Utah

Like most Western states, Utah is known for its fly fishing, but, as in Wyoming, I wanted to target fish bigger than what are commonly caught on fly rods. Fortunately, I discovered Flaming Gorge Reservoir and its famously large lake trout.

My Utah trip had the relative misfortune of coming the day after my unbelievable Wyoming trip on which I caught my 49-pound lake trout. However, the scenery on the southern end of the reservoir was much more spectacular, with more mountains and forested shoreline. I fished with Terry Collier and John Rauch of Cedar Springs Marina in Dutch John, Utah. I caught a 22-pound, 40-inch trophy lake trout, and a 15.5-pound lake trout, along with two kokanee salmon. In addition to the beautiful views and quality lake trout, there was also a chance to see wildlife. I saw a deer swimming in the lake and Terry has even seen a mountain lion from the boat. (On my return trip in 2014, I saw a large herd of bighorn sheep along the southern rim of the canyon.)

Wyoming has since created a trophy fish program and the lake trout minimum is 36 inches. Because Flaming Gorge is in both Utah and Wyoming, it is safe to say that my 40-inch lake trout was a trophy.