Blue Ribbon Fisheries
Middle Provo River

Blue Ribbon Fisheries

The best fishing experiences Utah has to offer

Whether you're seeking a memorable — and trophy-worthy — catch, pursuing a unique species, or you appreciate a solitary setting and pristine habitat, you should visit Utah's Blue Ribbon fisheries.

Blue Ribbon fisheries are waters that provide highly-satisfying fishing and outdoor experiences for diverse groups of anglers and enthusiasts. Blue Ribbon status indicates that a water has been reviewed by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and the Advisory Council and has:

  1. Fishing quality
  2. A quality outdoor experience
  3. Quality fish habitat
  4. Economic benefits

Download the list of ranking criteria

To plan a trip to a Blue Ribbon water, visit our access information page. You can search for the fishery that will provide you with the most satisfying fishing experience. You can also download and complete the Blue Ribbon bingo card to earn bragging rights. (It includes all 43 waterbodies, current as of 2021!)

Middle Provo River Provo River in Heber Valley
Middle Provo River Provo River in Heber Valley

About the Blue Ribbon Fisheries program

Blue Ribbon waters will provide Utah's anglers with quality fishing experiences in exquisite settings. These are environmentally productive waters that sustain healthy fish populations. Blue Ribbon waters preserve a wonderful part of fishing culture and provide an economic boost to local communities.

The Blue Ribbon Fisheries Program is overseen by the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council. The program was designed to:

  • Identify and designate Blue Ribbon fisheries throughout Utah
  • Enhance the aquatic habitat and recreational setting of Blue Ribbon fisheries
  • Protect Blue Ribbon fisheries through collaborative efforts between government agencies and private entities
  • Promote Blue Ribbon fisheries to anglers from all over

Blue Ribbon fishing seminars

The Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources present seminars covering a variety of fishing types and topics, from ice fishing to walleye fishing. Seminars are available on the Division's YouTube channel and can be watched by clicking the links below:

Blue Ribbon projects

Since the program began, over $4.2 million has been allocated to over 210 projects that have been completed at various waterbodies across the state. When leveraged with other funding sources, over $46.5 million has been spent on improving angler access and fish habitat within Utah. Blue Ribbon money has been spent to improve over 166 miles of stream in Utah and over 10,700 acres of aquatic and riparian habitat.

Blue Ribbon program funds have also been used to train more than 20 Division biologists in stream restoration techniques.

The Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council annually reviews proposals for projects that address:

  • Fish population health
  • Fishing experience
  • Habitat improvement
  • Economic benefit
Fly fishing the Green River
Fly fishing the Green River

Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council

The mission of the Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council is to identify Utah waters that provide Blue Ribbon angling experiences — or have the potential to provide Blue Ribbon experiences — in order to enhance and protect these economically-valuable natural resources and their watersheds. Download the Advisory Council handbook.

Advisory Council membership

The Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council consists of 13 individual members. Members are appointed to a three-year term by the Governor. The board consists of:

  • Two members represent coldwater fishing
  • Two represent warmwater fishing
  • One member represents the commercial fishing industry
  • Three at-large members represent general fishing interests
  • Five members representing the Division of Wildlife Resources' management regions (one per region)

One additional non-voting, ex-officio representative from the Division serves as the Advisory Council's executive secretary. See a list of Blue Ribbon Advisory Council members.

Joining the Advisory Council

If you're interested joining the Advisory Council, contact an Advisory Council member or a regional Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatics employee. All nominations must be presented at an Advisory Council meeting and voted on by Council Members.

Nominees who receive a two-third majority approval must then submit an electronic application to the Executive Secretary. You can find more information about electronic application on the Director of Boards and Commissions website.

At this point, the Executive Secretary presents approved nominees to the Division Director. Applications that receive the Director's approval are submitted to the Director of Boards and Commissions for consideration and appointment by the Governor.

Want to learn more? Listen to the DWR "Wild" podcast!

In this episode, DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger and Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council Chair Herbert Ley talk about the Blue Ribbon Fisheries program in Utah — what it is, its purpose, and how these cream-of-the-crop waterbodies are selected and highlighted as some of the best fishing opportunities in Utah.

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