General Fishing Regulations
Free Fishing Day: Free Fishing Day will be held on June 10, 2023. This annual event is a great opportunity to share fishing fun with a friend or family member.
Regulation changes for 2023: The Utah Wildlife Board approved regulation changes for several waterbodies across the state, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023. Carefully review the Rules for specific waters section for more details. Visit bit.ly/2023UTfish to see the full list of approved regulation changes and amendments.
Special regulations removed: The board also removed some special regulations previ- ously in place at Brown Duck Basin, Jones Hole Creek, Lost Creek Reservoir, Strawberry Reservoir tributaries, West Fork Duchesne River and Wolf Creek. In addition, the board removed Green River Golf Course Pond from the list of commu- nity fishing waters. If a waterbody is not listed in the Rules for specific waters section, statewide limits and rules apply.
Roundtail sportfish status change: In 2022, the Utah Wildlife Board approved changes to the roundtail chub’s status, including classify- ing this species as a sportfish. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, roundtail may now be caught in portions of the following waters: Escalante River, McElmo Creek, Colorado River, Dolores River, Green River, San Rafael River and White River.
Changing water conditions in Utah: Low water levels are top of mind for many Utahns after several years of statewide drought. Many of the waterbody regulation changes you’ll
see in this year’s guidebook are a result of an evolving management strategy, with the goal of reducing the number of emergency regula- tion changes each year. Learn more about how drought and fluctuating water levels impact Utah’s fisheries—and what we’re doing about it.
Possible emergency changes: Even with proactive measures, the Division may need to make emergency fishing changes at some of the state’s waterbodies due to drought conditions or other factors (such as construction or dam repairs) in 2023.
Stay up to date on these changes by visiting wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks and then select- ing “View guidebook updates” next to the 2023 Utah Fishing Guidebook.
Report poachers: Use the UTDWR law enforcement app or text 847411 from your mobile device to report wildlife-related crimes. For details about these and other options, visit wildlife.utah.gov/utip.
License purchase options: Fishing and combination licenses are available at wildlife.utah.gov and from license agents and Division offices. You can also call 1-800-221- 0659 to purchase your license by phone. (There’s an additional $2 transaction fee for each item you buy over the phone.)
Community fisheries: You can learn more about Utah’s dozens of community fisheries by visiting wildlife.utah.gov/cf.
Fish throughout the year: Utah has a year-round fishing season for most waterbod- ies. It runs from Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2023.
Utah Cutthroat Slam: The Utah Cutthroat Slam has raised more than $80,000 for native trout conservation in Utah since its launch in 2016. For information about the slam, visit www.utahcutthroatslam.org.
Child support law: There are restrictions on fishing and hunting license purchasers for nonpayment of child support. For additional information—or to arrange a payment sched- ule—please contact the Office of Recovery Services at 801-536-8500.
Online application for fishing con- tests and tournaments: If you would like to hold a fishing contest or tournament, you can apply to do so online by visiting dwrapps.utah.gov/fishingtournament. For more information about fishing contests in Utah.
View and submit Utah fishing records: You can view all of Utah’s fishing records on- line—or download the forms to submit a new record—at wildlife.utah.gov/record-fish.
Statewide kokanee salmon closure in the fall: Anglers may not possess kokanee salmon at any waterbody statewide from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.
Quagga mussel threat: Quagga mussels continue to spread within Lake Powell. For details on the situation at Lake Powell and how you can help protect your boat, please visit the “Boating at Lake Powell?” information page at stdofthesea.utah.gov.
Tagged northern pike: If you catch a tagged northern pike at Utah Lake, you must release it back into the lake. Any untagged northern pike caught at Utah Lake must be killed immedi- ately.
Corrections: If errors are found in the printed guidebook, the Division will cor- rect them in the online version. Visit wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks to view all of the Division’s guidebooks and proclamations.
Protection from discrimination: The Division receives federal financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior and its bureaus prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility, or if you desire further information, please visit www.doi.gov/pmb/eeo/public-civil-rights.cfm.
Private lands: The Division cannot guarantee access to any private land. Under certain circumstances, you must obtain written permission from the landowner or the landowner’s authorized representative before accessing private lands. For more information, see Trespassing.
Division funding: The Division is mostly funded by the sale of fishing and hunting licenses and through federal aid made possible by an excise tax on the sale of fishing rods and other fishing-related equipment.
LICENSES AND PERMITS
Utah Code §§ 23-19 and 23-20-3
Obtaining a fishing license is the first step to fishing in Utah. The type of license you should purchase depends on many variables: how old you are, how often you want to fish, where you want to fish and whether you’re a Utah resident. (To determine if you are a resident, see the definition on page 71.) This section provides information about the different licenses and permits that are available.
Free Fishing Day
Utah Code § 23-19-1 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-3
The one day you don’t need a license to fish in Utah is Saturday, June 10, 2023, which is Free Fishing Day. Everyone in Utah can fish for free that day, but please remember that all of the state’s other fishing laws and rules still apply.
Under 12 years of age
Utah Code § 23-19-21 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-3
If you’re under 12 years of age, you do not need a fishing license to fish in Utah. You can fish without a license, use two poles, use a setline and take a full daily limit.
