Fishing and fun in central Utah
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Man holding channel catfish from a kayak at Utah Lake

Fishing and fun in central Utah

Tips for visiting Utah Lake, Mill Hollow Reservoir, Provo Canyon and more!

Jessica Horton
DWR Social Media Coordinator

As indicated by the place name, central Utah is right in the heart of the state. And there's no shortage of exciting things to do, from fishing and camping at one of the region's many amazing waterbodies, to finding great locally-owned restaurants and shops. Whether you're looking for a quick fishing trip close to a city or a more remote excursion, exploring central Utah — which includes most of Salt Lake, Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties — will be worth your while.

Here are some fun places to get outdoors and enjoy central Utah!

Go fish!

Utah Lake
Man holding channel catfish from a kayak at Utah Lake

Utah Lake is the state's largest freshwater lake, and it's a great place to catch channel catfish, walleye, white bass, black bass and several species of panfish. There are also plenty of public-access points for boating, sailing, canoeing or kayaking. This waterbody is a terrific spot for anglers of all ages, abilities and skill levels, because there really is a little something for everyone.

The June sucker is endemic to Utah Lake and its tributaries. This means it isn't found anywhere else in the world! This native Utah fish was previously listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, but recovery efforts have helped the June sucker population increase, and in 2021 it was reclassified as threatened. (This is a pretty big deal: Only 54 species total have been ESA downlisted, and of those, only six have been fish.) Seeing these rare fish makes for an exciting day on the water.

Northern pike were illegally introduced into Utah Lake and have been detrimental to the fishery and the other species there — including the June sucker. These fish are voracious predators that reproduce very quickly.

Luckily, anglers have been helping with northern pike removal efforts.

There's no harvest limit on northern pike, and if caught, they must be immediately removed from the water and killed unless tagged. If you catch a tagged northern pike, it should be released back into the water. The tagged fish are part of an ongoing study to monitor the northern pike's movement throughout the lake. This helps us with ongoing monitoring of the population and developing control programs in the future.

For more information about fishing rules, regulations and catch limits for the various fish species at Utah Lake, see the Fish Utah interactive map or the current Utah Fishing Guidebook.

Mill Hollow Reservoir and campground

If you're looking for something a little more remote, Mill Hollow Reservoir might be just your speed. This waterbody is great for anglers seeking trout, with convenient camping nearby.

It's about 12 miles southeast of Woodland, and just under an hour's drive from Heber. (A must-do: Stop into one of Heber's many small, family-run restaurants for a burger and thick milkshake.)

View of the mountains in the Mount Timpanogos wilderness area, near Cascade Springs

Stunning views near Cascade Springs, in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

For anglers who love the journey to camp as much as casting out a line when they get there, the beautiful drive through the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is a treat. Mill Hollow Reservoir is right next to a public campground run by the U.S. Forest Service, and the setting is gorgeous — the area is surrounded by lodgepole pine, aspen and fir trees. You'll come for the fishing but stay for the views!

Hiking and fun!

Bonneville Shoreline Trail
View of rocks and grass on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, near Utah Lake

Winding its way through the greater Salt Lake corridor is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Its current length is just over 100 miles, but it's planned to run from the Utah-Idaho border south to Nephi, Utah, when it's complete. It's named after ancient Lake Bonneville and follows the bench created by the freshwater prehistoric lake.

This trail is well maintained for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing. Some areas of the trail are also dog-friendly as long as your pet is leashed. Recreationalists will love the stunning views of the cities it passes, and also the unique Utah geography that it celebrates.

Provo Canyon and Lower Provo River
Boy holding a fish caught in the Lower Provo River

Provo Canyon and the lower Provo River area is a one-stop destination for fishing, hiking, camping or a scenic drive through a beautiful Utah canyon.

Along the road that winds its way up Provo Canyon (U.S. Highway 189), you can find the trailhead for Bridal Veil falls — a gorgeous waterfall hike — fly fish the popular lower Provo River (a Utah Blue Ribbon fishery) or make a side trip to Sundance Mountain Resort. It's pretty amazing that this miraculous pocket of nature is only minutes away from one of Utah's fastest-growing cities.

Downtown Provo

For a fun slice of Utah County that offers unique shopping and an abundance of food options, make sure to check out Downtown Provo — made up of the blocks surrounding Center Street and University Avenue. This college student hotspot really showcases Provo's classic charm. With restaurants, ice cream shops, local boutiques, and even karaoke or hatchet throwing, you won't have a hard time being entertained.

Stores on Center Street in Downtown Provo

Center Street in Downtown Provo.
Courtesy Getty Images

Plus, it doesn't hurt that it's only 20 minutes away from the shores of Utah Lake, and you can even access a few spots along the Provo River to fish right in town!

How was your trip?

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. Post a review of your most recent fishing trip to 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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