The 8 Best Fishing Lakes in Utah (And the Types of Fish to Expect!)

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Updated: July 13, 2023
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Best Fishing Lakes in Utah infographic
Here are the 8 Best Fishing Lakes you can find in Utah.

Utah may be one of the driest states in the country, but don’t let its desert landscape scare you. Whether you’ve been fishing for decades or you’re ready to give the sport a shot, Utah has some of the best fishing lakes in the United States! Utah has more than 1,000 amazing lakes for fishing (with many Blue Ribbon Fisheries), as well as countless ponds, rivers, and streams. But with so many lakes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best fishing lakes in Utah, along with the types of fish living within their waters. 

Important: Rules and Regulations for Fishing in Utah

Before you head out for your fishing trip, there are a few important things to take care of. First, you’ll need to get a Utah fishing license — it’s illegal to fish in Utah without one, and the penalties for unlicensed fishing are pretty severe. There are lots of options, depending on several different factors like your age, how many times you plan to go fishing, where you would like to fish, and whether or not you are a resident of the state of Utah. That may sound a bit complicated, but fortunately, obtaining a Utah state fishing license is quite simple. You can even get one online through the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website.

Now, once you have your fishing license safely in tow, you’ll also need to check out the laws and regulations for fishing in Utah. These laws are there to protect the natural wildlife, and to safeguard the populations of fish in Utah — that way, there will be plenty of fish for other anglers for years to come! In addition, you absolutely can never fish for June suckers — these Utah natives are highly protected in the state.

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Fishing regulations in Utah are modified occasionally, so your best bet is to look at the current fishing regulations before heading out on your journey. You’ll need to know things like when and where you can fish, how many fish you can take home, the size of the fish you can take home, and the methods that you can use to fish. Fortunately, you can find answers to all of these questions in the Utah Fishing Guidebook.

All right, now that we’ve got all that business taken care of, let’s look at the best fishing lakes in Utah and what types of fish you can expect to catch!

1. Strawberry Reservoir 

Located in the Uinta National Forest, Strawberry Reservoir is definitely one of the best fishing lakes in Utah. Strawberry Reservoir is in central Utah, about 90 minutes (65 miles) from Salt Lake City, and sits at just over 7,600 feet. Its crystal-clear waters and tributary system help not only keep the water well-cycled and healthy but also offer an excellent place for spawning. Because of that, the fish in this lake are healthy and they grow pretty fast. In fact, at least 60% of cutthroat trout at Strawberry Reservoir are produced naturally right here in the lake!

Strawberry Reservoir is known for its top-notch premier trout fishing, especially cutthroat and rainbow trout. It’s pretty common for anglers to catch trout ranging from 15 to 22 inches long. In fact, the largest cutthroat trout ever caught in Utah came from Strawberry Reservoir back in 1930, and it weighed a whopping 27 pounds.

And the best part is that you can fish at Strawberry Reservoir all year round! That means you can enjoy sunny summer days as well as chilly ice-fishing treks from December through February. However, be advised that this area gets a lot of snow during the winter. There are several snowmobiling trails to help you reach your preferred ice-fishing spot if you’re up for an icy adventure.

Strawberry Reservoir

LocationCentral Utah (25 minutes from downtown Heber).
Types of FishBear Lake cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and kokanee salmon.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Strawberry Reservoir Bay in Fall, panorama forest views along Highway 40 near Daniels Summit between Heber and Duchesne in the Uinta Basin, Utah, USA.

Strawberry Bay Recreation Area has campgrounds, group pavilions, sanitary dump stations, and stores.

©Jeremy Christensen/Shutterstock.com

2. Fish Lake

Fish Lake is a six-mile-long alpine lake in the Fishlake National Forest of south-central Utah, near the city of Richfield. The lake sits at over 8,800 feet of elevation, making it a great place for fishing all throughout the summer. It is one of the most scenic fishing lakes in the entire state. However, that also means that it’s pretty popular and can get crowded at times. 

There are three boat ramps available on the lake’s western shore. You can also rent pontoons and aluminum motor boats at the Fish Lake Lodge Marina, Lakeside Resort Marina, and the Bowery Haven Marina. Many people also enjoy going out on canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. 

