Despite being a landlocked state, Utah does offer some of the most fantastic fishing experiences on the planet ranging from crystal-clear streams to Alpine lakes.
Therefore, Utah fishing has always surprised me, especially when the state experiences moderate-to-extreme drought. Generally, the drought did affect fishing in Utah, but I still had fun when I visited this state at the beginning of the year.
Utah is one of the few states that have guaranteed me a trophy trout catch every time I cast my line. Plus, it is over 1000 fishable lakes can guarantee any angler a weekend to remember; unfortunately, there are rules and regulations that you have to follow when fishing in Utah. And one of the main ones is carrying a fishing license, so here is a breakdown of the cost of fishing licenses in Utah:
- Resident annual fishing license (18-64 years): $34.00
- Resident annual fishing license (14-17 years): $16.00
- Non-resident Annual fishing license (over 18 years): $85.00
- Non-resident yearly fishing license (14-17 years): 29.00
- 7-day Non-resident fishing license: $46.00
- 3-day Non-resident fishing license: $28.00
To learn more, here’s a link to the Utah website.
Yes, you can fish without a license in Utah on June 11 every year. Like most states, Utah does have a Free Fishing Day when everyone is allowed to fish for free. The Free Fishing Day offers an excellent opportunity for beginners to get a feel of fishing. (source) Plus, some water bodies do hold numerous fishing events that can be fun for everyone.
Therefore, if you need clarification on whether fishing is for you but still want to try it, then Free Fishing Day is the best time to try this sport. Plus, some lakes even have some rental fishing gear you can use to fish instead of purchasing them, but you can still carry your gear and have fun with your family members who don’t have a fishing license. Remember, kids below 12 years old can fish for free in all the state-owned waters all year round.
Yes, during Free Fishing Day, the state-owned water bodies are usually open to everyone in Utah, which includes both residents and non-residents. Therefore, you can still have fun in Utah if you find yourself in Utah on June 11.
Special Considerations for Utah Fishing License
Unlike most states, you only need a fishing license to fish in all the waters within its borders. Still, when it comes to the waters it shares with its neighbors, which include Wyoming, Arizona, and Idaho, you may have to get permission from the neighboring state. After all, Utah does share some of its waters with its neighbor, where Utah residents can still fish, but they may have to get permission to access the neighboring state. Some of these waters include:
Idaho and Utah share Bear Lake, and thanks to their unique fly fishing regulations, you can fish on either side’s waters with a license from Utah or Idaho. Both non-residents and residents can cast their lines on both states’ portions of the lake if they have a Utah fishing license. But you have to follow the rules and regulations set by both states. (source) Remember, even if both states license you, you can carry home only one daily limit daily.
Lake Powell has the same rules as the Bear River; therefore, residents and non-residents with a valid Arizona or Utah or a combination of both licenses can fish on either side of the lake. But you must follow the rules and regulations and carry a single bag limit daily. (source)
But with the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Utah has a different kind of agreement. Instead of using a fishing license from either state to fish in Flaming Gorse Reservoir, you need a resident license of one state and a reciprocal permit from the other. For instance, if you own a resident fishing license from Utah, you will have to get a Wyoming joint permit to fish on the Wyoming portion of the reservoir and vice versa. (source)
But for non-residents, things are a bit different since the reciprocal permit doesn’t apply to them. Instead, non-residents who want to fish both sides of the reservoir can get a non-resident license from both states. (source)
Utah has different types of licenses for residents and non-residents that vary in price, duration, and age difference. Therefore, the first thing you must consider when purchasing your fishing license in Utah is your age and how long you want to fish in the Utah waters. Here is a table of Fishing License Costs in Utah:
|Annual fishing license (ages 12-13)||$5||$5|
|Annual fishing license (ages 14-17)||$16||$25|
|Annual fishing license (ages 18-64)||$34||N/A|
|Annual fishing license (over 18 years)||N/A||$75|
|Multi-year licenses valid for up to 5 years||$33/year||$84/year|
Outdoor activities like fishing and hunting are pretty popular in Utah; therefore, the state government has made it easier for anglers to get their licenses by providing different purchasing methods. The most popular way is by allowing some local retailers to act as their agents. Therefore, you can get a fishing license from some of the local fishing gear vendors. To find the store near you, all you have to do is click here (source)
You can try purchasing it online or via phone if you have a busy schedule. If you can’t access the internet, call their number (1-800-221-0659) and pay for your license using your credit card. But you will have to pay a processing fee of about $2 for every item you purchase. (source)
You can also purchase it online by visiting their website through this portal and making your purchase. (source) Remember, you must print any license purchased online before you leave the house; after all, Utah doesn’t have electronic fishing licenses.
