Nearby lakes to visit on Utah Free Fishing Day

If you’d like to catch a fish in Utah’s beautiful outdoors but you don’t have a fishing license, Free Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity to give it a try. 

Free Fishing Day will is this Saturday, June 12, and allows anyone to fish at any public waterbody in Utah without a license.

It makes for a great family activity and is the perfect time to introduce your kids to fishing (or your neighbors and friends!) and get them outdoors.

It’s a great day not only for beginning anglers to give fishing a try, but is also a fun time for experienced anglers too. 

“Because you don’t need a license to fish that day, it’s the perfect time to take someone with you and introduce them to the sport,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatics Section Assistant Chief Craig Walker said.

“Early June is one of the best times to fish in Utah. All of the fish in the state, both warm-water and cold-water species, are active and willing to bite this time of the year.

“And with this year’s drought, it will be better to go fishing earlier in the summer as well.

“While some waterbodies may be impacted by low water levels this year, the majority of the fishing in Utah will be great.”

If you’re taking someone fishing for their first time, you can commemorate their first catch with a fun DWR certificate.

You can print out the certificate at home and fill in the details to document the occasion. 

Anglers should note that while Free Fishing Day waives the requirement for having a fishing license, entrance fees to state parks and other areas will still apply. 

Local community ponds are also a great option if you need a quick, close-to-home option for fishing.

There are 57 located around Utah, and more information about each one can be found on the DWR website.

Many of the community ponds will be stocked with channel catfish a few days before Free Fishing Day, as well.

Anglers can also visit the Fish Utah map on the DWR website to find their nearest fishing area. 

Here are some nearby lakes and reservoirs where you should see some good fishing and not too much crowding:

Recapture Reservoir (San Juan County): Offers black bullhead catfish, bluegill, green sunfish, largemouth bass, and northern pike.

Blanding Reservoir No. 4 (San Juan County): Offers rainbow trout, tiger trout, and largemouth bass.

Scofield State Park (Carbon County): Offers Bear Lake cutthroat trout, tiger trout, and rainbow trout as well as tiger muskie and wiper.

Millsite State Park (Emery County): Offers Colorado River cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, tiger trout, and splake. 

For a complete list of Free Fishing Day locations throughout the state, visit

You don’t need a license to fish on June 12, but the other fishing rules in Utah will still be in effect.

Make sure you know the catch limits and rules for the waterbody you are fishing.

The rules are available in the 2021 Utah Fishing Guidebook. And wherever you go fishing on Free Fishing Day, remember to recreate responsibly by packing out what you pack in and keeping the area free of trash. 

Although you don’t need a fishing license on Free Fishing Day, a fishing license is required to fish any other day of the year.

Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days and can be purchased online or from a DWR license agent. 

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

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