12 years of age and older
Utah Code § 23-19-21 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-3
If you’re 12 years of age or older, you must purchase a fishing license or a combination license to fish in Utah. You can choose from a variety of licenses:
- Three-day fishing licenses allow you to fish for three consecutive days
- Seven-day fishing licenses allow you to fish for seven consecutive days.
- 365-day fishing licenses allow you to fish for 365 consecutive days, including the day you buy the license.
- Multi-year fishing licenses allow you to fish for up to five years.
- 365-day combination licenses allow you to fish, hunt small game and apply for hunting permits.
- Multi-year combination licenses allow you to fish, hunt small game and apply for hunting permits for up to five years.
When you buy a combination license or a multi-year license, you also get a price break compared to buying your hunting and fishing licenses separately.
Fishing and combination licenses are avail- able at wildlife.utah.gov and from license agents and Division offices. You can also call 1-800-221-0659 to purchase your license by phone.
You must have your license with you while you’re fishing, and you cannot alter your license or transfer it to another person.
Keep in mind that you can use the Utah Hunting and Fishing app to legally carry fishing licenses on a phone or tablet for all the mem- bers of your family. To download the app, visit wildlife.utah.gov/mobileapp.
License exemptions for youth groups and organizations
Are you a scout leader or a mentor for a youth group? Many groups can hold fishing events that don’t require a fish- ing license for participants age 15 and younger. To determine if you are eligible and to complete the license-exemption form, visit wildlife.utah.gov/youth-org.
Fishing across state lines and reciprocal fishing permits
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-5
Utah shares Bear Lake, Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge Reservoir with neighboring states. To simplify the process of fishing across state lines, Utah has entered into the following agreements with Idaho, Arizona andWyoming:
If you have a valid Utah or Idaho fishing or combination license—whether you are a resident or nonresident—you may fish both the Utah and Idaho portions of the lake, as
long as you follow the angling regulations that apply to the state where you are fishing.
It is your responsibility to know and follow each state’s laws and rules for Bear Lake.
Reminder: Even if you are licensed in both states, you may only take one daily limit each day.
If you have a valid Utah or Arizona fishing or combination license—whether you are a resident or nonresident—you may fish both the Utah and Arizona portions of the lake, as long as you follow the angling regulations that apply to the state where you are fishing.
It is your responsibility to know and follow each state’s laws and rules for Lake Powell.
Reminder: Even if you are licensed in both states, you may only take one daily limit each day.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
To fish across state lines at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, you must have a valid resident fishing license from one state and a reciprocal fishing permit from the other state.
For example, if you buy a Utah resident fishing license, you can fish the Utah portion of Flaming Gorge. After buying your Utah license, if you decide you also want to fish the Wyoming portion of the reservoir, you must buy a Wyoming reciprocal fishing permit.
You can also choose to purchase a Wyoming nonresident fishing license.
Nonresident anglers: If you are not a resident of either Utah or Wyoming - and you want to fish all of Flaming Gorge Reservoir - you must purchase nonresident fishing licenses from both states. This change has been in effect since 2019.
For more information on obtaining a Wyo- ming reciprocal fishing permit or a Wyoming fishing license, visit the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at wgfd.wyo.gov.
Utah reciprocal fishing permits are avail- able at wildlife.utah.gov and from authorized license agents and Division offices.
It is your responsibility to know and follow each state’s laws and rules for Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Please see Flaming Gorge Reservoir on page 30 for the laws and rules specific to that fishery.
Reminder: Even if you are licensed in both states, you may only take one daily limit each day.
More information about reciprocal permits
- Utah reciprocal fishing permits are valid for 365 days from the day you buy them.
- You must sign your name on your recip- rocal permit the same way you signed your name on your fishing license.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-58
If you would like to hold a fishing contest or tournament, you can do so by applying online. To apply, please visit dwrapps.utah.gov/fishingtournament.
Reminder: The Utah Wildlife Board approved substantial changes to Utah’s fishing contests that went into effect in 2021. The changes streamlined the rules and removed most of the discrepancies in the contests for warmwater and coldwater species.
To see fishing contest rules, please review Utah Admin. Rule R657- 58 at wildlife.utah.gov/rules, visit
wildlife.utah.gov/fishingcontests or contact the nearest Division office.
If you plan to hold a fishing contest at a state park or federally-administered
waterbody, you should also check with the appropriate land management agency to see if there are any additional rules that apply to the area.
Licenses for residents with special needs
Utah Code § 23-19-36 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-12-3
If you’re a Utah resident and have certain physical or mental disabilities—or a terminal illness—you may qualify for a free fishing license. A child who has been placed in the custody of the state by a court order may also qualify. To learn if you qualify, please see wildlife.utah.gov/disabled or contact your near- est Division office.
Discounted licenses for disabled veterans
To thank our servicemen and service- women, the Division offers discounted fishing licenses to Utah veterans who were disabled in the line of duty.
The discounted license is $12—in- stead of the $34 full price—and the license is good for 365 days from the day you buy it. Discounted licenses are available online or from all Division offices.
To purchase a discounted license, you must be a Utah resident and have a qualifying service-connected disability of at least 20 percent.
