A few months back, Outdoor Life completed a survey on the "best places to live" if hunting and fishing were your passion.

The very best place listed was a small town in the Ozarks Valley appropriately named Mountain Home, Ark.

Not too surprising, most of the towns listed in their top 20 were in the western United States and included Utah towns Richfield (11th), Logan (12th) and Cedar City (15th).

Those that were nearby included Lewiston (second) and Pocatello (fifth) in Idaho, Sheridan (third) and Cody (fourth) in Wyoming, and Page, Ariz. In fact, 14 of the 20 were out West.

The story announcing the lists said the magazine went to great lengths to make its selections, looking at towns with a population of 4,000 or more and scored 200 in all. Scoring was done on a scale of 1 to 10.

The story said Mountain Home scored well because of the great warm- and cold-water fishing (a score of 8) in the White River and Bull Shoals, and turkey, deer, duck and bear hunting (7).

Lewiston placed high because of the great steelhead fishing (9) and excellent upland game hunting (8).

Page scored well on hunting (7), fishing (8) and trophy potential (7). With Lake Powell and the Colorado River below the dam so close, I would have expected a higher score on fishing, at least a 9. There aren't many places like Powell where a fisherman can catch striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, walleye and nice 5- and 6-pound carp in an afternoon.

Richfield scored high in hunting (7), but only average in fishing (5). There are some pretty nice fishing holes around Richfield, though, which would include Fish Lake, home of great splake, perch and lake trout fishing.

Logan scored high in hunting (7) and OK in fishing (6). Here, too, I would have given a higher score. The Monte Cristo area east of the Hardware Elk Ranch offers good hunting and a good chance at a trophy. And I wouldn't sell fishing short, either. Bear Lake isn't that far away, nor is the Blacksmith Fork.

And then there's Cedar City, which scored well for hunting (7), but did poorly for fishing (4). I don't know how far the range was, but there are some fine fishing holes within an hour's drive, like newly restored Panguitch Lake, trophy-filled Minersville and the warm-water fishing at Quail Creek and the new Sand Hollow.

Others I would have considered for the list would be Vernal, Price and Heber.

There is some excellent hunting north of Vernal around Flaming Gorge and southeast in the Book Cliffs. And in the area of fishing there's Flaming Gorge, Pelican Lake and the hundreds of lakes in the nearby Uintas.

West of Price is the Fishlake National Forest and some of the best elk and deer hunting in the state. In the same area is Scofield Reservoir, Electric Lake, Joe's Valley and all those lakes to the east of Skyline Drive.

And Heber not only has OK hunting, but its fishing is excellent with places like Strawberry, Deer Creek and Jordanelle, not to mention the upper, middle and lower sections of the Provo River.

Any way you add up the numbers, if you enjoy fishing and hunting, Utah is really a great place to live.


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