Yes, you can purchase a fishing license at Walmart any time of the day between $11 and $40. But you have to confirm the time as most US states have different time zone since the local Walmart can only accept license applications during regular working hours.
Remember, they have to connect to the local portal in Utah and may need assistance from the staff in case of a problem. Therefore, you should ensure you purchase it during regular office hours in Utah.
Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in Utah?
Despite being a popular sport all over the continent, there are rules and regulations governing this sport. These rules and regulations ensure the continuity of different fish species while ensuring that we don’t poison the environment.
These rules stipulate when you can fish, the bag limit and which fishing method you can use at a certain period. Plus, breaking any of the rules can result in a fine or jail term, and in some cases, you may lose your license for a few years.
Get a FREE PDF copy of the of the Utah Fishing Regulations 👉 Utah Fishing Regulations
Therefore, before booking your flight to Utah, you can access the rules and regulations of fishing in Utah through the following link. (source)
The regulations also stipulate which specific lakes and streams are closed for fishing all year round and where you can fish certain species at a particular time. They also show you where and when you can fish a specific species.
Generally, the state has grouped the anglers into five age groups, each with its unique fishing license price and requirements. For instance, anyone under 12 years old can fish without a license and use a setline. These kids can also use two poles when fishing and even carry a total daily limit. (source)
Kids between the age of 12 and 13 years can get an annual license at $5 *resident) and $6 (non-residents). Anglers between 14 and 17 years are considered youth and can purchase their license at about $16 for residents.
Anyone over 18 is considered an adult and must purchase the annual adult fishing license to fish in Utah. Unlike other states where folks over 65 years fish for free, in Utah, residents over 65 must pay $25 for an annual fishing license. (source) But they don’t have a license for senior non-residents; therefore, they will have to purchase a regular over 18 non-resident fishing license.
Generally, the Utah fishing licenses have different expiry dates; some only last for a week, others for three days, and others for a whole year. Unlike some states whose licenses have a fixed expiry date, you must use the Utah fishing licenses for 365 days from the date of purchase.
Therefore, every annual fishing license will remain active for 365 calendar days. (source) So, if you want to use your license for an entire year, you should consider getting the annual fishing license of Utah.
Like most states, Utah has a free fishing day when everyone can fish without a license on all state-owned water bodies. The Free Fishing Day is open for non-residents and residents; plus, it’s the only time you can enjoy different water sports. Besides the free fishing day, kids under 12 years can fish without a license all year round in Utah and use up to 2 rods.
Generally, the state can’t guarantee that you will gain access to private property and fish there; after all, it is private citizen owned. Plus, accessing private property without the owner’s permission is considered illegal.
Therefore you don’t need a license to fish on a private fish pond; instead, you need to get written permission from the owner or the caretaker. Fishing on private land without the owner’s permission is trespassing, and you can face prosecution.
Remember, the written permission from the owner must include the following details:
- The appropriate fishing dates
- The name of the person granted permission to access the private land
- General description of the land
- The signature of the person in charge or the owner of the private property (source)
The above details will ensure that you won’t be prosecuted later for fishing anyone’s pond and fishing; remember, the owner will specify your bag limit.
Fishing without a license is considered a misdemeanor class 2; therefore, if caught, you could pay a fine of about $1,000 or serve a jail term of about six months. In the worst-case scenario, the wildlife board may suspend your fishing license for about three years. (source) Therefore, you will have to go in front of the board and then defend yourself, and based on your history; then they will determine the appropriate penalty for your case.
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Generally, the fishing season in Utah starts on January 1 and ends on December 31. But the fishing months can vary with the fish species and population of the fishes. Remember, accessing some remote fishing destinations can be pretty challenging, especially in winter, with the road blocked by ice. Therefore, some of these destinations in Utah have different fishing seasons, with most closed in winter.