To apply for a license online, please visit wildlife.utah.gov/disabledvet and complete the online form. If you need assistance, please call the nearest Divi- sion office.
If you choose to visit a Division office to purchase your license, simply bring the verification of service-connected dis- ability documentation that the Depart- ment of Veterans Affairs issued to you.
You can find additional resources for hunters and anglers with disabilities at wildlife.utah.gov/disabled-access.
Utah Code § 23-20-3
There are laws and rules that govern fishing in Utah. By obeying these regulations and be- ing an ethical angler, you will help keep fishing great for everyone. Please be familiar with the following general rules for taking fish and crayfish. You’ll find some exceptions to these rules in the Rules for specific waters.
Taking game fish
You may take game fish using only the following methods:
Utah Admin. Rules R657-13-6, R657-13-7 and R657-13-11
If you are under age 12 or have a valid Utah fishing or combination license, you can fish with two poles at any water in the state during its open fishing season. You may keep only one daily limit of fish. Using a second pole does not allow you to keep two daily limits of fish. You may use additional lines or hooks when you are:
- Fishing for crayfish. Please see page 17 of this guide for more information about fishing for crayfish.
- Using a setline. See page 14 to learn more about fishing with a setline.
- Ice fishing at Flaming Gorge. Please see page 30 for the rules specific to Flaming Gorge.
While fishing, you must be within sight of the equipment you’re fishing with (this distance cannot exceed 100 feet). The only exception to this rule is if you have a setline permit. Please see page 13 for more informa- tion about fishing with a setline.
There are a few additional angling rules to keep in mind:
- No artificial lure may have more than three hooks.
- No line may have attached to it more than three baited hooks, three artificial flies or three artificial lures. (This rule also applies to those who are fishing for crayfish.) Please see page 14 of this guide for more information about fishing with a setline.
- When you’re fishing through the ice, you may not fish through a hole that’s more than 12 inches wide. The only exceptions are at Bear Lake, Flaming Gorge Reser- voir and Fish Lake. For more information about ice fishing at these waters, visit the Rules for specific waters section that begins on page 25.
Angling is permitted from boats and float tubes—and other motorized and nonmotorized watercraft—on any water where such use is authorized. There are some waters, however, where you cannot fish from a float tube or a boat (see page 15 for more information).
Keep in mind that other agencies may have placed additional restrictions on the use of float tubes and boats at certain Utah waters.
How to measure a fish
- Place the fish on its side with the jaw closed.
- Squeeze the tail fin together or turn it so you obtain the maximum overall length.
- Measure a straight line from the tip of the snout to the extreme tip of the tail fin.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-12
You may legally use or possess corn while fishing anywhere in Utah where bait is permitted.
While you are fishing, it is unlawful to:
- Use or possess live baitfish.
- Use or possess tiger salamanders (live or dead).
- Use or possess any bait—including PowerBait or scented jigs—where prohibited.
- Use or possess artificial baits that are commercially imbedded or covered with fish or fish parts
- Use or possess bait in the form of fresh or frozen fish or fish parts except as provided below:
- Dead Bonneville cisco may be used as bait only in Bear Lake.
- Dead yellow perch may be used as bait only in the Lower Bear River from Cutler Reservoir to Great Salt Lake, and in Big Sand Wash, Deer Creek, Echo, Fish Lake, Gunnison, Hyrum, Johnson, Jordanelle, Mantua, Mill Meadow, Newton, Pineview, Red Fleet, Rockport, Starvation, Utah Lake, Willard Bay and Yuba reservoirs.
- Dead white bass may be used as bait only in Utah Lake and the Jordan River.
- Dead burbot from Flaming Gorge may be used as bait only in Flaming Gorge.
- Dead shad from Lake Powell may be used as bait only in Lake Powell. It is illegal to remove dead shad from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
- Dead striped bass from Lake Powell may be used as bait or chum only in Lake Powell.
- Dead, fresh or frozen saltwater species, including sardines and anchovies, may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
- Utah chub and common carp may be used as bait anywhere bait is permitted.
- Dead mountain sucker, white sucker, Utah sucker, redside shiner, speckled dace, mottled sculpin, fathead minnow (all color variants, including rosy red minnows),
- The eggs of any species of fish caught in Utah, except prohibited fish, may be used where bait is permitted. You may not, however, take or use eggs from fish that are being released.
You may only use live crayfish for bait if you are on the water where the crayfish were captured. It is unlawful to transport live crayfish away from the water where they were captured.
Reminder: You may use bait—without hooks—to catch crayfish in waters where fishing with bait is prohibited. You may not, however, catch fish using bait in waters where bait is prohibited.
You may use commercially prepared and chemically treated baitfish or their parts as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
Manufactured, human-made items that may not be digestible—including items that have been chemically treated with food stuffs, chemical fish attractants or feeding stimulants—may not be used where bait is prohibited.
Both PowerBait and scented jigs are con- sidered to be bait, and they may not be used where bait is prohibited.
If the Utah Wildlife Board has declared that a water is infested with an aquatic invasive species (e.g., quagga or zebra mussels)—or the water is subject to a closure order or control plan—you may not transport any species of fish (live or dead), including baitfish, from that water to use in any other water. To determine whether a water is infested, visit wildlife.utah.gov/affected-waters.html
Restrictions on taking fish and crayfish
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-11
You can use artificial light while fishing, but not when you are underwater spearfish- ing. There are two exceptions:
- If you’re underwater spearfishing for burbot at Flaming Gorge.
