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View of clear water at Panguitch Lake in southern Utah, amid cloudy skies

Panguitch Lake break

Plan ahead for a fun weekend of fishing in beautiful southern Utah

Jessica Horton
DWR Social Media Coordinator

Want to plan a weekend excursion to some of Utah's most beautiful landscapes, complete with great fishing? Look no further! Part of how we work to improve fisheries — and help anglers have a fun and successful experience — is by making sure our waterbodies are great places for anglers to spend time in Utah's outdoors.

View of clear water at Panguitch Lake in southern Utah, amid cloudy skies

Panguitch Lake, a Blue Ribbon fishery in southern Utah.

In fact, we have over 40 Blue Ribbon fisheries that provide a wide variety of fishing and fun for the whole family.

Spring and early summer are a terrific time of year to fish in beautiful southern Utah. It's a perfect jaunt for anglers who want to kick off their boots at an overnight stay in the quaint town of Panguitch, or those who don't mind roughing it while camping in Dixie National Forest. It's also a convenient hop, skip and a jump over to famed Bryce Canyon National Park for some of their Insta-worthy views, or a quick visit to one of the several picturesque lakes in the region.

Go fish!

Panguitch Lake

This high-mountain Blue Ribbon fishery provides boat and shore angling opportunities for rainbow trout, Bear Lake cutthroat trout and tiger trout. In fact, it's said that the word Panguitch comes from a Paiute word meaning "big fish."

Man holding cutthroat trout at Panguitch Lake

You can now catch Bear Lake cutthroat trout and tiger trout at Panguitch Lake.

However, Panguitch Lake has struggled with its Utah chub population in the past, and fishing has traditionally been poor when there have been large numbers of these fish. Since treating the waterbody with rotenone in 2006 — and a successful introduction of predator species like Bear Lake cutthroat trout and tiger trout — we've been able to control Utah chub in this lake.

Today, angler catch rates for trout at Panguitch Lake are higher than average for the state, making this a great place for anglers of all abilities to fish. If you're planning to harvest some fish, please check on current regulations, bag limits and species-specific slot limits for Panguitch Lake in the current Utah Fishing Guidebook. Those rules — as well as stocking updates, conditions and tips for anglers — are also available on our interactive Fish Utah map.

And, if you'd like to camp near the lake for an overnight stay, the U.S. Forest Service operates several campgrounds in the area.

Navajo Lake
Looking out at Navajo Lake covered by a cloudy sky

About a 45-minute drive from Panguitch Lake, Navajo Lake — originally called "Pa-cu-ay," meaning Cloud Lake, by the area's Paiute people — is a great spot for fishing and other outdoor activities. The shores of Navajo Lake have campgrounds that are run by the U.S. Forest Service that provide great waterfront camping opportunities. Where better to cook your freshly-caught fish than in your cozy campsite right by the shore?

Navajo Lake has also had issues with its Utah chub population, and was treated with rotenone in the fall of 2021. It has since been restocked with rainbow trout, splake, tiger trout, cutthroat trout and tiger muskie.

Summer weed growth at this lake can make shore fishing a bit frustrating in some spots, but angler success can be improved by fishing from a small boat, canoe or float tube. All of these can typically be launched from the shore by the campground.

No matter where you plan to fish, check our Fish Utah map that is updated seasonally with our biologists' recommendations and tips for fishing at specific waterbodies throughout the state. Also, don't forget your valid Utah fishing or combination license (for all anglers ages 12 and older), and check on current bag limits and regulations in the Utah Fishing Guidebook.

Nearby fun

Panguitch
View of Main Street in Panguitch, Utah, with several old building facades

The town of Panguitch is just under a half-hour drive from Panguitch Lake and less than an hour drive from Navajo Lake. As the county seat of Garfield County, it's full of historic homes and buildings, great local eats and lodging. And Panguitch's quaint, historic Main Street is definitely worth checking out on a warm summer evening stroll.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the West's most famous and photo-worthy landmarks for a reason. You'll see spectacular red rock vistas right out of a movie (or Mars lander footage). And there's tons to do, from casual roadside viewing to challenging hikes for serious outdoor enthusiasts.

The park can be busy at certain times of the year, but if you'd like to add this bucket-list national park to your weekend trip, it's only a 30-minute drive from Panguitch.

Panoramic view of Bryce Canyon, showing red cliffs and trees
Dixie National Forest
A tent pitched by a tree in Dixie National Forest

Dixie National Forest is an outdoor recreator's paradise. At 170 miles wide, the area contains not only the previously-mentioned Navajo Lake, but also the Markagunt OHV System, a network of off-roading trails that weave through forested areas as well as scenic meadows.

This national forest is also home to plenty of hiking trails — many of which allow dogs — with a variety of difficulty levels and terrain. And if you'd like to carve out a little time during your weekend for mountain biking, Dixie National Forest has thousands of miles of trails and roads that are perfect for feeling the breeze as you bike through this beautiful area.

Learn more about fishing opportunities throughout our state by visiting the Fish Utah interactive map!

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton began working for the DWR in 2021 and has enjoyed it ever since. She has a lot of love for Utah's wildlife and outdoors, so getting to learn about and participate in outreach for both of those things has been a blast. When she's not working, she enjoys eating pizza, watching reality TV and parenting her two cats.

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