Navajo Lake is a natural lake located in the Dixie National forest on Cedar Mountain. It is a high-elevation lake, sitting at an elevation of 9,066 feet above sea level at the surface with max length of 3 miles, and a width of 0.5 miles. The lake was formed when a large lava flow spread across the east side of the valley, damming the springs that flowed up through the ground in the area. The lava flow that formed the lake was not sourced from a singular volcano, but had welled up from numerous underground flows. Today the tubes left from these flows also lead water out of the lake. The lake feeds two major water sources through numerous lava tubes in the lake’s basin: the Virgin River (through Cascade Falls) and Sevier River (through Duck Creek). A dike was built in 1930 to raise the water level and to stop water loss during low water years. Thanks to the high elevation and mountain springs that feed the lake, the crisp, clear water is a great spot for fishing, boating, swimming, and photography. Boat, kayak and paddleboard rentals are available, as well as a small general store for basic goods. Trails around the lake provide areas for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Cascade Falls trail is a one-mile round trip hike that leads to one of the outlets for the lake. As you may be able to guess from the name, it is a gorgeous waterfall with breathtaking views. Another popular hike in the area is the Virgin River Rim Trail. Although the full length of the trail is 32 miles, the multiple access points allow you to make it as long as you want. With views of Zion National Park; Kolob Plateau; and Pine Valley Mountains, you might want to make that a bit longer of a hike though. The average depth of the lake is about 12ft, but can rise to 25ft on good water years.
Fishing is the main attraction at this gorgeous alpine lake. Anglers can expect to find a selection of trout including rainbow, brook, German, and splake. Rainbow trout are stocked in the spring, and can grow to over 14” by the fall season. Fingerling brook trout are stocked in the late summer, and are usually able to survive the winter’s freezing much better than the rainbow trout species. There is a large chub population found in the waters, so the park service has recently begun introducing splake into the lake. The splake are an aggressive breed of trout, a hybrid between the brook trout and the lake trout. The splake were introduced to keep the chub population under control thanks to their predatory nature and affinity for chub. Thanks to the abundance of food, you are bound to find some good-sized splake; some have been caught weighing in at a whopping 10 pounds! Fishing can be good from shore until the lake freezes in early December, but after the freeze lake access is limited to snowmobiles.
Flashy lures like Kastmasters are a favorite of the local shore anglers, while boat anglers prefer trolling spinners or popgear and a worm. Fly fishing is best from the west end of the lake during late summer and fall. Of course a worm or power bait will also do the trick, since the fish in the area are incredibly plentiful. During the early spring and late fall (heavy feeding times), since large trout have such an affinity for chubs; anglers like to use worms to attract the chubs, and then use chunks of the chubs to attract larger trout. Big trout love chubs, and we love big trout. Thanks to the allowance of boats and the available boat ramp at Navajo Lake, it is the ideal spot for fishing from shore or boat near Duck Creek Village.
Aspen Mirror Lake - Duck Creek Village, Utah
Aspen Mirror Lake draws a large fishing demographic each year. The name is a literal depiction of the mirror-like water reflecting the thicket of aspens surrounding the lake. Though it is located just 0.5 miles from the quaint Duck Creek Village, it is a world away from any town or city. The lake remains unseen from the main highway, but easily found through a short drive from the sign on the road marking the destination, and then a walking path from the parking area. At an elevation of 8,500 feet above sea level, the air is always crisp, and the scenery is always remarkable. Surrounding the lake, you can find perfect settings for picnics and watching for deer that come to the lake to drink. Boats and float tubes are not permitted on the lake due to the small size (3 surface acres.) The lake is heavily stocked throughout the summer with a variety of catchable trout breeds including Fingerling Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout. Essentially every type of fishing is effective here, although fly-fishing seems to be predominately popular. Optimal choices for baits include traditional bait, especially power baits. Spinners with bright colors, and lures like the Cyclone are also quite popular among fishermen in the area. The lake is closed to fishing each year from January 1st to the 3rd Saturday in April in an effort to protect congregating fish in the underwater springs. Statewide regulations apply to the lake, and fishing licenses can be easily purchased in the town of Duck Creek Village.