- If you’re underwater spearfishing for common carp anywhere in the state.
You may not obstruct a waterway or use any chemical, explosive, electricity, poison, firearm, pellet gun or archery equipment to take fish or crayfish. The only exceptions are found in Taking Nongame Fish, Fishing with archery tackle and crossbows and Rules for specific waters, Lake Powell.
You may not take or land a fish by snag- ging or gaffing, and you may not have a gaff in your possession while fishing. A fish hooked anywhere other than the mouth must be released immediately. The only exceptions are at Lake Powell (where you may use a gaff to land striped bass), Bear Lake (where you may snag Bonneville cisco) and any waterbody where there is a catch-and-kill regulation for the fish you snag.
Chumming is prohibited on all waters except Lake Powell. Please see the Rules for specific waters, Lake Powell on page 33 for more information about chumming at Lake Powell.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-8
Setlines are lines that are anchored to a non-moving object and that are not attached to a fishing pole.
Setline permits are available for $20 at wildlife.utah.gov and from license agents and Division offices.
A setline permit is a 365-day permit. If you are 12 or older, you must also have an unexpired three-day, seven-day, 365-day or multi-year Utah fishing or combination license in order to use a setline permit.
If you obtain a setline permit, and a Utah fishing or combination license, you can use a setline to take fish from the following waters: Bear River proper (downstream from the Idaho state line, including Cutler Reservoir and outlet canals); Little Bear River below Valley View Highway (SR-30); Malad River; and Utah Lake. These are the only waters where use of a setline is allowed.
The following rules apply to setline fishing:
- You may not fish with more than one setline.
- A setline may not contain more than 15 hooks.
- When fishing with a setline, you must be within 100 yards of the surface or the bank of water you’re fishing from.
- One end of your setline must be attached to a non-moving object that is not attached to a fishing pole. Your setline must also have a legible tag attached to it that includes your name, address and setline permit number.
- While fishing with a setline, you can also fish with up to two fishing poles.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-10
You can use a handheld dipnet to land game fish that you’ve legally taken by angling. How- ever, you may not use a handheld dipnet as a primary method of taking game fish unless you are at Bear Lake, where you may use a dipnet to take Bonneville cisco.
When fishing for Bonneville cisco at Bear Lake, the opening of your dipnet may not exceed 18 inches. If you’re dipnetting through the ice at Bear Lake, there is no restriction on the size of the hole you can drill in the ice. Please see Rules for specific waters, Bear Lake on page 25 for more information.
You may also use a handheld dipnet to take crayfish and nongame fish, except prohibited fish. For a list of fish you are prohibited to posesess.
Fishing with archery tackle and crossbows
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-14
Fishing with archery tackle—also called bowfishing—is allowed in most Utah water- bodies but only for nonprotected, nongame fish such as common carp. And within that limitation, there are waters where you may bowfish for common carp only (see page 18 for details).
In most areas, bowfishing is allowed at night with the use of spotlights. There are a few no- table exceptions: The tributaries of Utah Lake are closed to bowfishing at night (sunset to sunrise) from May 6 until 6 a.m. on July 8. A few other lakes, including Lake Powell, have closed areas. If you’re wondering about a specific waterbody, see the Rules for specific waters section that begins on page 25 or call the Division office that manages that particular fishery.
Using a crossbow
You may use a crossbow to take common carp at any open water statewide. You may not use a crossbow to take any other species of fish.
Follow local ordinances
Please remember that archery tackle and crossbows are considered weapons and cannot be discharged within 600 feet of a structure. Also, local communities may have ordinances against the discharge of weapons within city limits. If possible, please check with your local city office to make sure you are following all the rules.
If you have additional questions about bowfishing or the places you can bowfish, please contact your local Division office.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-9
Underwater spearfishing hours are from official sunrise to official sunset. It is illegal to use artificial light while underwater spearfish- ing, and free shafting is prohibited.
The waters listed below are open to under- water spearfishing for game fish from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.
Unless otherwise noted, you may use spearfishing to take any legal species within the daily limits, length limits and seasonal closures that apply to each waterbody:
- Big Sand Wash Reservoir (Duchesne County)
- Blue Lake, for pacu and tilapia only (Tooele County)
- Brown’s Draw Reservoir (Duchesne County)
- Causey Reservoir (Weber County)
- Electric Lake (Emery County)
- Grantsville Reservoir (Tooele County)
- Newcastle Reservoir, for wipers and rainbow trout only (Iron County)
- Porcupine Reservoir (Cache County)
- Recapture Reservoir (San Juan County)
- Sand Lake (Summit County)
- Smith and Morehouse Reservoir (Summit County)
- Willard Bay Reservoir (Box Elder County)
- Yuba Reservoir (Juab and Sanpete counties)
Additional spearfishing rules
There are a few exceptions to spearfishing regulations:
- At Fish Lake (Sevier County), you may underwater spearfish for all fish species from 6 a.m. on June 4 until official sunset on Sept. 9.
