Fishing Along the Cobalt Waters of the Kolob Reservoir

Geoff Spendlove flyfishing from a frameless inflatable boat on Kolob Reservoir, Utah
Geoff Spendlove flyfishing from a frameless inflatable boat on Kolob Reservoir, Utah Louis Arevalo
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In the sub-alpine zone above the famous sandstone canyons of Zion National Park and just south of Cedar Breaks lies the pastoral lake of Kolob Reservoir. Its cobalt waters are surrounded by picturesque stands of evergreen and groves of dancing aspens. Long known to locals for its fishing it’s the perfect place to escape the summer heat, camp on the grassy shores, and paddle out onto its calm waters.

What’s Makes It Great

Only 35 miles from Virgin and 24 from Cedar City, Kolob Reservoir sits above 8,000 feet on Kolob Mountain and is situated within the head waters of the Virgin River Drainage. Scattered through the surrounding terrain are the cabins and summer homes of the quiet Kolob Mountain Community.

Kolob Reservoir, Kolob Mountain, Utah
Kolob Reservoir, Kolob Mountain, Utah Louis Arevalo

The reservoir is unique in that it has never had any official sport fishing management plan, yet it has gained blue ribbon status. Fishing is the number one attraction to Kolob Reservoir. People come looking to hook rainbow or cutthroat trout. Fishing from the shore, float tubes, and motorized and non-motorized boats are all viable options to get at the fish. Besides the boat ramp the reservoir has many pull off access points on every side of the lake.

Fly, baitcast, spinning, and spincast tackle will give you the best chances at success on the reservoir. Bait is allowed during the summer months between May and September and is the perfect way to get the younger kids involved. Try salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or mealworms for best results. Artificial flies and lures are allowed year round. Try small crankbaits, small spoons and spinners, or the combination of a fly and bubble. Check in at the small store in Kolob Mountain to get the latest fishing news.

Paddling Kolob Reservoir is also a great activity throughout the day. Grab your stand up paddleboards, kayaks, or canoes and launch from nearly any point around the lake. Go out for a quiet cruise making the small island near Indian Hollow your destination or paddle down the short arm of Beebe Hollow. The lake is small enough that each journey can be as short or as long as you make it.

Camping on the grassy shores of Kolob Reservoir, Utah
Camping on the grassy shores of Kolob Reservoir, Utah Louis Arevalo

What You’ll Remember

Second only to the fishing and landing fat rainbow or cutthroat trout, camping at Kolob Reservoir is a treat. Primitive campsites are located along the majority of the shoreline and some offer waterside camping at its best. Grassy banks and open views are the perks. Toward the southwest corner you can find shady sites located in stands of aspen and pine trees.

GPS Coordinates, Parking, and Regulations

GPS Coordinates: 37 25’54”N, 113 02’52”W

From the town of Virgin follow SR-9 to the turnoff at Kolob Terrace Road and continue north for 23 miles. From Cedar City head five miles up Cedar Canyon on highway 14, turn right onto Right Hand Canyon Road and continue for eight miles as the road changes to Kolob Road. Follow Kolob Road for another 11 miles to reach the reservoir. The roads leading to and traveling around the reservoir are dirt. There is a cement boat launch and courtesy dock located on the southeast shores. A few modern pit toilets are located around the lake for your convenience. The camping is free and is primitive.

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