Utah: Tips for Stream, River Fishing in Utah This Summer

Utah: Tips for Stream, River Fishing in Utah This Summer

SALT LAKE CITY — While there are a lot of great reservoirs and ponds where you can fish in Utah, the Beehive State also offers some excellent stream and river fishing. If you are planning any stream or river fishing this summer, here are a few things to know.

Where to go

When it comes to fishing opportunities, Utah offers everything from really small streams to larger rivers, and the experience will vary based on the size of the water. If you are interested in fishing smaller streams, a few notable options include:

  • Currant Creek (Juab and Utah counties)
  • The Right and Left Forks of Huntington Creek (Emery County)
  • The Right Fork of the Logan River (Cache County)
  • Mill Creek near Salt Lake City (Salt Lake County)

“Generally, anglers fishing in small streams should expect to fish around a lot of brush, and as a result, shorter fishing rods are recommended for this type of fishing,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. “Fishing in small streams is difficult, but anglers can be rewarded with high catch rates of fish, although they are typically small fish.”

If you want to fish a moderate-sized stream, here are a few good options:

  • The East Fork of the Sevier River (Piute and Sevier counties)
  • Duchesne River (Duchesne County)
  • Logan River (Cache County)
  • Blacksmith Fork River (Cache County)

Moderate-sized streams typically are large enough that there is room to cast. These waterbodies usually allow for anglers to wade in as well, allowing additional access to various spots in the river.

For fishing opportunities at larger rivers, anglers should check out the following:

  • Weber River (Weber County)
  • Provo River (Utah County)
  • Green River (Emery County)

“The Green River is especially notable because it is the best drift boat fishing opportunity in Utah,” Oplinger said. “Anglers should also keep in mind that large rivers can sometimes be difficult to wade in due to their size and faster flows, but they typically hold larger fish.”

Fishing tips

Many streams and rivers in Utah provide opportunities to catch various trout species, including cutthroat, brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout. Mountain whitefish can also be caught frequently in Utah’s streams and rivers.

“Many of these fish can be caught fly fishing, using a variety of flies,” Oplinger said. “Using nymphs can be an effective option because fish spend roughly 90% of their time feeding below the surface, which is where nymphs dwell. Dry flies and terrestrials are a lot of fun to use while fishing as well, and are often easier to fish with because you can see the fish actually taking the fly on the surface. However, they can be a more challenging option.”

Another effective method is to combine both options and use a “dropper” — use a dry fly on the surface as a strike indicator and also use a nymph under the surface.

“People typically associate streams with fly fishing,” Oplinger said. “But, with that said, anglers who prefer spinning equipment can also catch a lot of trout using spinners. You can also cast flies using a spinning rod if you use a bobber. Simply attach the fly with a section of leader below the bobber, and use the bobber as a strike indicator. Stream fishing is fun because it provides a unique game of strategy. To be successful as a stream angler, you have to be intimately aware of the habitat, what fish are eating, and how fish are behaving. You also have to focus on how you present your flies to the fish so you make it as natural as possible. This makes stream fishing both an exciting mental and physical challenge.”

Safety information

Due to the heavy snowpack from last winter, some of Utah’s streams and rivers are still running higher than normal for this time of year. Anglers should be very cautious if fishing a river or stream this year.

“Remember that water tends to be swifter than it looks,” Oplinger said. “Always use caution before attempting to wade in a stream when fishing. It’s a good idea to take another person along when you are fishing or enjoying other recreational activities around water. If you are unable to bring a friend with you, always tell someone where you are going fishing and when you plan to return home.”

Anglers can find more information on the DWR website about the great stream fishing opportunities that Utah has to offer. The Utah Cutthroat Slam website also provides additional information about stream fishing in the state.

“There are thousands of miles of publicly accessible streams in Utah, and you have the opportunity to catch not only a lot of fish, but also a diverse array of species in our streams,” Oplinger said. “Utah is truly one of the best stream fishing states in the country.”