK (Uintah County): Trout limit 2. No more than 1 may be a brown trout larger than 15 inches. Artificial flies & lures only.
JORDANELLE RESERVOIR (Wasatch County): Good float tubing for trout, particularly up near the inlet. Good fly fishing for smallmouth. Trout limit 4. Minimum bass size is 12 inches.
KOLOB RESERVOIR (Washington County): Managed as a trophy water. Only 2 trout over 18 inches. All trout less than 18 inches must be immediately released. Artificial flies & lures only. Kolob Creek above the reservoir is closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July.
LAKE POWELL: Fly fishing can be very good for smallmouth, crappie and bluegill. During August and September striped bass feed on the surface and can be taken with a fly rod. The stripers present an opportunity to catch a big fish; most stripers in the lake run 2-4 pounders, but 5-8 pounders are caught regularly and there are stripers in Powell which are 30 pounds or bigger.
LOGAN RIVER (Cache County): Good fly fishing. Mostly cutthroat on the upper end, rainbows and browns down low. Regulations are complicated. See story in this issue. Check the proclamation for specific regulations.
LOST CREEK (Morgan County): Good fly fishing. Mostly private so get permission. Special regulations are in effect beginning at the bridge (culvert) approximately 1/4 mile above the reservoir and including all tributaries except Squaw Creek. Regulations above the reservoir allow artificial flies & lures only and catch and release only.
MANNING MEADOW RESERVOIR: Artificial flies & lures only, trout limit 2, for the reservoir, the spillway and all tributaries. Closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July.
MATT WARNER RESERVOIR (Uintah County). Good float tubing. Trout limit 4.
MINERSVILLE RESERVOIR (Beaver County): Good for larger rainbows. Best from a tube but many people fish from larger boats or from shore. Artificial flies & lures only. Trout limit 1 for all anglers, minimum size 20 inches. Cement outlet channel between dam and spillway pond, approximately 55 feet long, is closed.
OGDEN RIVER (Weber County): Often very good through the canyon below Pineview. (Closed from the dam downstream to the first bridge, about 1/2 mile.) Fair to good on the South Fork.
PANGUITCH LAKE (Garfield County): Consistently good for nice trout. Trout limit 6. Most tributaries are closed January 1 through the latter part of May. Check the proclamation.
PROVO RIVER: This stream offers an incredible number of large browns per mile. But they are "educated" fish and can be difficult to catch. Usually best fishing nymphs along the bottom. Regulations are complicated. See the proclamation for details.
SANTA CLARA RIVER (Washington County): Usually good fly fishing in a rugged canyon. From Baker Reservoir downstream to the confluence with the Virgin River the trout limit is 4.
SCOFIELD RESERVOIR & TRIBUTARIES (Carbon County): Good float tubing in the reservoir. Very good fly fishing in most tributaries. Lots of wild cutthroats, including some larger fish. Most tributaries are closed from January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July, and have a 4 trout limit.
SIXTH WATER CREEK (Utah County): Trout limit 3. (2 under 12 inches and 1 over 20 inches). Artificial flies & lures only.
STODDARD SLOUGH (ENTERPRISE DITCH) (Morgan County): Artificial flies & lures only. From Stoddard Lane Bridge upstream to its source: trout limit 4, closed January 1 through May 22. From Stoddard Lane Bridge downstream to where it goes west under I-84 the last time (approximately 1-1/2 miles east of Petersen): trout limit 2.
STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR (Wasatch County): One of the best float tubing waters in the country. Trout and kokanee salmon in any combination; limit 4, only 1 rainbow or cutthroat or rainbow-cutthroat hybrid over 18 inches. Anglers are encouraged to voluntarily release cutthroat and rainbow trout. The better tributaries are closed. Artificials only and catch and release only on others. See the proclamation for details.
STRAWBERRY RIVER (Duchesne and Wasatch counties): Good for wild trout from Soldier Creek dam downstream to the Pinnacles. Artificial flies & lures only. Most of that section is closed from January one through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July. Sometimes good for browns - including large fish - in the fall just above Starvation Reservoir. Usually good from Starvation downstream to the Duchesne River. See the proclamation for special regs.
UM CREEK (Sevier and Wayne counties upstream from Forsyth Reservoir): A very pretty little stream with generally good fishing. Closed to the possession of cutthroat trout or trout with cutthroat markings. Trout limit 4. Artificial flies & lures only.
UINTA MOUNTAINS: Most lakes and streams offer good fly fishing. Ants, beetles and mosquitoes are especially good. The streams receive little pressure and are often fast fishing for pan-sized fish. Usually not accessible or not fishable because of high water until July. Snow usually closes the high country in October.
WEST FORK DUCHESNE RIVER (Duchesne and Wasatch counties): Good fly fishing in a very pretty stream. From confluence with North Fork to headwaters, including Wolf Creek, closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July. Only 2 trout may be cutthroat trout or trout with cutthroat markings. Artificial flies & lures only.
WHITNEY RESERVOIR & TRIBUTARIES (Summit County): Often good for nice rainbows and brookies. Closed January 1 through 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of July.
WILLARD BAY RESERVOIR: Crappie, bass and now wipers offer good action for fly fishers. The wipers are generating considerable excitement because they feed on the surface where they are accessible. They hit aggressively and fight like tigers. Wipers are a hybrid crossing white bass with striped bass. The wiper limit is 2 fish.