Duck Creek Pond - Duck Creek Village, Utah
Duck Creek Pond is a modest fishing hole settled adjacent to State Route 14, just minutes from Duck Creek Village and 26 miles East of Cedar City, UT. While driving along the highway, passersby view a quick glimpse of the clear waters. The pond is stocked with some of the most plentiful trout in Southern Utah. Both Rainbow Trout and Fingerling Brook Trout are stocked in the summer season. Tiger Trout (a hybrid between Brook Trout and Brown Trout) are also found in the pond, though rare. There is a 2 per-day limit on Tiger Trout. Duck Creek Pond is connected to Aspen Mirror Lake by a wandering stream. While Aspen Mirror Lake offers a small parking area away from the highway, Duck Creek Pond does not. Parking for those who are looking to enjoy the pond, is just parking off of the shoulder of the highway. Since the pond is small in size, float tubes and boats are not permitted. Fishing is unauthorized from January 1st through the 3rd Saturday in April, just as Aspen Mirror Lake. Also like Aspen Mirror Lake, all types of fishing have proven to be successful, though fly-fishing is the favored method. Traditional baits are successfully used, with power baits preferred. Statewide regulations apply to Duck Creek Pond, and fishing licenses are available for purchase in the town of Duck Creek Village.
Panguitch Lake - Duck Creek Village, Utah
Literally translated from the Paiute meaning “big fish”, Panguitch Lake is one of Utah’s best trout fishing spots. High in the Cedar Mountains 8,400 ft above sea level, it sits in the Dixie National forest near Brian Head; Cedar Breaks National Monument; Bryce Canyon; and Zion National Park. The lake was originally a natural lake fed by three small streams (Blue Springs Creek; Clear Creek; and Ipson Creek), and feeding into the Sevier River with about 777 surface acres. The lake was then expanded to 1,248 surface acres to become a reservoir with the addition of a 24-foot Dam. With the expansion, the lake now boasts a max depth of 66 feet, making it one of the biggest trout producing fisheries around. The lake attracts both anglers and boaters with the two public boat launches and multiple boat rental facilities. Swimming, canoeing, and kayaking are also popular activities to enjoy. The Markagunt trail system is accessible from multiple points at the lake, with hundreds of miles to take advantage of trails for ATV riding, horseback riding, or hiking. Ice fishing is also a popular winter activity once the lake has frozen over.
Rainbow trout, brook trout, cutthroat, tiger and brown trout all are found in the waters of this alpine lake, some even weighing in the double-digits. While 6 to 8 pounds is a more realistic prized catch, the fish are sought-after thanks to being known to taste of “seasoned trout” (a well-rounded flavor acquired from inhabiting the waters for over a year). In 2006, due to the overpopulation of chubs, the lake was chemically treated to eradicate their population. Carnivorous trout like the bear lake cutthroat and tiger trout were stocked into the lake to make sure that the chub population remained eradicated. Today, there are restrictions in place to help make sure that even if chubs were reintroduced into the lake, there would be plenty of predatory fish to keep them from repopulating at a rapid pace. Visitors are limited to 4 trout per day. Of the 4 trout, 2 may be cutthroat or tiger under 15”, and one may be over 22”. Cutthroat or tiger trout between 15”-22” must be released. There are no size restrictions, however, on rainbow trout. Should you catch a cutthroat or tiger trout that falls within the “slot” of 15”-22”, you should not try to remove the hook- as it can be more harmful to remove it than to let it be. Simply cut the line and release it.
Fishing is best in the early morning and later in the afternoon, as mid-day bites are far less. Worms and powerbait seem to be a tried and true classic for bait, but many find success with shrimp, small marshmallow bait, and nightcrawlers. Panther martins, colored spinners, Kastmasters, and popgear are also great selections when it comes to lures. Fly fishermen swear by Dry Fly’s and Nymphs when conditions are ideal. Overall, just about every technique and choice of bait/lures is effective thanks to the abundance of catchable fish. Panguitch Lake is a great choice for recreation and some of the best fishing in Utah.
If you planning on enjoying Panguitch Lake don't forget about lodging. Brian Head and Duck Creek Village are great option. Only about 30 miles away you can enjoy some of the best Duck Creek Cabin Rentals just a short drive away.