With so much beautiful scenery surrounding it, Fish Lake is also a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Visitors can stop by the Twin Creeks Amphitheater near the Mackinac Campground to learn about the environment and history of the lake on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. You can also hike up to Pando Aspen Clone, an enormous Aspen Grove with 40,000 individual trees that actually make up just one giant organism! 

Fish Lake

LocationFishlake National Forest in south-central Utah near the city of Richfield.
Types of FishTrout (rainbow, brown, tiger, and lake trout), splake, kokanee salmon, and yellow perch.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Fish lake, Utah

Fish Lake’s beautiful scenery offers fishing, scenic drives, camping, and hiking.

©Mitchie the kid/Shutterstock.com

3. Pineview Reservoir

Nestled in the Ogden Valley of northern Utah, Pineview Reservoir is one of the best fishing lakes in Utah. Since it’s surrounded by mountains, the lake is protected from wind and the water is as smooth as glass! Of course, that also means that you may have to share the lake with other boaters and water skiers. However, there are fewer recreational visitors in the fall, making it a great season for fishing. Pineview Reservoir also has paved launch ramps and sandy beaches. 

Many people come to Pineview Reservoir to fish for trophy-sized tiger muskie fish. In fact, the largest tiger muskie ever caught in Utah came from Pineview Reservoir. It weighed 33 pounds, 9 ounces, and measured 49 inches long!

However, it is illegal to take these fish — tiger muskies are only available for catch and release. If you’re looking to fish for tiger muskies at Pineview Reservoir, you’ll need to make sure you know how to release them safely so that they can survive once they are back in the water. This means you’ll need to bring along the proper tools, like heavy-duty wire cutters, a net, long-nosed pliers, jar spreaders, and a ruler. You can learn all about how to safely catch and release these fish from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Pineview Reservoir

LocationWeber County’s Ogden Valley in northern Utah.
Types of FishPerch, crappie, bullhead catfish, trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and tiger muskie (must be immediately released).
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Pineview Reservoir, Utah

Pineview Reservoir in Utah has sandy beaches and paved launch ramps. There are also campgrounds.

©iStock.com/Wirestock

4. Bear Lake

Stretching across the state lines of Utah and Idaho, Bear Lake is a beautiful, clear-blue alpine fishing lake located in the Bear Lake Valley of Rich Country in northern Utah. Most of the anglers here fish from boats out on the lake. However, you can also fish along the eastern shore near Cisco Beach or at the Bear Lake State Park Marina.

There are many different types of fish in Bear Lake, such as the Bear River cutthroat trout, lake trout, Bear Lake whitefish, Bonneville whitefish, and Bear Lake sculpin. Many people come for the Bonneville cisco and the Bonneville white fish, as these two species don’t live anywhere else in the world.

In the winter, the lake often freezes over, offering many great opportunities for ice fishing. If you visit Bear Lake in January, you can also enjoy the annual Bear Lake Monster Fest. This fun, family-friendly festival helps to raise money for The Family Place. It’s jam-packed with all kinds of awesome activities, like the Monster Cisco Disco, Monster Polar Plunge, Monster Chili Cook-Off, and Monster Cisco Tournament. 

Bear Lake

LocationRich County’s Bear Lake Valley in northern Utah.
Types of FishBear River cutthroat trout, lake trout, Bear Lake whitefish, Bonneville whitefish, and Bear Lake sculpin.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Bear lake Utah

Bear Lake is well-known for its stunning, deep azure blue water.

©Joe Farah/Shutterstock.com

5. Flaming Gorge Reservoir

If you’re looking for a stunning and diverse landscape along with one of the best fishing lakes in Utah, then you should definitely check out Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Spanning 91 miles, this picturesque destination gets its name from the mesmerizing way that the sun reflects off of the rich orange and red canyon walls surrounding it. It makes them look like they’re ablaze as they stand above the reservoir’s tranquil blue waters. 

Flaming Gorge Reservoir draws anglers from across the globe to its shores in search of record-breaking lake trout — known as Mackinac — and kokanee salmon. These two fish are the most challenging to reel in but are also the most sought-after. Seasoned anglers have been known to snag impressive 30-pounders quite regularly. However, there are many other fish that live within the lake’s waters, such as smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, carp, burbot, and channel catfish. 

