Utah’s State Fish – Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

Ancient peoples in what would become Utah used Bonneville cutthroat as a primary food source. Settlers in Utah also relied heavily on Bonneville cutthroat to get them through the first few years. The Bonneville Cutthroat Trout was the victim of wide-spread over-fishing, competition from non-native fish and habitat degradation. In fact, only a few decades ago the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout was thought to be extinct and/or genetically compromised in essentially all of its native range.

Today Bonnies are on the rebound and offer some incredible angling opportunities in waters just minutes from major urban centers and in some much more remote places most anglers would never go.

Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in Utah

Where to Find Bonneville Cutthroat in Utah

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Bonneville cutthroat trout (BCT) are native to streams that terminate in the Bonneville Basin, excluding the Bear River. While the Bear River terminates in the Bonneville Basin, these cutthroat trout have evolved on a separate path from other Bonneville cutthroat trout because of a historic stream capture of the Bear River from the Snake River to the Bonneville Basin. Any cutthroat trout caught while angling streams in the Bonneville Basin will be accepted as BCT for the Utah Native Cutthroat Slam.   While the Weber River (including the Ogden River) is not in the Bear River Drainage, the Bonneville cutthroat trout in these drainages historically mixed with Bear River cutthroat trout and cutthroat trout angled in these drainages can count toward either the Bear River or Bonneville cutthroat trout catch, BUT NOT BOTH. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU CLAIM A BONNEVILLE CUTTHROAT TROUT CATCH FROM THE WEBER RIVER, THEN YOU NEED TO CATCH A BEAR RIVER CUTTHROAT TROUT FROM A DIFFERENT DRAINAGE AND VICE VERSA.   Some headwater lakes in the Weber River and Provo River have been historically stocked with non-native cutthroat trout. If you wish to angle BCT from headwater lakes in these two drainages, check with the Northern Region UDWR Office (801-476-2740) for a list of lakes containing native BCT. The following areas/streams will provide the best opportunities to catch native Bonneville cutthroat trout in Utah:

Weber River: Special fishing regulations are present in portions of the Weber River Drainage so check the Fishing Guidebook before planning a trip.


  1. The Weber River from the confluence with the Ogden River upstream to Echo Dam is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).
  2. The Weber River and its’ tributaries from the town of Oakley, UT upstream to the headwaters is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).
  3. Beaver Creek (upstream from Kamas) is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).
  4. South Fork of the Ogden River is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).
  5. Wheeler Creek. Angling conditions can be tough as Wheeler Creek is a small, brushy stream that is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).
  6. Wolf Creek. Angling conditions can be tough as Wolf Creek is a small, brushy stream and is is managed by the UDWR for native cutthroat trout (Bonneville/Bear River cutthroat trout).


Northern Wasatch Front streams:  The UDWR Northern Region Office has restored native BCT to several of the small streams along the Wasatch Front north of Salt Lake City. For more information on these angling opportunities, call the Northern Region Office at 801-476-2740.


Provo River:

  1. South Fork of the Provo River headwaters
  2. Bench Creek
  3. South Fork of Little Deer Creek (downstream from Deer Creek Reservoir). Angling conditions can be tough as the South Fork of Little Deer Creek is a small, brushy stream.


Jordan River:

  1. Mill Creek (Mill Creek Canyon) has been recently restored to native BCT
  2. Parley’s Canyon Creek (along Interstate 80 in Parley’s Canyon)
  3. Little Dell Reservoir (including Little Dell Creek). Because this is a BCT brood source, these waters are catch and release for BCT and artificial flies and lures only.
  4. Lambs Canyon Creek. Angling conditions can be tough as Lambs Canyon Creek is a small, brushy stream.


Southern Wasatch Front high mountain lakes: Many of these lakes require a 2-3 hour hike on a good Forest Service trail in order to access the lake.


  1. Little Cottonwood Canyon lakes (White Pine Lake, Red Pine Lake and Upper Red Pine Lake) are managed for BCT and stocked frequently.
  2. Upper Bells Reservoir
  3. Twin Lake (Big Cottonwood Canyon)


Spanish Fork River:

  1. Diamond Fork River headwaters including the tributaries Shinglemill, Chase, and Halls Fork creeks. These streams were restored to BCT in 2006 and are protected from non-native trout by a barrier.
  2. Little Diamond Fork Creek
  3. Right Fork of Clear Creek (tributary to Soldier Creek). Angling conditions can be tough as the Right Fork of Clear Creek is a small, brushy stream.


Deep Creek Mountains (eastern slope): These are extremely remote, small, brushy streams that terminate at the valley floor. These streams can be accessed from the valley floor by a dirt road and most have poorly defined trails along the streams. For more information on angling opportunities in this mountain range call the UDWR Central Region Office at 801-491-5678.


  1. Trout Creek
  2. North Fork of Birch Creek
  3. Granite Creek
  4. Red Cedar Creek
  5. Tom’s Creek
  6. Indian Farms Creek
  7. Basin Creek


Sevier River:

  1. Salina Creek: the reach upstream from Interstate 70 will have more pure fish as rainbow trout occur downstream.
  2. Manning Creek (Monroe Mountains)
  3. Clear Creek and tributaries (65 total stream miles) now contain BCT after extensive restoration efforts.
  4. Mammoth Creek upstream of Mammoth Spring
  5. East Fork Sevier River in Black Canyon, upper Sevier River, and Asay Creek near Hatch are stocked annually with BCT.
  6. Southern Utah Lakes – BCT are stocked annually in Manning Meadow Reservoir, Barney Lake, Pine Lake, Yankee Meadow Reservoir, Upper Enterprise Reservoir, and all three Kent’s Lakes on Beaver Mountain.

Bonneville Cutthroat Facts

Bonneville Cutthroat Trout close up

Designated official state fish of Utah in 1997, replacing the nonnative rainbow trout.

Once existed in great numbers in Utah Lake and reported to reach sizes of 40 lb. or more

One of the principle sources of food for native tribes and early Utah pioneers


Photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie, reflect colors enhanced / CC BY

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The Utah Cutthroat Slam is a challenge and an adventure. Visit incredible waters to see what trout fishing in Utah was like way back then. Help Trout Unlimited and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources restore and protect Utah’s incredible trout legacy and have fun along the way.

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