- At Flaming Gorge (Daggett County), you can underwater spearfish for burbot from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 24 hours per day. You can also use artificial light while spearfishing for burbot at this reservoir. Please see page 30 for rules specific to Flaming Gorge.
All possession limits and seasonal closures apply, regardless of the angling technique you use. (This includes the statewide seasonal closure on kokanee salmon from Sept. 10 to Nov. 30, 2023.)
At all waters open to angling—during their open seasons—you can underwater spearfish for common carp.
Restrictions on spearfishing for bass
The waters listed below are open to underwater spearfishing for game fish from
Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, but you may not use spearfishing to take largemouth and smallmouth bass from April 1 through June 24, 2023:
- Deer Creek Reservoir (Wasatch County)
- East Canyon Reservoir (Morgan County)
- Echo Reservoir (Summit County)
- Flaming Gorge Reservoir (Daggett County)
- Lake Powell (Garfield, Kane and San Juan counties)
- Pineview Reservoir, except closed year round to the take of tiger muskie (Weber County)
- Red Fleet Reservoir (Uintah County)
- Rockport Reservoir (Summit County)
- Starvation Reservoir (Duchesne County)
- Steinaker Reservoir (Uintah County)
When you are spearfishing for bass at the above waterbodies, all daily limits and length limits apply.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-19
All of the state’s fish hatcheries are closed to fishing, including the warmwater fish hatch- ery at the Lee Kay Public Shooting Center.
All of the state’s waterfowl management areas are closed to fishing, unless they’re posted open to fishing or they’re listed as open to fishing in Rules for specific waters that begin on page 25.All national wildlife refuges within Utah are also closed to fishing, unless declared open by the managing authority.
Utah Code §§ 23-20-14 and 23-20-3.5
While fishing or engaging in wildlife- related activities, you may not—without permission—enter or remain on privately owned land that is:
- Properly posted
- Fenced or enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders
In addition, you may not:
- Enter or remain on private land when directed not to do so by the owner or a person acting for the owner.
- Obstruct any entrance or exit to private property.
“Cultivated land” is land that is readily identifiable as land whose soil is loosened or broken up for the raising of crops, land used for the raising of crops, or a pasture that is artificially irrigated.
“Permission” means written authorization from the owner or person in charge to enter upon private land that is cultivated or properly posted. Permission must include all of the following details:
- The signature of the owner or person in charge
- The name of the person being given permission
- The appropriate dates
- A general description of the land “Properly posted”means that signs
prohibiting trespass—or bright yellow, bright orange or fluorescent paint—are clearly displayed at all corners, on fishing streams crossing property lines, and on roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the land. Or, they are displayed in a manner that is visible to a person in the area.
You may not post private property you do not own or legally control or land that is open to the public as provided by UtahCode
§ 23-21-4. In addition, it is unlawful to take protected wildlife or its parts while trespassing in violation of Utah Code § 23-20-14.
You are guilty of a class B misdemeanor if you violate any provision described in this section. Your license, tag or permitprivileges may also be suspended.
Native American Trust Lands
If you’re fishing on land that belongs to any of the Native American tribes in Utah, you must observe tribal regulations. These regula- tions are available from the Native American tribe that owns the land.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-15
If you’re under the age of 12, you do not need a license to fish for crayfish. If you’re 12 years of age or older, you must have a valid Utah fishing or combination license to fish for crayfish.
You may take crayfish for personal, noncommercial purposes at any body of water where there’s an open fishing season. You may not take crayfish if the fishing season at that water is closed.
You may take crayfish by hand or with a trap, dipnet, liftnet, handline, pole or seine. You must also obey all of the following rules:
- You may not use game fish or their parts for bait, or use any substance that is illegal for fishing.
- Seines (nets) may not exceed 10 feet in length or width.
- You may not use more than five lines, and only two of those lines can have hooks attached. (See the Angling section on page 11 for details.) On the lines without hooks, simply tie your bait to the line so the crayfish can grasp the bait with its claw.
- Reminder: You may use bait—with- out hooks—to catch crayfish in waters where fishing with bait is prohibited. (You may not, however, catch fish using bait in waters where bait is prohibited.)
- You may not transport live crayfish away from the body of water where you captured them.
For additional information about catching and preparing crayfish, visit wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/crayfish.php.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-13
Possession of the following nongame fish is prohibited. If you catch any of these fish, you must release them immediately:
- Bluehead sucker
- Colorado pikeminnow
- Flannelmouth sucker
- Gizzard shad (except at Lake Powell, where you may possess dead shad and use them as bait)
- Grass carp
- Humpback chub
- June sucker
- Least chub
- Northern leatherside chub
- Razorback sucker
- Southern leatherside chub
- Virgin chub
- Virgin spinedace
Taking nongame fish
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-14 and R657-12-8
If you have a valid Utah fishing or combination license, you may take nongame fish—except those listed in the Prohibited Fish section above—for personal, noncommercial purposes, as long as you’re fishing at a body of water during its open fishing season.
To take nonprohibited nongame fish, you may use angling, traps, archery, dipnets, cast nets, liftnets, seines or a handheld spear from above the surface of the water.
When using these methods, please remember the following rules:
- Seines (nets) may not exceed 10 feet in length or width.
