High Desert Anglers

TU Chapter 620


High Desert Anglers is the Uintah Basin area grassroots chapter of Trout Unlimited, dedicated to Conserving, Protecting, and Restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. With over 50 active members, High Desert Anglers is a passionate community of anglers and conservationists working tirelessly to ensure healthy fish populations and vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Winter Activities:

Throughout the winter months, High Desert Anglers holds monthly meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vernal. These meetings offer fly tying demonstrations, enhanced this year with video equipment that allows all participants to clearly view each step of the process.

February Casting and Fly Tying Clinic:

In February, High Desert Anglers partnered with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to host a successful casting and fly tying clinic at the Vernal indoor Recreation gymnasium. The event saw excellent participation, with several fly rods given away as gifts and valuable teaching aids purchased for future instruction.

Big Brush Creek Restoration Project:

May marked the annual cleanup of Big Brush Creek, a 12-mile long stream north of Vernal. This cleanup is the first step in a multi-year project involving High Desert Anglers , Uintah County, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the DWR, and private interests. The ambitious project aims to restore the streambanks, create a 1.7-mile parallel trail with bridges and fisherman access points, and ultimately transform Big Brush Creek into a thriving urban fishery.

With the help of TU biologists Jordan Nielson and Paul Burnett, along with a local engineering firm, High Desert Anglers secured a WRI Grant from the State to complete the NEPA permit, paving the way for further grant opportunities and the project’s completion.

Trout in the Classroom Program:

High Desert Anglers is deeply committed to youth education. For many years, the chapter has funded the Trout in the Classroom program, which provides over a dozen setups in the Uintah Basin. This program allows students to raise trout from eggs to fingerlings, culminating in the rewarding release into local waterways. High Desert Anglers members volunteered at a field trip to a private pond in Vernal, witnessing the excitement of students releasing the trout they had raised for months.

Calder’s Reservoir Aerator Projects:

May also saw High Desert Anglers return to Calder’s Reservoir to evaluate the status of their windmill and solar aerator projects from the past two years. While the solar aerators have been a success, the windmills faced challenges, including damage from muskrats chewing through air lines. By incorporating components of the solar system into the windmill system, High Desert Anglers hopes to have finally resolved these issues and will be working on improvements in the fall.

Green River Cleanup and Single Fly Fundraiser:

August began with High Desert Anglers participating in the Green River cleanup organized by the Green River Outfitters and Guides Association (GROGA). Later in the month, High Desert Anglers held their most important annual event, the Green River Single Fly Fundraiser. This large undertaking raises funds that enable High Desert Anglers to undertake numerous projects throughout the year. A big thanks to the chapters across the state who support this vital event!

Fall Activities:

Fall will see High Desert Anglers ¬†members returning to Calder’s Reservoir to further refine their windmill system. Additionally, once the DWR finishes construction of the Community Ponds, High Desert Anglers plans to utilize them for an outdoor casting clinic, mirroring the successful indoor clinic held in winter. These ponds will be a valuable asset to the Uintah Basin, offering opportunities for fishing and recreation.


Looking Ahead:

High Desert Anglers is committed to their mission of protecting and restoring the Uintah Basin’s coldwater fisheries. Through their dedicated efforts, the chapter ensures healthy fish populations, vibrant aquatic ecosystems, and opportunities for future generations to enjoy the thrill of fishing and the beauty of nature.

Thank you to all who support Trout Unlimited and its mission!

Tight Lines!