The Paiute Indians fished the Panguitch Lake for centuries. Panguitch means “big fish” in the Paiute Indian language. For a fact, the fish do run to a pretty good size.
Panguitch Lake is a natural 1,248-acre lake surrounded by lava flows and forest. It has a length of 2 miles by a width of 1.1 miles and a shoreline distance of 5.5 miles. The maximum depth is 66 feet with a mean of 19 feet.
How to Reach Panguitch Lake
Panguitch Lake is at a short distance from the town of Panguitch which lies along U.S Highway 89 about forty miles North of Kanab UT. which sets on the Arizona-Utah border.
Along the way are the entrances to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. This is a pretty area.
As the Highway passes through town, it makes and 90-degree turn, and off that turn is State Hwy 143 which enters the Dixie National Forest.
Eighteen miles down that road lies Panguitch Lake. The GPS WGS 84 coordinates are N37.71788 W112.64468. It almost jumps out at you from its picturesque setting. It almost yells “Fish Me”! And indeed you should.
Another point of entry to the lake can also be reached by taking Hwy 143 from I-15 on the West side. This will take you through the Brian Head ski area.
All About Panguitch Lake Utah
The Lake is a cold lake and ideal for Trout year around.
It sits at an altitude of 8400 feet.
While it is open to any boat traffic, the water temperature tends to limit swimmers and keeps the skiers at bay so it is pretty much a fishing lake with a few exceptions in the mid-summer months.
The Lake is located in the Dixie National Forest which is a lovely setting.
The Brian Head ski area is nearby as is the Duck Creek area.
Not so far away are Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Escalante Stair Case National Monument, and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
The list goes on as you expand the circle around the Panguitch Lake area encompassing numerous streams and bodies of water, beautiful mountains, and canyons.
Between the scenery, the access to National Parks, rivers, lakes, and good fishing, this is a great place to spend a week.
What Kind of Fish are in Panguitch Lake
The Lake is heavily stocked by the Utah DNR. With the numbers stocked, good water conditions, and nutrients, there are lots of holdovers. Twenty-inch fish are not uncommon.
Along with the Rainbows, Browns, and Cutthroat, there is the less than common Tiger Trout.
Species At This Location
- Trout Brown
- Trout CutThroat
- Trout Rainbow
- Trout Tiger
Panguitch Lake Boat Rentals
There is Forest land as well as private property and lease land around the Lake so there are homes and resorts.
One of the older established ones is the Bear Paw with rustic cabins and a good restaurant.
They also have a boat dock and boat rentals plus fishing supplies.
Another one on the new side is the Panguitch Lake Adventure Resort.
It offers nice accommodations and amenities including boat rentals and boat ramp access.
There is also a nearby general store with gasoline. And … there are 2 Forest Service operated campgrounds near the Panguitch Lake.
The Lake is described as eutrophic so algae and other organisms can be very present in the summer months reducing some fishing by boat access to some surface portions.
Panguitch Lake Fishing
Shoreline access is good with a lot of the shoreline being accessible. Some areas are private residential property and some are grazing land for livestock.
There is so much room on the beach to fish on the West side where the Highway comes through, there is not much need to worry over to the East side unless you just want to do something different.
Fly rods, spinning rigs, and bait casters are all at home here. The fly fisherman will often work the small streams near the lake, while the others are probably more dominant on the Lake.
Shore fishing is easy to do and boats are available for rent or bring your own.
If you are fly fishing the lake from shore, a floating line, a 10-foot leader, and a tippet with some weight work well. If you are using a fly line on the lake, go to a sinking line.
As to flies, it can sometimes take a lot of experimentation to hit the winner. Generally, use smaller sizes and work through the color on the dark side.
For the spinning rigs and bait casters, eggs, worms, and power bait have all proven to be winners. Spinners, spoons, and plugs also have a good track record. This is just a great place to go after them.
Best time for fishing at Panguitch Lake
Fishing is permitted year-round. Spring, Summer, and Fall are all excellent times to take fish.
Mean Temps Hi/Lo are Jan 40.5/0, Feb. 45.2/14.1, Mar 53.2/20.7, Apr. 61.9/25.4, May. 71.7/33.2, Jun. 83.1/39.7, Jul. 88.4/46.8, Aug. 85.3/45.5, Sep. 77.8/37.1, Oct. 65.9/26.5, Nov. 60.7/17.1, Dec. 41.9/9.6
Spring can still be very very cold right on through the end of May. The wind chill can push the envelope. Then comes summer with nice days, cool nights, and generally 80 degrees F weather.
Fall starts to take it down again and Winter can of course bring the ice and snow. Generally, facilities are open in late Spring and close in early fall.
The lake area is also subject to sudden wind and rain flurries throughout the year which can whip the lake into a frenzy for a bit of time so be careful.
The Reservoir can be fished in the Winter, sometimes as Ice Fishing, and the Rainbows will still be biting.
However, the Winter months can sometimes close access to the lake due to ice and snow. As always, check with the State Game and Fish Department for any special regulations.