- Cast nets may not exceed 10 feet in diameter (a 5-foot radius).
- Nongame fish that are legal to take must either be released or killed immedi- ately after you remove them from the water.You may not leave them on the shoreline.
Underwater spearfishing for nongame fish (other than common carp) is only allowed at the waters listed on page 15.
You may use a crossbow only if you’re tak- ing common carp.
Taking common carp
You may use a variety of techniques—in- cluding angling, traps, archery, dipnets, cast nets, liftnets, seines, crossbow, a handheld spear from above the surface of the water, or underwater spearfishing—to take common carp in any water during its open fishing season.
For more information on bowfishing rules, see page 14.
You may also use artificial lights while bowfishing for common carp.
Common carp are the only nongame fish you may take in the following waters:
- Ash Creek
- Beaver Dam Wash
- Colorado River
- Diamond Fork
- Duchesne River (from the Myton SR-40 bridge to the confluence with the Green River)
- Fort Pierce Wash
- Green River (from the Colorado state line in Browns Park upstream to Flaming Gorge Dam, including Gorge Creek, a tributary that enters the Green River at Little Hole)
- Green River (from the confluence with the Colorado River upstream to the Colorado state line in Dino- saur NationalMonument)
- Hobble Creek
- La Verkin Creek
- Main Canyon Creek (tributary to Wallsburg Creek)
- Provo River (below Deer Creek Dam)
- Raft River (from the Idaho state line, including all tributaries)
- San Juan River
- Santa Clara River (from Pine Valley Reservoir downstream to the confluence with the Virgin River)
- Snake Valley waters (west and north of US-6 and the part of US-6 and US-50 in Millard and Juab counties)
- Spanish Fork River
- Thistle Creek
- Virgin River (main stem and the north and east forks)
- Weber River
- White River (Uintah County)
- Yellow Creek
Taking brine shrimp
Many people who visit the Great Salt Lake want to take some of the lake’s brine shrimp home with them. You may take brine shrimp from the lake without a fishing license, but you may not take more than one gallon in a 7-day period.
Utah’s boating laws and rules
Boaters have the responsibility to practice and advocate safe and ethical use of our waterways. If you’re planning to take your boat out on Utah waters, you should take the following safety measures:
Wear your life jacket. Utah law requires those under 13 to wear their life jacket when on a boat, and it is recommended everyone wear one.
Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to return.
Carry the required boating safety equipment. For a detailed list of safety equipment, visit boating.utah.gov.
Be courteous. While you are above a wake speed, keep your boat at least 150 feet away from other boats, people in the water, shoreline anglers, launch ramps, docks and designated swimming areas.
By completing a Utah Boat Course, you may reduce your boat insurance premiums. For additional boating information, visit boating.utah.gov.
How to report new fishing records
You can see the current list of fishing records - or download the forms you need to submit a new record by - visiting wildlife.utah.gov/record-fish.html.
The list of Utah fishing records is extensive and changes multiple times each year. To ensure accuracy, that list is now available online only.
Before you launch a boat at any wa- terbody, be sure to check with local, state or federal agencies about any watercraft restrictions that may exist.
Regulations differ from one water to another, depending on which munici- pality or agency is in charge. It’s your responsibility to learn and follow the rules for a particular water.
You can view a list of watercraft re- strictions at wildlife.utah.gov/watercraft.
Stream access in Utah
In recent years, Utah’s stream access laws have changed multiple times as a result of legislation, litigation and judicial rulings. That may continue to be the case in the years to come.
The Division is committed to upholding the laws—however they change—and wants to help anglers understand them. For more informa- tion and answers to common questions about stream access in Utah, please visit wildlife.utah.gov/streamaccess.
Ongoing quagga mussel threat at Lake Powell
Quagga mussels continue to spread in Lake Powell, and our technicians rou- tinely find mussels and shells on anchors and in sea strainers. We are working with the National Park Service to take extra steps to protect other Utah waterbodies.
One of the measures in place at Lake Powell is a large, hot-water dip tank that immerses entire watercraft to speed up the decontamination process.
If you plan to boat at Lake Powell, be prepared to complete the inspection and decontamination process. We appreciate yourpatience.
For details on what’s changed at Lake Powell and how you can help protect your boat, see the “Boating at Lake Powell?” information page at stdofthesea.utah.gov.
POSSESSION AND TRANSPORTATION
Utah Code § 23-20-3
Before you start catching fish or crayfish, it’s important to know how many you’re allowed to keep, take home or donate to someone else. Be sure to read this section carefully—and then double check the Rules for specific waters section that begins on page 25—so you don’t miss any special regulations that may apply to the waterbody you’re fishing.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-19
Utah’s general fish and crayfish season is Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Fish may be caught by angling or setline 24 hours a day. Underwater spearfishing is allowed from official sunrise to official sunset.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-19
This section provides general rules for fishing in Utah. Many waters have localized and specific rules, which are listed in Rules for specific waters beginning on page 25.
On waters that have a specific rule, that rule takes precedence over the general rules.
You may possess a legal daily limit of dead game fish or crayfish as long as you have a valid fishing or combination license. Those who are under 12 years of age may fish without a license and take a full daily limit.
