Located in southwest Utah, Beaver County is known for its access to the lofty Tushar Mountains, the third highest range in the state. But for those who enjoy the water, the county is also filled with a variety of sparkling streams and sky-reflecting lakes that offer lots of opportunity for recreation. The Beaver River, beginning on the range crest, is the county’s main watercourse. The river tumbles west down a rocky canyon to a broad basin where it empties into Minersville Reservoir, the county’s largest lake. The Beaver River and its fast-flowing tributary creeks offer superb fly fishing opportunities, while the placid lakes provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddling below the towering mountains on hot summer days. While most of Beaver County’s watery recreation is in the Tushars, the western part of the county also offers trickling spring-fed creeks hidden in remote sunburnt mountain ranges. See for yourself at these top places to spend some wet and wild time on the water in Beaver County.
Upper Beaver River
The upper Beaver River and its tributary streams yield some of Beaver County’s best fishing for wild trout. The river’s 12 miles, bordering state highway 153, is easily accessed from roadside pullovers, a couple National Forest campgrounds, and a picnic area. Anglers catch abundant brown trout, most less than 14 inches long, with flies, small lures, and natural bait. Other catches are rainbow trout, usually stocked near the campground, brook trout, and cutthroat trout. Two sites with wheelchair access are by Ponderosa Park Picnic Area.
The Best Mountain Lakes
Lakes and ponds dot high valleys in the Tushar Mountains, forming watery summer playgrounds for fishermen and paddlers. Most of the lakes, reached from state highway 153 and Forest Road 137 east of Beaver, are either natural or formed by small dams. The four-acre Little Reservoir is stocked with 10-inch rainbow trout, tiger trout, and brown trout. Anglers occasionally pull trophy-sized browns from the lake. L-shaped Anderson Meadow Reservoir is a high lake next to a 10-site campground. Besides offering a hardy population of wild brook trout, it’s good for paddling in an inflatable kayak or canoe. LeBaron Reservoir, the highest sport fishing lake in Beaver County, spreads across 23 acres in a broad grassy valley. The lake is perfect for paddling on a summer morning or tossing a line for rainbow trout, brook trout, and Arctic grayling. Primitive camping is allowed around the lake. Puffer Lake, a 65-acre lake, is nestled in a valley above Eagle Point Ski Resort. The natural lake, sometimes drawn down for irrigation in late summer, offers trout fishing, paddling, and stand-up paddleboarding, but watch for stiff afternoon winds.
Remote Streams in the Tushar Mountains
The Beaver River’s upper tributary streams above Three Creeks Reservoir offer fine summer fishing in clear, rushing creeks fed by snowmelt. These streams, including Merchant Creek, Three Creeks, East Fork, and South Fork, are reached by hiking on good trails from highway 153. Cast your line for brown and rainbow trout along the streams in quiet wooded glades or in glassy beaver ponds. For a private fishing experience, head to remote waterways like South Creek, the South Fork of North Creek, and Indian Creek.
Fishing and Paddling at the Kents Lakes
Kents Lake, Lower Kents Lake, and Upper Kents Lake, a trio of small reservoirs on Forest Road 137, is one of Beaver County’s best getaways for wet adventure. The lakes offer great fishing for stocked rainbow trout, brook trout, tiger trout, and Bonneville cutthroat trout, with anglers pulling out occasional two-pounders. The 24-site Tushar Lakeside Campground by Lower Kents Lake is perfect for weekend campouts, with cool nights at 8,560 feet. No motorized boats are allowed, making it perfect for paddling. There is also good hiking through aspen groves and pine and fir forests, and observing wildlife like deer, black bear, squirrels, and chipmunks. A good mile-long hike follows an easy trail to higher Birch Lake, a scenic pond tucked against a rocky ridge. Reserve a campsite at or just show up and grab one.
Fishing the Lower Beaver River
The lower Beaver River west of Beaver and Interstate 15 is a sluggish river that meanders across open bottomlands. Much of the river crosses private property, some with walk-in access, while other sections traverse public BLM land open to fishermen. Find the river’s best fishing at the cold tail-water below Minersville Reservoir, especially when gushing irrigation flows are released from the dam. The fishery, stocked with catchable rainbow and brown trout fingerlings, offers occasional lunker trout up to 20 inches long with a legal limit of four fish. The lower Beaver is a fine fly fishing stream, but the flow is often low and clear so it’s easy to spook the wild trout.
Beaver County’s Biggest Lake
Minersville Reservoir, Beaver County’s largest lake, spreads across 990 acres when it’s filled with spring snowmelt. The big lake, straddling the Beaver River south of the Mineral Mountains, is the county’s best spot to catch an 18-inch rainbow trout. Bring a boat in summer to drop a line into the deep cold water or cast from the shore in early morning or evening. Fishermen, using artificial flies and lures, also catch smallmouth bass and wiper. Bait fishing is prohibited. A campground and paved boat ramp lie on the lake’s south shore, making it a great overnight destination.
Written by Stewart Green for RootsRated Media in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism.