Fishing in Zion National Park and Southern Utah

The Virgin River through Zion National Park is considered a wild river and has six native fish species, four of which reach into the park's headwaters.
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Fishing is allowed in Zion with a Utah Fishing License, but is not a common pastime as there isn't much to catch. The four native species of fish to Zion are the Virgin River Spinedace, the Speckled Dace, the Flannelmouth Sucker and the Desert Sucker. 

"These fish have adapted to this environment and are generally small, which is important, because large floods each year occur on this river. Fish that are adapted to that cycle can survive better than fish that are not." Says park spokesperson, Brian Whitehead. 

The Virgin River has experienced problems with degraded and fragmented habitat and people adding non-native fish into the ecosystem such as yellow perch and bluegill and green sunfish. 

The areas north of Zion are premier fly fishing destinations. The Utah mountains have stocked reservoirs and plenty of fishing opportunities. On Highway 14, head to Duck Creek, Navajo Lake and Kolob reservoirs. Or find your fishing spot at

Everyone over 15 needs a license. Visit the website of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources ( for fishing regulations and permits. If you'd like to buy a fishing license in person, head to the Walmart in Hurricane, Utah or Dixie Gun & Fish in St. George. 

Fish Species in Zion National Park

Of the six species Virgin River native fish species, three are common within the Colorado River system, but three are found only in the Virgin.

The Virgin River Spinedace is endangered and protected. Other fish include the Speckled Dace, Flannelmouth Sucker, Desert Sucker, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout and Brown Trout, all of which live in the heavy silt water. The four native species do well in Zion because of the river's protected status within the national park.

Almost all other rivers' natural flows have been destroyed by dams. The National Park Service made news in 2018 when it released an unnatural flood in the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon in an attempt to flush accumulated sediment and recreate the sand formations, river flows and sediment that the Virgin enjoys naturally.


The Virgin River canyon called The Narrows in Zion National Park

Some Canyoneering Favorites in Zion National Park

Try the sport that includes hiking and technical rock climbing inside Zion National Park including the Narrows, the Subway, and North Creek.

Petroglyph in Zion along a branch of Clear Creek near Mt Carmel Road

Petroglyphs in Zion National Park

Zion has many petroglyph panels inside the park, to the north near Cedar City, and to the south.


Biking Inside and Nearby Zion Nationl Park

Choose the family- and pet-friendly Pa'rus Trail inside Zion, the challenging Gooseberry Mesa Trail for experienced mountain bikers, or the cool Navajo Lake.


Horseback Riding in Zion

In-park trail rides follow the course of the Virgin River or expand out into Sand Beach Trail.

Zion Canyon

Must-See Natural Wonders in Zion National Park

If you have the time and good shoes, take a ride on The Narrows, an unforgettable wade in cold waters of the Virgin River.

Emerald Pools Waterfall

Waterfalls in Zion National Park

Somehow, one doesn't expect desert terrain to be home of some of the world's most spectacular water features. But, Zion is full of waterfalls from snow melt.


Zion, the Birthplace of Canyoneering

Zion and the nearby area offer a wealth of climbing opportunities, both guided and unguided. The Narrows may be the birthplace of canyoneering.

A hiker in Spooky Gulch in Grand Staircase Escalente National Monument

Top 5 Southern Utah Hikes

Play the slots and explore slickrock wonderlands in Canyonlands, Grand Gulch, Zion, and Grand Staircase Escalante. Squeeze through Peek-a-boo Gulch.

Winter snow dusting the Court of the Patriarchs along the Virgin River in Zion National Park

Winter Recreation in Zion National Park

Zion's snowcapped mountains are spectacular in the winter. The canyon is not normally subject to heavy snow, so hiking and biking are still popular.