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

LocationFlaming Gorge National Recreation Area in the northeastern corner of Utah.
Types of FishSmallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout (Mackinac), carp, burbot, and channel catfish.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Flaming Gorge Reservoir Utah

Flaming Gorge Reservoir has three full-service marinas and endless possibilities for outdoor recreation.

©iStock.com/ablokhin

6. Currant Creek Reservoir 

Also located in northeastern Utah, Currant Creek Reservoir is about 40 miles northeast of Heber City. Many anglers claim that the fishing at Currant Creek Reservoir is just as good as it is at Strawberry Reservoir — but with the added bonus that it is much less crowded. The lake is stocked with Colorado River cutthroat trout and is also home to rainbow trout and tiger trout.

Currant Creek Reservoir is surrounded by beautiful quaking aspen and pine trees, and at over 7,600 feet, it stays cool throughout the summer. Some anglers also come here for adventurous ice-fishing during the winter months. 

Currant Creek Reservoir

LocationNortheastern Utah, 40 miles northeast of Heber City.
Types of FishColorado River cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and tiger trout.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Tall Aspen trees in peak autumn at Uinta Wasatch Cache national forest in Utah.

Currant Creek Reservoir is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, with countless quaking aspen and pine trees.

©SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock.com

7. Lake Powell 

If you’re looking for the best fishing lakes in southern Utah, then you should check out Lake Powell. This incredible man-made reservoir is home to some of the most beautiful lake scenery in the western United States, with crystal clear waters, towering red cliffs, colorful rock formations, impressive canyons, and incredible natural arches. 

Visitors from all over the world flock to Lake Powell throughout the year for its breathtaking scenery and the wide variety of recreational activities available, from lounging on houseboats to water skiing and fishing. Lake Powell’s impressive shoreline stretches over 2,000 miles and has more than 160,000 surface acres of water. 

Anglers can fish all year at Lake Powell, with species like northern pike, smallmouth bass, bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, green sunfish, bullhead catfish, walleye, black crappie, and channel catfish.

Lake Powell

LocationSan Juan, Kane, and Garfield County in southern Utah.
Types of FishNorthern pike, smallmouth bass, bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, green sunfish, bullhead catfish, walleye, black crappie, and channel catfish.
Blue Ribbon FisheryYes
Lake Powell

Although you can fish from the shores of Lake Powell, the best fishing is done out on the water in a boat.

©Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock.com

8. Uinta Mountains

There are over 600 lakes and ponds scattered throughout the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah, ranging from 7,000 feet to over 13,000 feet above sea level. With 545 miles of trails to explore, you can visit so many different types of lakes here and see the many different fish species living within their waters.

The lakes in the Uinta Mountain Range host several different types of trout (like cutthroat, grayling, tiger, brook, brown, and rainbow), as well as char. There are 16 trailheads that guide you to the heart of the backcountry with numerous daisy-chained lakes scattered all throughout this pristine wilderness as well. 

Or, if you prefer a more leisurely fishing trip, Tranquil Mirror Lake offers stunning views and is just a stone’s throw away from the road. The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway also boasts a wide array of picturesque lakes and streams. However, the further away you venture from the roads and trailheads, the less you’ll have to compete with other anglers.  

Spanning an impressive 78 miles, the iconic Highline Trail meanders along the crest of the Uinta Mountain range, with endless panoramic vistas and plenty of tranquil fishing spots. The easier, shorter hikes lead to more popular lakes, while the longer and more challenging trails often lead to secluded lakes and solitary bliss. The Highline Trail begins just off Highway 150 (Mirror Lake Highway), near Butterfly Lake. 

The Many Lakes in the Uinta Mountain Range

LocationNorth-central Utah in the Uinta Mountain Range.
Types of FishRainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, tiger trout, albino trout, and Arctic grayling.
Blue Ribbon FisheryNo
Image of Mirror Lake in the Uinta Mountains, Utah.

Mirror Lake is one of the most popular fishing lakes in the area, with tiger, brook, and rainbow trout.

©iStock.com/EdwardSnow

Summary of the 8 Best Fishing Lakes in Utah

Here are the 8 Best Fishing Lakes in Utah:

RankFishing Lakes
1Strawberry Reservoir
2Fish Lake
3Pineview Reservoir
4Bear Lake
5Flaming Gorge Reservoir
6Currant Creek Reservoir
7Lake Powell
8Uinta Mountains

The photo featured at the top of this post is © HannaTor/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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