Boulder Mountain is one of the major high-elevation fishing areas in Utah, second only to the Uintah Mountains in northern Utah. Part of Dixie National Forest, the mountain makes up more than half of the Aquarius Plateau and is the highest timbered plateau in North America, with more than 50,000 acres above 11,000 feet.
Boulder Mountain Creeks
Boulder Mountain is well-known for its dozens of fishable lakes, but Boulder Mountain’s alpine creeks, streams, and small rivers are abundant with wild trout populations. The pristine mountain waters offer a serene, and often remote, fishing experience, especially for anglers willing to hike a bit. Averaging 15-20 feet wide, local outfitters often recommend short rods and light lines for Boulder Mountain’s smaller waters.
Dozens of backcountry roads and hiking trails lead to Boulder Mountain’s creeks. Scenic Byway 12 on the east side of Boulder Mountain, and Scenic Highway 24 to the north, are generally open year-round. Secondary and backcountry roads to Boulder Top are usually closed except during summer. Boulder Mountain fishing season runs from mid-April to November, depending on the elevation.
Boulder Creek flows on the east side of Boulder Mountain’s upper elevations, into Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The creek flows through public BLM and Dixie National Forest lands, and through some private land near Boulder. Boulder Creek boasts a varied and abundant trout population. Upper creek waters are typically laden with brook and cutthroat trout, while rainbow and brown trout are more commonly found in the middle and lower ends of the creek. Boulder Creek is accessible by road or by foot.
Calf Creek is a sparkling spring-fed stream located on BLM lands between Escalante and Boulder. Surrounded by a stunning backdrop, the three-mile-long stream is known for its copious wild brown trout population. A hefty beaver population also inhabits the stream, making the waters somewhat challenging to fish. Calf Creek can be reached by the same foot trail that leads to Calf Creek Falls.
Deer Creek is another challenging stream because of its remote location, which requires a two- to three-mile hike. But at 10,000 feet elevation, this alpine creek is full of wild brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. Deer Creek’s headwaters flow down the east side of Boulder Mountain through Dixie National Forest and BLM public lands, and a small section of privately owned land. To reach Deer Creek from Boulder, take Scenic Byway 12 to Forest Road 554 to the trailhead. Burr Trail Road also leads to Deer Creek.
Just northwest of Escalante in Dixie National Forest, North Creek boasts significant populations of wild brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. The stream runs parallel to the unpaved road that leads to Barker Reservoir.
Oak Creek lies within Dixie National Forest, on the east side of Boulder Mountain. Beginning at around 9,400 feet, the creek flows from Oak Creek Reservoir, where significant brook and cutthroat populations thrive, downstream to Capitol Reef National Park, where rainbow trout populate its lower end. Unpaved roads near Oak Creek and Pleasant Creek campgrounds lead to the stream.
Pine Creek offers anglers an opportunity to fish for wild brown trout. The creek flows downward from Boulder Mountain to Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area and into Escalante, where it feeds into the Escalante River. Pine Creek can be reached via Hell’s Backbone Road in Dixie National Forest.
Much like Oak Creek, Pleasant Creek lies mainly within Dixie National Forest, flowing downstream from Boulder Mountain’s east side toward Capitol Reef National Park. Anglers will find a variety of trout in Pleasant Creek, from hatchery-stocked rainbow trout near Pleasant Creek Campground (elevation 8,700 feet) to wild rainbow and brown trout closer to Capitol Reef. Pleasant Creek can be reached by vehicle via Scenic Byway 12, or by unpaved backcountry roads and hiking trails near Capitol Reef National Park.