If you fish multiple waters in one day, you cannot have any fish in your possession that violate the rules of the waterbody where you’re fishing.
When calculating your daily limit, please remember the following rules:
- Any trout, salmon or grayling not imme- diately released is part of your daily limit.
- Note: Kokanee salmon are considered to be part of the total trout limit. Anglers may not possess kokanee salmon at any waterbody statewide from Sept. 10 through Nov. 30.
- A trout, salmon or grayling may not be released if it’s been held on a stringer or in a fish basket, livewell or any other type of device.
- Any fish that doesn’t meet the size or species rules for the water you’re fishing must be returned to the water immediately.
Additional limit in the field
You may possess up to two daily limits of fish as you travel within Utah—or if you leave the state—as long as you meet all of the fol- lowing conditions:
- At least one of the limits in your posses- sion was caught at a Utah water on a previous day, and the fish were a legal species and limit for the waterbody where you caught them.
- The fish from the previous day have been cleaned and gutted (entrails removed).
If you fish at a different waterbody on the second day of your trip, you may not have any fish in your possession—from either day—that violate the rules of the waterbody where you’re currently fishing. You must always comply with the size and species regulations for the waterbody where you’re fishing and not have more than two daily limits in your possession.
For example, if you have been fishing at Joes Valley Reservoir, (which has a 4 trout limit, with only 1 fish over 18 inches), you may not stop at Scofield Reservoir (which has more restrictive size regulations) if you have fish from Joes Valley that violate the rules at Scofield.
Here’s another example. If you go to a community fishery and catch your limit in the morning, you cannot take those fish home to your freezer and then visit another community pond in the afternoon to harvest additional fish.
You may continue to fish while in possession of a full daily limit, but you must immediately release any additional fish you catch.
Keeping fish at home
Any fish species stored at your permanent residence do not count as part of your limit. Please keep in mind that this does NOT allow you to take home multiple daily limits of fish in one day. You may take home only one daily limit per day.
Dead fish and crayfish
Utah Code § 4-37-305 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-16
The following sections provide important information about when you can possess fil- leted fish and fish donated by other anglers.
Possession of filleted fish
While you are in the act of fishing, it is unlawful to possess filleted fish from the current day’s catch or fish that have had their heads
or tails removed. This does not apply to fish processed for immediate consumption or from a previous day’s catch.
At most waters, you may fillet harvested game fish, or remove their heads or tails, after you have:
- Completed the act of fishing
- Arrived at camp
- Reached a fish-cleaning station
- Arrived at a principle means of land transportation
At Strawberry Reservoir, Scofield Reservoir, Lost Creek Reservoir and Panguitch Lake, you may not fillet trout and salmon, and you may not remove their heads or tails while in the field or in transit.
Note: Do not dispose of entrails and carcasses on the bank. Leave them in the water where you caught the fish.
Possession of fish obtained from other sources
You may possess or transport a legal limit of game fish or crayfish caught by another person if you have a donation letter from that person. Please see Donating on page 22 for more information.
If you have purchased or obtained fish from a registered commercial fishing installation,
a private pond owner or a short-term fishing event, you may only possess or transport dead fish if you have a receipt. The receipt must include all of the following information:
- The species and number of fish
- The date the fish were caught
- The certificate of registration number of the installation, pond or short-term fishing event
- The name, address and telephone number of the seller
To help prevent the spread of disease, fish and crayfish may not be moved between waters, except as listed in the Bait section on page 12.
Live fish and crayfish
Utah Code § 23-13-14 and Utah Admin. Rules R657-13-17 and
You may not release fish or crayfish into the wild except as provided in the Wildlife Code, rule, proclamation or order of the Wild- life Board. For example, you can release fish caught at Scofield Reservoir back into Scofield, but you cannot take live fish from Scofield and place those fish in another water. Any person who illegally stocks fish in Utah waters may be criminally prosecuted and could face license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
You may use live fish stringers, livewells or holding cages to store fish or crayfish while fishing on the water where you caught them.
A trout, salmon or grayling may not be re- leased if it’s been held on a stringer or in a fish basket, livewell or any other type of device.
You may not transport live fish or crayfish away from the water where they were caught.
Release of tagged or marked fish
Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-18
You may not tag, mark or fin-clip a fish and then return it to the water without prior authorization from the Division.
Checkpoints and officer contacts
Utah Code §§ 23-20-25 and 77-23-104
The Division is the trustee and guardian of Utah’s fish and wildlife. Division conservation officers monitor the taking and possession of fish, check your catch to assess species and size, and make sure you have the required licenses and equipment used for fishing.
You should expect to encounter conserva- tion officers and biologists checking anglers at waters and at checkpoints across Utah.
If you meet a conservation officer, you must provide the items he or she asks for, including any licenses required for fishing, any devices used to participate in fishing and any fish that you’ve taken. These contacts allow the Division to collect valuable information about fish populations in Utah.
Keep in mind that you can use the Utah Hunting and Fishing app to legally carry fishing licenses on a phone or tablet for all the members of your family. To download the app, visit wildlife.utah.gov/mobileapp.
