Fly Fishing Southern Utah’s Fremont River is the crown jewel of less traveled trophy waters which meander through awe inspiring red bluffs near the Capitol Reef National Park. The mountains meet the high desert of South Central Utah’s color country forming perfect habitat and world class fly fishing for Brown, Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook and Tiger Trout. The best way to experience this is to hire a guide or stop by the fly shop for advice, maps, flies and direction!
Perhaps the most rewarding dry fly fishing you will ever encounter, the Fremont River is a surreal experience that at many levels will teach you more about fly fishing than you ever thought possible. There are times that the combination of crystal clear slow moving water and lush riparian zones, set against the stark contrast of the red rocks and many national parks, the Fremont River can pierce your soul.
Options for fly fishing the Capitol Reef National Park area are best planned using Torrey as a base. Our fly shop is located on main street where most restaurants, galleries and other services are found as well. Options for fishing include; Fremont River, Boulder Mountains and Thousand Lakes Mountain. Guides are a valuable resource due to the vast nature of these remote canyons, mountains and valleys.
Our guides can pick up guests up at their specific lodging facility for a day on the water and bring lunch, rentals gear, flies, terminal tackle and everything else needed for a trip you won’t soon forget!
Please check out our local resources link for detailed information about the area and for trip planning ideas.
You may also call us directly for information about purchasing a packaged fly fishing excursion.
The upper most section below Johnson Valley Reservoir flows downstream through over 7 miles of forest service land before entering Mill Meadow Reservoir. We consider this section the “Upper Fremont”. This water has some long stretches which are overgrown with fallen branches, pine trees and sagebrush, but this section holds superb undercuts with large trout. From Capitol Reef National Park or Torrey town just outside the park boundaries, a 30 minute drive will get you to these waters.
We call the section of the river below Mill Meadow Reservoir the “Middle Fremont” which holds brown, rainbow and splake. The river will wind its way through the Fremont Valley passing the towns of Fremont, Loa and then Lyman picking up some spring water flow along its journey. There is some public access, but most of the water passes through private property. Certain sections can produce good numbers of fish here and even some larger trophy sized trout. Be prepared to travel down many county dirt roads if you want to fish the middle river as you can lose it quickly in the plethora of fields, canyons and private property. This is the least fishable region of the river.
Downriver from the small town of Bicknell are the north slope of the Boulder Mountains to the south and Thousand Lakes Mountain to the north. This section we refer to as the “Lower Fremont”. It is a very scenic section with many red rock bluffs as well as farmland as it passes the town of Torrey and only 5 minutes from park boundaries.
There are at least 20 miles of river here before it enters Capitol Reef National Park. Trout are only supported in the river until a few miles before it reaches the park. The lower river is almost completely private land with very little public access fishing. Most of the trout caught in this section are browns with a good population of rainbows and even an outside chance at a tiger or cutthroat if you’re lucky. The majority of this private water can be accessed through Fremont River Guides by hiring a guide or paying a rod fee for non-guided fly-fishing only.
The rewards are great here if you are willing to make the trek! Hatches are good during the spring, summer and fall. Midges, Baetis, Olive Stoneflies, Golden Stones, Tricos as well as numerous other mayfly, stonefly and caddis hatches. Don’t shy away from streamers as they tend to bring the bigger trout to the net. Whether you prefer using a dry-dropper technique or nymph with strike indicator, all will produce if presented properly.
Towering over Capitol Reef are the high elevations of the Boulder Mountains Aquarius Plateau. Home to numerous quality streams and over 50 fishable lakes, the Boulders afford anglers plenty of options to explore. And the rewards are great with monster brook trout, large cruising cutthroat and veracious Tiger Trout!
Fishing these waters will mostly require a 4×4 vehicle to travel the rough roads and to get to the trailheads. The majority of lakes are short hikes from 1-2 miles. Others can require 3-4 miles of hiking or more and a good map. Areas to become familiar with are; north slope, south slope, west slope and the Griffin Top. Some of these waters are impoundments to previous natural lakes, larger reservoirs and also numerous natural lakes mostly smaller in size.
Come prepared with both floating and sinking lines as different water types may require both for the best presentations. Due to the volcanic activity of the past, Boulder Mountain Lakes produce wonderful hatches of every kind. Midges should be the main course through spring into late June when Callibaetis are prevalent across many of these still-waters. Evening Caddis Emergence are a regular occurrence and worth the time if you backpack and spend the night camping. Leeches, scuds, damselflies and dragonflies are not to be forgotten either.
This less known mountain has far fewer lakes than its close neighbor the Boulder Mountains to the south. These lakes can be accessed by atv/utv from Torrey by national forest routes through Sulphur Basin. These lakes are found just below the plateau which tops all the local mountains of the area.
Beautiful vantage points from atop 1000 Lakes Mountain of Upper Cathedral Valley will blow your mind! Bring a camera for the scenery and big brook trout found here. Rainbows, Tiger Trout and Cutthroat will give anglers a reason to stay awhile and explore. Hatches and tactics are similar to those of the Boulder Mountain.