The trails, streams, summits, and salt flats of northwestern Utah’s Tooele County (pronounced too-will-uh) are perfect for adventurers seeking something a step off the beaten path. While nearby Salt Lake, Ogden, and Utah Valley counties buzz with larger populations, Tooele and its surrounding small towns remain a little quieter and a lot more open.
Anglers, like the other outdoorsmen who visit, come here looking for a change of pace. While the landscape may appear to be very arid, the area has many lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams that attract traditional and fly-fishermen to their waters. Tooele County’s rugged mountains are home many remote streams and springs where anglers can catch different varieties of trout, bass, and carp. The county is also home to three reservoirs that are well-stocked, planted with trout each summer—some of the holdover trout from each year can result in quite a big catch.
While having many options for fishing is a draw, it can also be challenging when figuring out where to go. There are multiple local guides and outfitters in the area to point you in the right direction, but here’s a quick overview to help get you started.
Settlement Canyon Reservoir
Settlement Canyon Reservoir lies just outside the town of Tooele and offers some of the area’s most accessible fishing. Anglers can often catch rainbow trout at this 5,300-foot-elevation reservoir, but there is also brown and brook trout to be had. Since it’s so close to Tooele, you can dash out for a few hours of fishing under the desert sun, then amble back to town for a draft beer at Bonneville Brewery, near the shores of the Great Salt Lake, to cap off a pleasant day.
The 88-acre Grantsville Reservoir is, perhaps, the area’s most popular fishing spot. Anglers have great luck catching brown trout and rainbow trout. Because there is little shade in the area, fishing is best in the early morning or evening when the fish aren’t hiding from the heat. The reservoir boasts 23 picnic tables with grills as well as 24 RV pads and a small-boat launch ramp, so the party can go on all weekend. The Stansbury Mountains lie directly to the west of the reservoir, so plan on some killer sunsets as you grill the catch of the day among family and friends.
Venture into Skull Valley, which sits just southwest of the Great Salt Lake, for an austere landscape with countless streams and hot springs cutting into the valley floor. The valley has a harsh name, reflected in its strong winter winds and hot summer temps, but within the many streams and springs lies a hidden world. Some of these springs, like Horseshoe Springs, stay warmer than usual year-round, which allows wild populations of fish to thrive any season of the year. Largemouth bass and carp call Horseshoe Springs home, but they’re famously tricky to catch. Bring some worms and try your luck. The clear water of the springs makes it easy to scare the fish off, but don’t worry, you can still enjoy a swim—the average temp is around 70 degrees.
Hiring a local outfitter or guide can help you determine the best place for you fish based on what you are hoping to catch and in what type of environment. The folks at Spring Creek Trophy Trout Fishing offer hourly fishing rates as well as lessons and group retreats, so you can settle in and familiarize yourself, then catch some truly impressive fish. Please remember that you must have a license to fish in Utah. You can find out more information by visiting the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
And at the end of a long day outdoors, definitely treat yourself to a bite at one of the homey eateries around Tooele and Grantsville. If you’ve been out in the sun all day, you’ve earned it.
Written by RootsRated Media for Utah Office of Tourism.