are more fly fishing shops
in the Cache Valley than anywhere else in Utah, according to fishing
Steve Schmidt, author of Steve
No Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing in Utah.
The reason? A rich selection of quality trout fishing waters. Wild brown and cutthroat trout, as well as stocked rainbows, are found here in good numbers.
"A medium-sized piece of water by western standards, the Blacksmith Fork is, nevertheless, a diverse and challenging fishery," Schmidt explains.
"From a small, sub-alpine stream gaining volume as it cascades through the canyon to the quality freestone water of the lower river, it offers a variety of options for the fly fisher. There is even a small section with spring creek-like conditions above a small hydroelectric dam about halfway downstream."
Unfortunately, Blacksmith Fork has a history of being dewatered. In recent years with higher flows it has not been dewatered but it has a long history of total water removal during the summer irrigation season. Water users have the rights to the water and in dry years the stream for a few miles is dried up and fish become trapped in isolated pools. If there isn't any flow the water warms, oxygen is depleted and eventually the fish die.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources encourages anglers to salvage these fish for personal consumption. But the officials also urge people NOT to move these fish to other waters because of the threat of introducing diseases. It is illegal to move any live fish without a permit.
From US 89 south of Logan, turn toward the town of Hyrum. Follow the signs to Hardware Ranch. Hardware Ranch is at the top of Blacksmith Fork Canyon; from here you can head off in any direction.
Steve Schmidt, owner of the Western Rivers Fly Shop in Salt Lake City, offers his expert advice on 22 of Utah's best fly fishing waters.
This guidebook maps each waterway, from the red rock canyons of Antimony Creek in southern Utah to the gin-clear Weber River a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City. Tips on where to fish, what flies to use, season and limits are included along with Schmidt's personal ratings and commentary.
"Fly fishing is a very personal and subjective sport, and, consequently, everyone's expectations are different," Schmidt points out. "How does scenery and solitude stack up against number of hookups when rating a fishery? In these pages, I have tried to balance the quality versus quantity issue, but each rating is still colored by my own personal preferences."
The guide offers a full page chart of Utah fly fishing "Conditions By The Month," rating the quality of fishing on each of the water's month by month. The best month of the year to fly fish these waters in Utah?