River: Weber River Utah – an accessible hidden gem

May 8, 2019

You’ve probably heard of the Provo River but maybe the Weber River has evaded your radar. This river has avoided the majority of attention over the years yet it flows from headwaters and through mountains that are otherwise quite busy with visitors just outside Salt Lake City, UT. While the whole river is dauntingly large, there are trout to be found on all stretches and you’re much less likely to encounter crowded spaces compared to other nearby trout streams.

 

Location/Geography

Utah’s Weber River trickles to life in the Uinta Mountains. These are the same mountains which rub shoulders with the world-famous Alta and Snowbird ski resorts and host the Sundance Film Festival each year. The surrounding mountains are also home to several other famous rivers such as the Provo.

This river runs through elevations from 6,400ft to 4,300ft in climates that are often called “high desert”. You can thank the annual snowmelt for the fish-giving waters of the Weber since this river drains somewhere between 100 – 200 square miles of mountain wilderness each year. That melting water brings us a cold and clear reliable run each year.

Flying into Salt Lake City gives you many options to visit the Weber, with the longest drives being about an hour away. Hint: Plan your flight and drive to avoid rush hour traffic in and around the arteries of Salt Lake.

 

Aquatic Species

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Brook Trout
  • Grayling

 

Food by Season

Bug – Griffith’s Golden Stoner

Season – March through June

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Scud

Season – October through March

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Magic Midge

Season – October through March

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Prince Nymph

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Shaggy Wire Caddis

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Mayfly Nymphs

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Tughead Stonefly

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Copper John

Season – July through September

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Woolly Bugger

Season – April through October

Sizes – 16 – 20

Bug – Elk Hair Caddis

Season – July through August

Sizes – 16 – 20

Fishing Techniques

Fish the Headwaters: This remote area is so wild and secluded that lost hikers have been known to perish. While caution is obviously warranted, you know when it takes a shuttle drive and an hour-long hike you’re unlikely to run into many other anglers. Try fishing the headwaters region if you’re agile, skilled at hiking, and good with navigating to hard-to-reach holes.

Grab a Membership: Maybe an unusual suggestion, but the private Thousand Peaks Ranch offers $1 lunches for members who are willing to cough up serious cash for an annual membership fee. Yeah, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg for an annual membership but it might just be worth it for curated access to some of the easiest Brook Trout, Cutthroat and sometimes Rainbow Trout.

Fish the Deep Pockets: Through the semi-private “Cabin” region you can fish near million dollar homes. In areas, these homes have altered the course of the river. Look for deep pockets and undercut edges where you can swing a nymph on an indicator. You never know when you might entice a Cutthroat to take a bite!

Target Whitefish in Winter: Try throwing a scud or a midge for wintertime Whitefish that like to hang out down in Weber Canyon. The lower elevation means better cold weather access than some of the higher areas of this river.

Rod: Use 4-5 wt rods upriver and head downriver to find fish ready to bend 5-6 wt rods.

 

Summary

Around Salt Lake City the mountains and streams are gorgeous, remote and yet simultaneously easy to access. Weber River changes its face from the headwaters which can be outright dangerous to reach at times to the simple access banks of Weber Canyon where fishing stays strong even in the winter.

Nearby rivers seem crowded compared to the Weber but the fishing is often just as optimistic. It’s really hard to imagine a better river to experience classic Western style fishing in a gorgeous setting.

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub to get ready for your upcoming Weber River expedition! You’ll get seasonal boxes filled with time-tested and angler-proven bugs that just work in these waters. Click here to learn more.

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