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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — With most of the snow melted off the state's highest peaks and most rivers now down to safe levels, Utah fly fishers are eager to explore the state's bodies of water.
Deciding where to go, though, especially in the doldrums of summer when the hatches are sparse and the rivers a bit too warm for a trout's liking, isn't easy. From Sand Hollow to Bear Lake, Utah has much more fishable water than it's given credit for.
This road trip guide will put you on the path to big fish, smaller crowds and Utah's world-famous scenery.
Stop 1 - Otter Creek Reservoir
How to get there: Take Highway 89 south to Junction, Piute County, then take eastbound Highway 62.
What to fish for: Rainbow trout
Just east of Junction and Kingston is Otter Creek Reservoir and its accompanying state park and its storied jumbo rainbow trout. This is a popular fishery mainly in the spring and fall since the fish move to deeper water during the summer. Anglers with boats typically do the best when fishing during the summer months.
Fishing in the early evening at Otter Creek is great with a fly rod, but it's the Sevier River in Kingston Canyon that's the real draw in this area for fly anglers. The fishing is tough, but the brown trout in Kingston Canyon are tougher.
Stop 2 - Upper Beaver River
How to get there: Take I-15 south to Beaver, then take Highway 153 east to Beaver Canyon.
What to fish for: Brown trout, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout
The Upper Beaver River — the section in the canyon east of I-15 — is a gorgeous little gem tucked a few minutes away from one of the busiest stops along this section of freeway. The river doesn't provide huge fish, but it's a classic Rocky Mountain fishing experience with tight pocket water, long runs, deep pools and meandering riffles. The higher you go, the better chance you have of finding remnant cutthroat trout, while brown and rainbows dominate the lower reaches of this river.
Stop 3 - Yuba Reservoir
How to get there: Take I-15 south past the town of Levan, Juab County. The exit is clearly marked between Levan and Scipio.
What to fish for: Carp and northern pike
Yuba is a stellar pike fishery with multiple 35-inch or larger fish harvested on a yearly basis. Summer isn't the best time to chase pike, but with dropping water levels, you can often find them holed up in weeds and rocky shorelines.
Fly fishermen have recently started popularizing fly fishing for carp, a fish species Yuba has plenty of. Carp are challenging fish to catch, though the reward is often a fish in the net north of 5 pounds.
Stop 4 - Duck Fork Reservoir
How to get there: Head north of Ferron Reservoir near Millsite State Park in Emery County, turning south onto Ferron Canyon Road. Drive about 4 miles west of Ferron Reservoir.
What to fish for: Cutthroat trout and tiger trout
Duck Fork Reservoir is a gorgeous little lake nestled atop the south end of the Manti-La Sal Mountains. The fishing is often great year-round, as the high elevation keeps the water cool and the trout active. Big tiger and cutthroat trout come from this water on a regular basis.
Stop 5 - Miller Flat Reservoir
How to get there: Take Highway 31 east out of Fairview, Sanpete County. Turn south onto the Joe's Valley Road just past Mammoth Reservoir.
What to fish for: Rainbow trout and cutthroat trout
Miller Flat is located right off the popular Highway 31 that spans Sanpete, Emery, and Carbon counties. The fishing here is almost always excellent, and the cutthroat are rumored to break the 5-pound mark quite often.
With only five stops on this road trip, you certainly have room to add in a stream here or a pond there. Where are your favorite places to fly fish during the summer? Let us know in the comments.