The Weber River - Where I Learned Everything You Need to Know About Fly Fishing

The Weber River – Where I Learned Everything You Need to Know About Fly Fishing

My dad, Willis K. “Pete” Peterson was born in Coalville, Utah in 1909.  We spent a lot of time fishing the Weber River around Coalville when I was a kid because that is where dad started fly fishing.  He taught me to cast and how to swing-fish with streamers and wet flies.  I also learned how to upstream cast with a dry fly, which became my favorite method.

More Fish Than We Could Eat
My father, two brothers and I caught a lot of fish.  Too many.  Come January, our family would still have over 200 fish in the freezer from the prior year’s fly fishing.

Then one day, Dad and I had a great revelation.  He’d gone downstream from the Coalville bridge swinging a streamer and I decided to fish upstream with a “dry” on a small spring creek that paralled the main river.  (Too bad it’s gone now.)  I had a decent day and by dusk had a couple of fish in the 16-inch range, but when I got back to the car dad was missing.

I walked up to the bridge and found him fighting a big fish in the pool just below the bridge.  “Go get a flashlight from the car,” he shouted when he saw me on the bridge.  When I returned, Dad was landing the fish.  It was a big one.  “Big spawner from the reservoir.  A brown trout that would probably go seven or eight pounds,” he exclaimed.  My dad held the fish in the river while moving it forward and back in the current.  Then he let it go!  “I’ll catch you again next week,” he shouted to the fish.  “You deserve to live a lot longer.”

From that day forward we began releasing all the fish we caught, unless grandma wanted a couple for her fry pan.

Fly Fishing on the Weber River
The Weber River can be divided into three sections:  The LOWER WEBER, which drains from Echo Reservoir below Coalville and flows 30 miles past Echo, Henefer, Morgan and Peterson all the way to Ogden along Highway 84.  The river’s only problem is that it often flows off-color, although I’ve had some pretty good days upstream from Peterson.

The MIDDLE WEBER flows from Rockport Reservoir past Wanship, Hoytsville and Coalville and has a lot of consistent water and good access.  I’ve had some great days fishing hoppers in August and September on this stretch.

The UPPER WEBER begins in the high Uinta Wilderness and flows through Thousand Peaks Ranch down past Oakley and Peoa to Rockport Reservoir.  There is a lot of great fishing on this stretch but it can be difficult to access due to private land ownership.

Thousand Peaks Ranch – A Unique Fly Fishing Experience
This section of the Weber, at Thousand Peaks Ranch, is particularly special.  It is a 10 mile section of the river that Jans has exclusive access to since we offer special permits to fishermen for the landowner.  It is “catch-and-release” only and contains primarily cutthroat trout up to 18 inches, although there is a large population of brook trout in the upper stretches and an occasional grayling.  I love to fish my 4-weight up here.

Jan Peterson

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