The 5 Best Fish to Catch in Utah This Summer

tiger muskellunge
M Huston/

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: October 10, 2022

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Utah may be known for its Great Salt Lake, but you cannot count on that lake to house fish. After all, the lake’s salinity is too high for many species to thrive. However, that’s hardly the only body of water in Utah, and the state offers good fishing opportunities. We will discuss where you can find some of the best fish to catch in Utah this summer.

We’ll show you the game fish you should try to catch if you are looking to land the big one or just dip your little toe into the big world of fishing!

What Are the Best Fish to Catch in Utah?

The best fish to catch in Utah will vary for every person. That’s why we made a list of five different fish that have different qualities. We’ve included those that only weigh a few pounds, those that can measure several feet long, and those of different levels of rarity. This list has something for everyone! At least, that’s the hope. So, let’s check out the list and see which of the best fish we can find!

1. Tiger Trout

tiger trout


trouts feed in the upper portion of lakes and rivers in Utah.

The tiger trout is a hybrid of a female brown trout and a male brook trout. They’re common from the Midwest to the western parts of the U.S., and you can find them in Utah. They range in size from about 10 to 16 inches on average, and they weigh just a few pounds.

However, some large members of this species have been found in Utah. For example, an angler in 2013 caught a 19 pounds 2 oz tiger trout that measured 37.5 inches long! That’s quite a large fish.

You can catch these fish in rivers and lakes in Utah. Some of the best locations in Utah include Currant Creek Reservoir, Strawberry Creek Reservoir, and Navajo Lake.

Experts say that you should try fishing with smaller lures and flies. You can also catch them using worms and minnows. These fish tend to feed in the upper portion of the water column, so you don’t have to go very deep. They do prefer deeper, cooler water in the summer, though.

2. Striped Bass

Striped Bass

Striped bass are fun to catch, and they can grow big.

The striped bass has an interesting history in Utah. These fish typically thrive in saltwater, but it was discovered that they could live and spawn in freshwater. This species was introduced to the area in the 1970s after an artificial lake called Lake Powell was created.

Nowadays, stripers are not common throughout much of Utah, but they are found in Lake Powell and the Colorado River that feeds it. These are one of the best fish to catch in Utah because they are big, put up a great fight, and are a challenge to catch.

The largest one ever caught in the state weighed over 48 pounds and measured 45 inches. It was caught in Lake Powell, of course. Other fish live in the lake, but this is the best place to catch stripers.

These fish go into deeper water in the heat of the summer. However, you can still find them in somewhat shallow water early and late in the day. It’s best to troll in a boat using live bait like shad, nightcrawlers, or worms. Also, you can catch these fish from shore as well.  

3. Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

You can find channel catfish in the deep part of lakes.

Channel catfish make this list because they are sizeable fish that put up a good fight when you get them on the hook. The largest one ever caught in Utah was about 32 pounds 8 ounces and measured 39.75 inches in length.

Despite their name, you’ll find channel catfish in rivers and lakes alike. In Utah, you’ll find these fish in Utah Lake, Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Bear River, the Lower Green River, and others.

These fish enjoy going for bait that has a strong odor to it. That means you can add scents to your bait or simply use bait that is naturally fragrant like shrimp or chicken livers. You’ll most often find them about 20 feet deep in lakes, but they can range deeper, too. You may catch these fish from the shoreline or out on the water.

4. Bluegill

what do bluegills eat

The bluegill is perfect for new anglers.

Bluegill makes the list of the best fish to catch this summer because they are small, common, and perfect for new anglers. These panfish are not the largest fish to catch in the state. In fact, the largest one in the state was only 2 pounds 7 ounces and 11.5 inches long!

Typically, most people don’t catch them during the hottest summer months, but you can catch them in the early summer. They are found all over the state in many bodies of water. They live in Lake Powell, Utah Lake, Huntington North Reservoir, and many others.

The best thing about these fish is how simple they are to catch. You don’t need anything fancy. Just look for signs of their nests in shallow, rocky areas. Then, drop a small worm, nightcrawler, or even corn under a bobber into the water and watch as they nibble, and then take a big bite.

5. Tiger Muskellunge

tiger muskellunge

Catching tiger muskies requires experience.

The tiger muskie is a hybrid of a muskie with a northern pike. These interesting creatures are prized game fish because they are hard to catch, put up a monstrous fight, and have very large bodies. The biggest one ever caught in Utah weighed 33 pounds 8 ounces and measured 49 inches long!

You can find these fish at the Johnson Reservoir, Newton Reservoir, Pineview Reservoir, Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and others. These fish are very large and require special care once they’re caught. Tiger muskies are best left to expert anglers that have the gear and experience to catch, measure, and release them quickly without injuring them.

Some anglers insist on using crankbaits, spoons, spinners, and bucktails as their lures. However, you can read volumes on the topic of catching these fish and still have plenty to learn.

Now that we’ve covered the best fish to catch in Utah, you should know what fish you want to target in this state. However, you shouldn’t just rush out the door without planning a trip and learning about the local laws. You will need to review the state laws about catching fish in the state and have the proper licenses to take part in the fun!

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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