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Fly Fishing the Uinta Mountains

Fly-fishing the quiet and peaceful lakes, rivers and streams in the Uinta Mountains (Read: Uinta lakes fishing guide) has become a favorite summer activity for anglers in the “know." The fact that fishes’ main source of food is insects makes fly-fishing in these mountains the preferred method to land a trout and the limited growing season at such high elevations means they are constantly eating. 

There are hundreds of tranquil alpine lakes in the High Uinta Mountains. Photo: Cameron Kirby
There are hundreds of tranquil alpine lakes in the High Uinta Mountains. Photo: Cameron Kirby

What Makes It Great

Fishing along the Mirror Lake Highway Corridor will give you a plethora of great options from which to choose. If the fish aren’t biting at one spot it’s completely reasonable to hike or drive to another stream or nearby lake to where you will find them practically jumping out of the water. The overall the success rates throughout the Uinta Mountains are high and at times the fishing can almost feel too good to be true, but don’t worry it will not disappoint. The fish don’t tend to be very picky and will take most things you present to them. The middle of June through the summer months are the most popular time for fishing, but September days can be the most productive and memorable.

Brook and cutthroat trout are common throughout the range and rainbow, tiger, and grayling are found in the lakes. There are even golden trout to be found in certain places. During the summer months, try fishing early and late in the day. If the fish aren’t rising to the surface, change up to a wet fly and get it down toward the bottom. While the streams don’t have the largest trout you have ever seen they still hold quite a few colorful brook and cutthroat trout that are a blast to land. Try sneaking up on them and dropping a fly in front of their noses.

What You’ll Remember

Casting a fly in a secluded alpine river with the serene setting of the Uinta Mountains is the quintessential wilderness fishing experience. Getting away from the crowded rivers and lakes in the lower elevations is what fishing in the Uintas is all about.

The photo-worthy Mirror Lake is always a good bet for lake fishing. You can fish from the shore, wade in, or float tube it. A well-maintained path around its perimeter will give you access at any spot. 

If you prefer moving water you can’t go wrong with one of the many streams in the area. Shingle Creek is home to feisty brook and cutthroat trout. A short hike from the trailhead will lead you to many pools and holes teeming with fish — you’re almost guaranteed some action here. The Upper Provo River runs through some of the popular campgrounds along the first several miles of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.

Of course a fly fishing trip to the Uinta Mountains wouldn’t be complete without fishing the blue ribbon water of the upper Provo River. This section of the river is faster moving and smaller than its counterparts down lower, and receives half the pressure from other anglers. Many access points and pullouts can be found along the Mirror Lake Highway.

Who’s Going to Love It

Anyone can enjoy time fishing in the Uintas. With so many options it’s hard to go wrong. The lakes, rivers, and streams are friendly enough for beginners to land a catch, and will satisfy veterans both young and old. The convenient access of trails and roads opens fishing to all who have the desire.

Pro Tips

Plan your fishing trips during the week to avoid the weekend travel crowds. Although easily accessible spots like Mirror Lake make them among extremely popular, people routinely pull in good-sized tiger and rainbow trout.

For some of the most secluded fly-fishing of the Uinta Mountains, consider the drive east toward the Uinta Basin, Vernal and the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The southeastern side of the range puts a few hours' distance between you and the metropolitan Wasatch Front and the area is packed with other outdoor attractions.

Learn more about fishing the Uinta Mountain lakes


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