Boulder Mountains


The famous Boulder Mountains make up half of the Aquarius Plateau of South Central Utah in Wayne and Garfield counties. The mountain rises to the west of Capitol Reef National Park and consists of steep slopes and cliffs with over 50,000 acres of rolling forest and meadow-lands on the top. It is the highest timbered plateau in North America and is part of the Dixie National Forest. More importantly, there are over 50 fishable lakes depending on what mother nature offers from year to year.

Utah Scenic Byway 12 traverses the eastern side of the mountain from Torrey through Boulder and on to Escalante. Highway 24 which passes on the north side of the Boulder Mountains through Loa and Bicknell also offers access to the lakes, streams and high country.

A series of unpaved back-country roads, jeep trails, hiking trails and ATV trails provide access to most of the mountain during the brief snow free time, which is usually only a few months from June to September.

Snow and hail storms are common on Utah’s Boulder Mountain even during the mid summer months when the monsoon season sweeps through the area.

Our Boulder Mountains fly fishing guides will help you learn the vast and remote lakes of this beautiful area. And guides will pick up their clients in the towns of Torrey, Boulder or Escalante for departure.

The Aquarius Plateau, an uplift on the much larger Colorado Plateau, is the highest in North America. It is over 900 square miles of mostly forested highland, of which is part of Dixie National Forest. The plateau includes Boulder Mountain which peaks at 11,328 feet at Bluebell Knoll and has over 50,000 acres of rolling hilly terrain above 11,000 feet.

Views from atop the Plateau are majestic and diverse.  Some vantage points will uncover canyons and desert basins as bordering the Aquarius are the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.  A short 30 minute drive from the base of the mountains will afford travelers entrance to these less traveled parks.  Give plenty of time to explore and you’ll leave with a new outlook on this corner of southern Utah.  And you’ll likely feel better as the clear mountain air which is far from metropolitan areas will clear the mind and invigorate the soul.

For years we have been offering guided fly fishing trips on the Boulder Mountain and as an outfitter you can be confident that we know the remote lakes well. Though many anglers have found out about these waters, they remain remote and more difficult than most “tender-footers” are willing to venture the effort required to fish them. If you are looking for a trip of a lifetime, fly fishing the Boulder Mountains for monster brook trout, cutthroat (Bonneville, Colorado River, Yellowstone), browns, rainbows, tiger, splake and grayling will not disappoint.

Anglers will need to hire a guide to find most of the quality lakes and streams unless you have a lot of time to explore. And these wild trout will test even the stiffest of graphite rods to their maximum.  This is not a mountain to find yourself unprepared.  Flies of every kind can be found from Damsels and Dragonflies to Midges and Caddis.  But freshwater shrimp are why trout grow to gargantuan proportions.  In fact, state record size Brook Trout normally carry similar measurements from length compared to girth.

Fremont River Guides will take you by 4×4 and UTV’s to get nearer our preferred lakes with some requiring a hike from a half mile to 2 miles.  Others will require a longer trek if anglers have the ability and it is always worth the effort.  All Boulder Mountain Fly Fishing trips require a full day guide fee.  And use of all terrain vehicles for certain waters will be reflective in your charges.

Fly fishing the Boulder Mountains begins in early May when the high elevation snow melts and roads become somewhat accessible.  Most years the lower lakes are fishable by early May and the higher still-waters near the end of the month. The Boulder Creek, Pine Creek, North Creek and others will rise from high altitude snow pack in late May or early June and usually drop and clear quickly.  By June, the snow is all but gone and the wild trout are already feeding heavily in order to take advantage of the short growing season in this high country where most of the good lakes are above 9,000 feet.

Spring conditions will invite colorful Cutthroat to the shallows where site fishing can be productive and visually astounding.  It is not uncommon for guides to land over 50 fish in a day with a couple anglers if you find the right locations.  Timing is a must and the window is short…so commit to booking a guide and you’ll have a day you won’t soon forget.

Early summer brings some prolific midge hatches, occasionally so thick you can hardly fish or breathe.  And every fish will seemingly be cruising the shallows gulping dries from the surface.  Mid-summer hatches make for the best fishing as water levels begin to fall and clarity in lakes is like crystal.  Calm days fly fishing on the Boulder Mountain are unpredictable, but if you are lucky enough to get one you’ll never forget it.  More difficult fish become vulnerable when hatches are allowed to erupt into a perfect storm of bugs.

It would be a mistake to forget the fall season on many of the natural lakes of the Boulders.  As oak brush, choke cherry and Aspen change color, so do the Brook Trout.  Monsters can be had this time of year and timing is everything.  Do not find yourself under gunned.  Rods in the 6-8 weight class are a must for the big boys and anything less is just begging to be shattered into pieces.

These are some of the biggest wild brook trout found anywhere in the country. Yes, anywhere! Did you know the Utah state record brook trout is over 7.5 pounds? That’s right…and there are plenty of fish which surpass this record on the mountain today. Four to five pound fish are common and fish much larger than this can be found in some of the lakes. You will need a guide to find them or a good GPS, hiking boots and a lot of years spent on the trail.

Everyone knows that fishing new waters is fun, but it can sometimes be frustrating to find the best of what the area has to offer.  This is especially true in southern Utah fly fishing the Boulder Mountains for big brookies.  The spawners like specific areas made perfect for this purpose.  And a good guide will know exactly where to find them without wasting valuable time.  Don’t hesitate another year to book an experienced guide.  Then you will know why everyone is saying that fly fishing the Boulder Mountains is one of the last best fisheries for trout like grandpa used to catch.

Many days fishing are a prerequisite to learning which of the over 50 lakes hold big trout.  Some are fun to fish and you could expect to catch good numbers of 8-12 inch stunted Brookies.  Hiring a guide will pay-off for those limited on time and wishing to land monster Brook Trout, Tiger Trout or Cutthroat Trout.

Our professionals are on the water every day and live the lifestyle of a true fly fishing guide.  We eat and sleep to know trout habits and you can expect our Boulder Mountain guides to get you into fish while having a ton of fun doing it.  And we will work hard to meet you expectations for a good day whether that be catching a lot of fish or targeting bigger ones.

Boulder Mountain Streams

Scenic Fremont River

A multitude of wild trout streams drain the Boulder Mountains of southern Utah. This is a photographers paradise, with cover shots around every bend and beautiful pools and runs which hold hefty sized brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout.  Sandstone cliffs which slope steeply into the rivers edge will form pools few anglers will every see in their lifetime. These small stream waters are truly unique to anywhere in the world and we feel fortunate that fly fishing the Boulder Mountains of Utah is considered to be our home waters.

Many of these creeks have some access which can be reached by hiking, but the further you go the better they will fish. Of course, you will get away from other anglers but there is little pressure to avoid in any case.  Most Boulder Mountain streams will require you to bring a day pack with some water, snacks, a rain jacket and you should be somewhat nimble on your feet.  After all, this is called the “Boulder” mountain.

Don’t expect to find any big rivers here as these waters average 15 to 20 feet wide or less.  There are plenty of stretches with wide pools and runs much bigger than this, but for the most part a shorter rod and a lighter line performs better here.  We prefer a 3 weight rod between 7 and 8.5 feet long for accuracy and delicate presentations. There are some fish that will put a light rod to the test, but generally they can be handled well with 2 to 4 weight graphite rods. These wild trout are also more spooky than picky, so…bring plenty of lightweight equipment and your 5x tippets will be plenty fine for these under-fished waters.