Tropic Reservoir

Image of Tropic Reservoir

Tropic Reservoir is a beautiful lake set in a ponderosa pine forest atop the Paunsaugunt Plateau. It can be readily fished from shore or small boats. Maximum water depth is 29 ft and average depth is 10 ft.

The reservoir was treated with rotenone in 1955, 1959, 1966, 1971, and 1978 to remove problem nongame species of fish. Winter carry over of trout has been a long-term problem, and for a long time it was believed that trout fishing could be improved by removing nongame fishes. The 1978 treatment with rotenone was conducted to remove redside shiners, but even after this, little benefit was gained. It was finally determined that severe winter water level draw-downs limit the fishery. There is no formal conservation pool to protect the sport fishery at this reservoir. Water rights in this drainage require that a specified amount of water be delivered downstream each year, rather than be stored in the reservoir, or diverted for irrigation near the town of Tropic. This requirement is accomplished by draining the reservoir to very low levels up to two times each winter.

The reservoir is annually stocked with catchable-size (10-inch) rainbow trout, which provide good fishing throughout the summer. In addition, brook trout fingerlings have been stocked in recent years with some success. Brook trout are more adept at over-wintering in harsh conditions than rainbow trout. Also, brown trout have become abundant in the East Fork Sevier River upstream from the reservoir. Some browns enter the reservoir, manage to survive winters in the inflow area when water levels are low, and grow to large sizes. Although these big brown trout are not abundant, they offer a trophy aspect to fishing Tropic Reservoir. A favorite method of local fishermen for brown trout consists of using dead redside shiners for bait. Prepared baits, lures, and flies work well for rainbow trout. Worms, flies, and small lures are good bets for brook trout.

Motels, stores, lodging, and gasoline are available nearby along highway U-12 and at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, at Tropic, and at Panguitch. Other local sport fishing can be found at Pine Lake, the East Fork Sevier River, Mammoth Creek, Panguitch Creek, and Panguitch Lake.

Latest fishing report

The reservoir should have safe ice. Access is possible with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Rainbow trout often don't overwinter well, but there are a few nice brown trout you can catch through the ice. (Last update 02-13-19)


  • Location: Southern Utah, Garfield County, near Bryce Canyon
  • Directions: 8 miles S of U-12 on FS-087
  • Type: Fishing
  • Size: 180 acres
  • Elevation: 7835 ft
  • Hours: No restrictions
  • Likely catch: Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
  • Possible catch: Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Tiger Trout
  • Regulations: To see what statewide or special regulations apply to this waterbody, please read the current Fishing Guidebook.
  • Site amenities: Paved boat ramp, fully developed Forest Service Campground
  • Handicap access: