Location and Overview
Located at an elevation of 9200 feet in the mountains of southern Utah, Navajo Lake is just one of many scenic spots in this area of great natural beauty. The lake is located 26 miles east of Cedar City, UT and four miles west of Duck Creek Village, off State Route 14 in the heart of the Dixie National Forest(check out the map). A prominent sign marks the turnoff for the dirt road that leads to Navajo Lake. The access road is graded, and a high-clearance vehicle is not necessary to get to the lake.
Navajo Lake is a natural lake with a twist: In the early 1930’s, a low dike was built at the east end of the lake to allow enough water to be retained for irrigation and other projects – and for fishing. The lake has no visible outlet, and all water flowing out of the lake exits through underwater sinkholes to reappear in nearby Duck Creek.
Although a leak in the dike caused water levels to drop significantly during 2012 and placed future fishing prospects in doubt, a “short-term” repair has solved the problem – at least for now – and Navajo Lake is open for fishing as of summer 2013.
Fishermen rate Navajo Lake:
Fishin’ Navajo Lake
Navajo Lake contains rainbow trout, brook trout, and splake, which are a hybrid resulting from crossing a male brook trout and a female lake trout. While rainbows are stocked regularly by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the lake also supports a good number of holdover rainbows stocked during previous years, as well as their naturally-occurring offspring. This means there are some good-sized fish in Navajo Lake waiting to be caught.
Shore fishermen can set up almost anywhere along the edge of the lake, although it’s quite a walk to get to most of the north shore. The dike located at the east end of the lake is a popular spot, and a convenient dirt parking area adjacent to it can be easily accessed from the main road. Anglers report good results all summer long on flashy lures such as Krocodiles, Kastmasters, and similar spoons. Power Bait takes its fair share of fish also. During late summer, a large number of weeds can grow in the lake, so be prepared to deal with this.
There are two dirt boat ramps on the south side of Navajo Lake. One is located near Navajo Lake Campground (follow the sign for “Julia’s Landing”), and the other is at Navajo Lake Lodge. There is a $7.00 fee to use the launch ramp at the lodge. Anglers can also rent boats at the lodge by the day or half day, or by the hour. For rental boat rates and more information, click here.
Navajo Lake Weather
Since Navajo Lake is situated at a fairly high elevation (approximately 9200 feet), you can generally expect temperate weather all during the summer. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather, as well as occasional thunderstorms. Wind is not as much of a factor for boaters as it would be on a much larger lake, but it can still affect safety on the water to some degree. Always check the latest weather forecast before going out. During the winter, temperatures can easily drop below freezing, with snow and ice being common. Remember that the temperature at the lake will typically be 15 to 20 degrees cooler than in nearby Cedar City due to the increased elevation, with cool nights even in the height of summer.
Click here to see current weather conditions and forecasts for Duck Creek Village, UT.
Lodging and Camping
Lodging in the area of Navajo Lake is somewhat limited. Navajo Lake Lodge is located at the southwest corner of the lake, and offers “rustic” housekeeping cabins from $65 per night. There are also several lodging options in nearby Duck Creek Village, located four miles east of the lake access road on State Highway 14. Or, if proximity to the lake isn’t an issue, there’s always Cedar City, 26 miles west on SR14.
Those who prefer camping will find their needs catered to by two campgrounds on the shore of Navajo Lake, as well as several others in the vicinity. Navajo Lake Campground and Spruces Campground are both located right on the south shore of the lake, while Te-Ah Campground is only a short drive east on the dirt access road. Other campgrounds in the area include Duck Creek Campground (located in Duck Creek Village), and Deer Haven and Cedar Canyon Campgrounds (off SR 14 several miles west of the Navajo Lake access road). These campgrounds are all operated by the U.S. Forest Service. A list of all USFS campgrounds in the Cedar City area, as well as links with information on reservations and fees, can be found on the Forest Service’s Dixie National Forest website.
Licensing and Regulations
Fishing is permitted in Navajo Lake all year round, at all hours of the day and night. Anglers 14 years and older must have a current Utah fishing license in their possession while fishing. There is a 4-fish limit, with no minimum length. Only one pole may be used unless you purchase a second pole stamp.
There is no place at the lake to purchase a fishing license, despite information to the contrary on the Navajo Lake Lodge website. If you need to buy a license, we recommend you get it in Duck Creek Village, or stop in Cedar City and pick one up there.
The complete, current Utah fishing regulations are available from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
For more information on Navajo Lake, including current fishing conditions, you can call the lodge at (702) 646-4197.