Whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned angler, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work,” goes the adage. We agree! All of that outdoor adventure will make you hungry. Here, you’ll find tips for where to drop a line and get a post-river bite for yourself.
It’s not hard to get hooked on fly-fishing: the peace of watching a fly floating on the surface of a gently swirling eddy, the thrill of the catch (and release) when silver flashes and your line goes tight, and the pure enjoyment of being one with nature standing in a crystalline river. Let’s get started.
The Middle Provo River is one of Utah’s finest blue-ribbon fisheries, stretching from Jordanelle to Deer Creek Reservoirs. Great public access is only a 15-minute drive from Park City. Take UT-224 out of Park City to US Hwy 40 East, travel nine miles, and turn right at the light at River Road. Two fisherman’s access areas are right there (one on the right, one on the left) with parking, portable restrooms, and lots of other fishers to swap tales with. You’ll catch brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout on this beautiful, braided section of river, with lots of easy spots to fish from shore or by shallow wading (depending on water flow). Flies and lures only. Best bets: PMDs, caddis in the evenings, and grasshoppers in late summer.
You’d be happy simply lounging on the deck of the restored, 80-year-old ranch house of Back 40 Ranch House Grill, taking in the beautiful, pastoral views of the Heber/Midway Valley while sipping nothing but the water from their own artesian aquifer, but … with so many farm-to-table, locally sourced ingredients, you’d be remiss if you didn’t order, say, the smoked jalapeño cheddar burger made with beef from the Circle Bar Ranch two pastures away and artisan cheddar from nearby Heber Valley Cheese. Wash it back with a local cold brew from the full bar menu. 1223 US Hwy 40, Heber City, 435.654.3070, back40utah.com
GET YOUR FEET WET
Each summer Monday evening at 5 p.m. (until Labor Day), Jans Mountain Outfitters hosts free, beginner fly-casting lessons at the ponds at lower Deer Valley (next to the gazebo). You don’t need a reservation, but call ahead and let them know you’re coming so they can bring enough rods (bring your own if you have one). Typically, you’ll end up with a group of 8 to 10 new anglers perfecting their “10 o’clock, 2 o’clock” casting technique. Then, book a guided trip with the fine folks at Jans or Trout Bum 2 for a true fly-fishing experience on a local river. Jans Mountain Outfitters, 1600 Park Ave, 435.649.4949, jans.com; Trout Bum 2, 4343 Hwy 224, 435.658.1166, troutbum2.com.
WHET YOUR APPETITE
After learning how to cast more beautifully than Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It, reward yourself with a light, lovely repast at Deer Valley Grocery Café. Sit on the outside deck and check out the duckies and stand-up paddleboarders floating by. Mouthwatering faves are the BLT with maple bacon, tomato, artisan greens, and tarragon aioli on toasted nine-grain bread or the open-face albacore tuna melt with local cumin-spiced cheddar, vine-ripened tomato, and cracked grain mustard on sprouted wheat berry bread. DVGC also carries a plethora of gourmet to-go items if you want to pack a picnic. 2250 Deer Valley Dr, 435.615.2400, deervalley.com
WADE “THE WEBE”
Known as an “urban fishery” since the Weber River runs parallel to I-84 and I-80, a lot of the Weber is private access only, but anglers can enjoy several nice stretches of tailwater with lots of brown trout and mountain whitefish. Try the Creamery Lane access in Coalville (20 minutes from Park City). From I-80 east, take exit 162. Travel west on Icy Springs Road (SR-280) for 0.2 miles. Turn left and travel south on the frontage road that parallels I-80 for approximately 1.3 miles. Cross over Hobson Lane and continue traveling south on the frontage road for an additional 1.4 miles to reach this access point. Flies and lures only. Best bet: caddis.
SWEET FAMILY FUN
The iconic, family-friendly Taggart’s Grill is located in a log house nestled in a beautiful canyon between Morgan and Henefer. Summer grounds are lovely with wandering peacocks and, well, if you didn’t see any fish on your own expedition, a koi pond. Warning: no kids under 16 on the patio due to rattlesnake danger! How’s that for adventure? Taggart’s doesn’t take reservations, so expect a bit of a well-worth-it wait. Try the creamy chicken mushroom artichoke soup, the red chili poppers stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeño sauce, or the shrimp scampi primavera. Save room for the decadent selection of swoon-worthy, homemade desserts. 1105 Taggart Lane, Morgan, 801.829.3837, taggartsgrill.com
Before You Go
License to Fish
Anyone older than 12 must purchase a license to fish in Utah. Purchase one at any of our local fly-fishing shops, Walmart, by downloading the Utah Hunting and Fishing NICUSA app, or online at wildlife.utah.gov. Nonresident three-day license, $24; Utah residents, $16.
Join High Country Fly Fishers (highcountryflyfishers.com), the local chapter of the national Trout Unlimited organization, and be privy to monthly activities including fly-tying classes, guest speakers, women’s-only events, group fishing outings, social hours, conservation activities, and more.
Support a Cause
The 5,000-member-strong Utah Stream Access Coalition works to “promote and assist in all aspects of securing and maintaining public access to Utah’s public waters and streambeds per Utah law.” In other words, if someone builds a McMansion streamside, fishers should still be able to respectfully and politely fish the water in the middle of the stream (without infringing on the private property owner’s turf). (utahstreamaccess.org)
Chad Jaques, Trout Bum 2
“You might not need the best fly rod in the world, but good eyewear is key. It increases the enjoyment of fishing 100-fold when you can see the fish rising to your fly.”
His pick: Costa Del Mar polarized sunglasses ($169–$269).
Bransford Briggs, Jans
“The coolest thing you can wear on a hot day is a sun protection hoodie with built-in UPF and bug repellant for 100 percent protection.”
His pick: Simms Bugstopper Solarflex Hoodie ($69.95)