Disposal of aquatic wildlife
Utah Code § 23-20-9
The following are the only places where you may donate or give protected aquatic wildlife or its parts to another person:
- The permanent residence of the donor
- The permanent residence of the recipient
- A meat locker
- A storage plant
- A meat-processing facility
You may not donate fish in the field.
A written statement of donation must be kept with the protected aquatic wildlife or parts that includes all of the following information:
- The number and species of protected aquatic wildlife or parts donated
- The date of donation
- The license or permit number of the donor
- The signature of the donor
Purchasing or selling
Utah Code § 23-20-3
You may not purchase or sell protected aquatic wildlife or its parts except as provided in the Wildlife Code, rule, proclamation or order of the Wildlife Board.
Disposal of fish
Utah Code § 23-20-8
In most instances, you may not waste any fish or crayfish or allow them to be wasted or spoiled. Waste means to abandon a fish or crayfish or allow it to spoil or be used in a manner not normally associated with its beneficial use. For example, using the meat of game fish as fertilizer or for trapping bait is not considered a beneficial use of the meat.
You may legally dispose of the following fish at the following waterbodies without violating the state’s wasting laws:
- All waters statewide: common carp
- Blue Lake: pacu and tilapia
- Colorado River: burbot, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye Colorado River tributaries: burbot, north- ern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye (see page 27 for a list of applicable tributaries)
- Deer Creek Reservoir: white bass and black bullhead
- Echo Reservoir: walleye
- Fish Lake: yellow perch
- Flaming Gorge: burbot
- Grantsville Reservoir: smallmouth bass
- Green River: burbot, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye
- Green River tributaries: burbot, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye
- Gunlock Reservoir: smallmouth bass
- Lake Powell: striped bass
- Quail Creek Reservoir: smallmouth bass
- Sand Hollow Reservoir: smallmouth bass
- San Juan River: burbot, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye
- San Juan River tributaries: burbot, north- ern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye (see page 38 for a list of applicable tributaries)
- Utah Lake: northern pike (unless the fish is tagged—if the northern pike is tagged, you must release it)
- Utah Lake tributaries: northern pike
After catching any of the above fish, you may consume them or dispose of them at one of the following locations:
- In the water where the fish was caught
- A fish-cleaning station
- The angler’s permanent residence
- Another location where disposal is authorized by law
Utah's Walk-in Access program
Utah Admin. Rule R657-56-13
The Walk-in Access (WIA) program pro- vides hunters, anglers and trappers access to privately owned land, streams, rivers, ponds or reservoirs.
If you use Utah’s Walk-in Access (WIA) properties, remember to obtain your annual WIA authorization number.
The Division issues authorization numbers to track the use of WIA properties throughout the year and to assess the program’s value to the public.
To obtain your authorization number, visit wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess and click “Authorization numbers.” Follow the instructions and obtain your number. You can also request a number by calling 1-800-221-0659.
Also, remember that WIA properties are private land and may have special restric- tions on season dates, species and allowable activities. Visit wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess for details
FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES
Visit fishadvisories.utah.gov for updated advisories and information.
Fish are an important part of a healthy diet, and most are safe to eat on a regular basis. You should, however, limit your intake of some fish found in certain Utah waters.
Why? Testing has identified elevated levels of mercury and other contaminants in some populations of fish. Over time, eating these fish may be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts.
Be sure to visit fishadvisories.utah.gov before eating the fish you catch. The Utah Fish Advisories website has the latest consumption guidelines for Utah’s fish and waters.
If you decide to share your fish with family or friends, be sure to communicate any relevant advisories.
Your best resource for information
Three government agencies work together closely to keep the Utah Fish Advisories web- site current.
First, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resourc- es and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) obtain fish samples from lakes and rivers across the state. Then, the DEQ analyzes the samples and forwards the results to the Utah Department of Health (DOH). After reviewing the data, the DOH decides whether to issue a consumption advisory.
Harmful algal blooms
In recent years, Utah has experienced recurring toxic algal blooms. In the event of an algal bloom, you should visit deq.utah.gov and search “Harmful Algal Blooms” to see if waterbody access remains open.
If you fish in a waterbody where an algal bloom is occurring, be sure to avoid areas of scum.
Wear gloves while cleaning the fish and wash your hands with clean water. Discard all entrails and eat only the fillets. Before cooking, rinse the fillets thoroughly with clean water
Roundtail: A new sportfish opportunity
Roundtail—also known as roundtail chub—are a fish species native to the Colorado River drainage. In Utah, they are found in the Green and Colorado rivers and several tributaries.
Until recently, the DWR did not promote fishing for roundtail because population declines had resulted in the species receiving a protected status in Utah and other western states. In a noteworthy success story of our recovery efforts for this species, roundtail numbers have increased significantly.
In 2022, the Utah Wildlife Board approved changes to roundtail’s status, including classifying this species as a sportfish. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, roundtail may now be caught in portions of the following waters: Colorado River, Green River, Dolores River, Escalante River, McElmo Creek, San Rafael River and White River.
See Rules for specific waters (beginning on the next page) for fishable river sections, bait restrictions and limits in areas that allow for some harvest.
The roundtail’s native Colorado River drainage flows through some of Utah’s most beautiful and remote areas, giving anglers an appreciation both for this seldom-seen fish and the remarkable habitat it occupies.