The best local streams for winter fly fishing

The best local streams for winter fly fishing

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — The ski resorts are open, the snow and ice are clogging Utah's roadways, and most favorite haunts of fly fishermen are inaccessible. If you don't ice fish, ski, or snowboard, then living as an angler through a Utah winter isn't easy.

What's surprising, though, is just how many fly fishing opportunities exist within an hour's drive of the Wasatch Front — and they're accessible year-round.

Lost Creek

Follow I-84 east past Morgan to the Croydon exit and you'll arrive at the junction of Lost Creek and the Weber River. The creek drains out of Lost Creek Reservoir and there's a mile or so of access right off the Croydon exit, up to the clearly marked property of the Hocim Cement Plant.

This small stream is home to brown trout in its lower reaches, and if you're feeling ambitious enough to drive up to Lost Creek Reservoir, the creek is home to cutthroat immediately below the dam.

The fish aren't incredibly huge, but the pockets, pools, runs, and riffles present a wide range of fishing opportunities. On a warmer day, the midge hatches bring the browns to the surface for some fun winter fishing.

Mill Creek

Depending on snow levels, access to this canyon can be a bit difficult, but if you're able to get there, it's a unique experience. Millcreek Canyon is far less busy than either of the Cottonwoods, helping it retain a backwoods, rural feeling.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and Trout Unlimited (TU), along with various other agencies, worked together over the past four years to renovate Mill Creek and restore native Bonneville cutthroat trout to its water. In November 2016, TU reported the restoration efforts were successful. According to TU, this is the first time in a century that Bonneville cutthroat trout have swam in Mill Creek.

Spanish Fork River

You can access this river from a number of areas (including along a good chunk of US Highway 6, headed east to Price,) but for a truly unique fly fishing experience, you should try the stretch from Palmyra (just north of the Rock Island Waterfowl Management Area) up to I-15. This section of river is home to every species that lives in Utah Lake, and while the bass and catfish bite is slower in the winter than in warmer months, you still have the chance to hook into non-trout species.

The diversity of this area of the river is what makes it so appealing to a lot of anglers, and starting in 2017, the seasonal closures on Utah Lake tributaries will be lifted.

If you really want some trout — and mountain scenery — fishing the Spanish Fork higher in the canyon as it parallels Highway 6 is a good bet. The fish are few and far between here, but they're much larger because of it.

Do you have a favorite winter fly fishing destination along the Wasatch Front? Have you fished any of the places mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!

![Spencer Durrant](\.jpg?filter=ksl/65x65)
About the Author: Spencer Durrant \---------------------------------

Spencer is an outdoors columnist and novelist from Utah. His debut novel, Learning to Fly, was an Amazon bestseller. Connect with him on Twitter @Spencer_Durrant or on Facebook.

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