Breadcrumbs

August is a prime time to venture into the high country of the Uintas for a fishing or backpacking trip. The high trails are often inaccessible until well into July, and snow sometimes closes passes by Labor Day.

There are numerous access points from both the north and south side of the Uinta range. As a general rule, all major rivers have an accessible road at least for part of their length. Many lakes and streams are accessible by car or four-wheel drive but most of the high elevation lakes require some hiking.

"Those interested in packing into the Uintas should prepared for anything. The Uintas are known for their sudden changes in weather. It can snow any day of the year and sudden hail and/or thunderstorms are a weekly occurrence. Always carry good rain gear, extra layers or warm clothing and high energy foods such as candy or fruit, even if it is a warm day and you'll only be gone for a couple of hours. The temperature can drop 20 to 30 degrees in a matter of minutes, so be prepared for hypothermia.

Backcountry campers should plan to boil drinking water to prevent giardia infection (a parasite). Filters and water purifiers work well on living giardia but don't always catch the spores. Insect repellant, suntan lotion and lip balm are also recommended.

The Uinta range is unique and its habitat fragile. All high elevation forest and alpine habitats can be damaged easily, so please don't abuse the land. Letting a horse overgraze an area or even riding a mountain bike across an alpine meadow could leave scars that won't heal for 50 years or more. Remember, take only memories and leave only footprints.

With Kings Peak, Utah's tallest point, standing 13,528 feet, and several other peaks over 13,000 feet, the Uinta range is the highest in Utah. It is also the only range that runs east-west in the contiguous United States.

Glacial streams, alpine basins, steep talus slopes, grassy, wet meadows and extensive stands of lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine and aspen provide varied habitats for wildlife. Four of Utah's largest rivers, the Duchesne, Provo, Weber and Bear originate in its snowcapped peaks. The Uinta Mountains also contain over 1,000 lakes. More than 650 of these lakes support populations of fish.

Almost all of the game fish found in the Uintas today have been introduced. Rainbow, golden, brook and cutthroat trout, as well as arctic grayling, have been introduced by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. These introductions, aerial fish stocking programs and other management activities have greatly increased the fishing opportunities available.

Until the mid 1950s, fish had to be packed in by horseback and only a few lakes could be stocked per year. In 1955, the DWR began an aerial stocking system. Today, planes fly in low over the lakes and drop the fish. This aerial program has allowed managers more flexibility to manage and stock more lakes.

To encourage optimum fish growth, fisheries managers stock on a rotating basis depending on the location and fishing pressure on the lake. Easily accessible lakes which receive heavy fishing pressure are stocked on a one-to-two year basis. Inaccessible lakes which receive light pressure might be stocked only once every five years.

Mountain trout fishing is always unpredictable. One moment the fish will hit almost anything and the next, they won't take anything. Fortunately, in the Uintas, if one lake is not producing, a short hike will bring the angler to another nearby lake or stream.

The DWR has complied a set of seven booklets covering the High Uinta lakes with good populations of fish. The booklets are organized by drainages and include information on the fisheries, how to reach the lakes, sizes, elevations, depths, description of the areas and available camping sites. The booklets are available at all DWR offices.