Thanks to Mikey from Mend Fly Fishing for contributing to this article.
There’s no trout about it. Utah’s rivers and reservoirs offer some of the best fishing in the West.
Magicians never give up their secrets and fishermen never share their favorite fishing holes.
Then again, you can't keep a whole river secret. How about we put you in the neighborhood and you find your perfect spot, only to be shared with your favorite child?
Here are 6 great bodies of water for Utah fishers -- both spinning and fly fishing. New to standing in cold water and flinging an expensive stick around? Watch instructional video A River Runs Through It, or hire a fly-fishing guide. And if you're gonna travel to cast your line somewhere new, we'll help you find a place to stay.
Fifteen minutes from downtown sits a premier blue-ribbon trout fishery. Cut into three distinct sections by Jordanelle and Deer Creek Reservoirs, the middle and lower Provo River host thousands of browns and rainbows, many over 18”.
Seasonal tip: Trout are active in the mornings. Try size 18 to 22 flies.
Set off by steep-walled canyons, this world-renowned fly fishing stream's emerald waters support a large population of trout -- rainbows by the dam, browns downstream. Fly tackle is most commonly used but spinners and Rapalas are also effective. The rugged terrain allows access in just three places: just below the dam, at Little Hole and at Browns Park. Fly fish the Green River from one of those or float downstream and find a spot all your own. Closed to bait fishing.
Seasonal tip: Both dry flies and top/bottom combinations are catching browns and rainbows.
Known as Utah's premier trout fishery, Strawberry Reservoir sits at 7,602 ft. in the Uinta National Forest. Fish grow fast in the clear waters and its tributary stream offers good spawning habitat. Plenty of 24-inch Rainbows and cutthroats -- the largest cutthroat ever caught in Utah was taken here in 1930 (27 lbs!). Once again, fishing from a boat or float tube will get you farther than fishing from shore.
Seasonal tip: Land some cutthroats in October with rapalas, flatfish, Strawberry wobblers or other fish imitations.
Fish the fish in Fish Lake on Fish Lake Hightop Plateau. It’s full of perch and trout (rainbows and huge lake trout) and you get to chase down your limit from a beautiful mountain setting. Boaters get more action than shorers.
Seasonal tip: Catch rainbows with popgear.
The Logan River has a little something for everybody. Three impoundments at the mouth of Logan Canyon are stocked with rainbow and brown trout for bait fishing or fly fishing. The rest of the freestone river is blue-ribbon till Idaho. Find an accessible hole along the thirty miles of Highway 89 to find some small, yet mighty, brook trout or cutthroats. Limits and restrictions exist on some upper sections of the river.
Try an Elk Hair Caddis Fly during the summer.
Because the reservoir is in a small valley ringed by mountains, wind is minimal and water is glassy. Offering a unique blend of sport fish, including trophy-sized tiger muskie, Pineview also holds good numbers of crappie, perch, bullhead catfish and bass with mouths large or small.
Seasonal tip: Fall is the best time to fish Pineview as the cooling temperatures thin out the water-skiers.
Oh, right… The other kind of “rules.” Nothing will harsh your fishing mellow faster than getting dinged for catching a protected fish, so do your homework to learn the size, species and number limits as well as general fishing policies. There are lots of rules but they're all aimed at sustaining local populations. Because it's no fun fishing an empty river. For more info on tips, tricks, guides and regulations, talk to a local fly/fishing outfitter.