Others are closed for a few months to allow the fish species to repopulate, and even when open, they have a meager bag limit. Some of the places that are not open all year round include:
Bear Lake is one of the most popular destinations in Utah; unfortunately, it does have a bag limit of 2 trout, and some parts of the lake are closed in some seasons. For instance, some of its branches, including the one at Rich County from Lamborn diversion to the Big Spring Creek, are usually closed between April 15 and the second weekend of July. During the other times, the anglers can only practice catch and release between January 1 and April 14, the second weekend of July, and the end of December. (7)
Swan Creek is also closed to fishing around April 15 and the second weekend of July. On the other hand, a part of Beaver River from the bridge at Greenville to the Minersville Reservoir and the Benches Pond branches are closed between the beginning of the year and the second Saturday of July. A part of the Bicknell Bottoms is always open to fishing unless otherwise posted closed.
The boulder mountain reservoir and lakes reside in Wayne and Garfield counties. A considerable percentage of the drainage is open to fishing all year round except for Bulberry lakes and Brown Duck Basin. The Brown Duck Basin is open to fishing between the second weekend of July and January 1. On the other hand, the Burberry Lakes are available between the third weekend of April and November 1 every year. (7)
Situated in Uintah County, a massive percentage of this reservoir is open to fishing all year round except a part of the Causey Reservoir tributaries. The left and right forks of River South Fork Ogden from Causey Reservoir to its headwaters are only open between the last Saturday of September and mid-August. At the Deep Lake, A bag capacity of 8 between August 15 and December 31 is the limit.
The Deseret Reservoir is a unique destination situated at an American Army facility but is still open to the public. Unfortunately, it’s only available to anglers during the daytime from the first weekend of May to October 31. This facility is generally closed to fishing from January 1 to April 30 and November 1 to December 31.
Several waters are closed to fishing in Utah, including part of the Grassy Trail Reservoir., Mountain Dell Creek, Mountain Dell Reservoir, Ogden River, Pine Lake Inflow, Red Butte Reservoir, and Red Butte Creek. The Parleys Creek from SR-65 to Mountain Dell Reservoir is also closed to fishing. Part of Twin Creek is also closed to fishing.
|Species||Opening date||Closing date|
|General fishing||January 1||December 31|
|Walleye||First Saturday of May||March 1|
Utah is home to over 89,000 miles of streams and 2,000 lakes; therefore, you have more than enough options. Consequently, you can try saltwater fishing at the Great Salt Lake, the sixth-largest American River. If you love freshwater fishing, you can fish at Utah Lake, the third-largest freshwater water body on the western side of the Mississippi River. Please click the following link for more details on where you can fish in Utah.
Yes, in Utah fishing is allowed 24 hours a day, and there is no law against fishing at night. Therefore, you can fish in most of Utah’s lakes, rivers, and streams the whole night.
Provided you have an unexpired combination license or fishing license, you can use up to 2 poles to fish in Utah. (source)
Yes, anyone over 65 needs a fishing license to fish in Utah. The resident seniors have to pay $34, while the non-residents have to pay $75 for those over 18 years old fishing license.
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- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, License, permit, and miscellaneous fees, https://wildlife.utah.gov/licenses/fees.html/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, Fish for Free in Utah on June 11, https://wildlife.utah.gov/news/utah-wildlife-news/1446-fish-for-free-june-11.html/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, https://wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2022_fishing_guidebook.pdf/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, https://wildlife.utah.gov/licenses/locator/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, Buy a Hunting, Fishing License Over the Phone, https://wildlife.utah.gov/licenses-by-phone.html/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, https://wildlifelicense.utah.gov/hflo/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, Utah Fishing 2019 Guidebook, https://wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2019_fishing.pdf/ accessed October 8, 2022.
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources staff, https://wildlifelicense.utah.gov/hflo/faq.html/ accessed October 8, 2022.
Weber Law staff, Facing Fishing Without License Charges in Utah? Time is Not on Your Side, https://www.law.ninja/utah-fishing-without-license/ accessed October 8, 2022.