Fly Fishing the Peaceful Lakes and Streams in Utah’s Uinta Mountains

Nate Schweber fly fishing Shingle Creek, in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
Nate Schweber fly fishing Shingle Creek, in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah. Louis Arevalo
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Fly fishing the quiet and peaceful lakes, rivers, and streams in the Uinta Mountains 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.

What Makes It Great

Sim Gold fly fishing at Mirror Lake with a Tankara fly rod in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
Sim Gold fly fishing at Mirror Lake with a Tankara fly rod in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah. Louis Arevalo

Fishing along the Mirror Lake Highway Corridor will give you a plethora of 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

The Upper Provo River, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
The Upper Provo River, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah. Louis Arevalo

Casting a fly in the secluded alpine 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.

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. Try fishing during the week to avoid the crowds. Although it is one of the more popular lakes to fish, people routinely pull in good-sized tiger and rainbow trout.

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.

Of course a fly fishing trip to the Unita 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

Tiger traout caught on a wet fly, Mirror Lake, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
Tiger traout caught on a wet fly, Mirror Lake, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah. Louis Arevalo

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 and will satisfy veterans both young and old. The convenient access of trails and roads opens fishing to all who have the desire.

Parking, Directions, and Regulations

The Mirror Lake Highway falls within a National Forest Fee Area. It is free to drive the byway, but if you stop to use any of the recreation areas you are required to pay the fee. You may purchase multi-day passes at numerous locations along the Mirror Lake Highway. You are required to have a Utah Fishing License.

From Kamas take Center Street, Highway 150 east from Main Street.  From Evanston head south on Highway 150.

GPS Coordinates:

Mirror Lake: (40_42_16.51_N_110_53_17.47_W)

Shingle Creek Trailhead: (40.610073, -111.121307)

 

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