Provo River Fly-fishing Report
By: Steve Schmidt
May 19, 2013
Conditions: Provo River fly-fishing conditions are still pretty good, but flows are jumping around some, especially on the Lower Provo. The Lower Provo settled down from 882 ft3/s to 637 ft3/s. That makes it a lot more fishable. While the Lower Provo River dropped some, the Middle Provo River took a little jump. Nothing significant however. Current flows being released from Jordanelle are 302 ft2/s. This is a normal summer flow, and only a slight increase from where it was last week. This suttle change should have very little impact on the fishing. Jordanelle Reservoir is about 60% of normal, which for the middle of May is quite low. With a marginal snowpack there going to store water before they start to ramp up flows.
Peak flows on either of these tailwaters won't be extreme this year. Hopefully they'll get up to at least 1000 ft3/s. In the long run high flows are very good for the health of this and all our fisheries. My guess is given our water situation we'll see peak flows settle down quickly. As a result we may also see hatches on the Provo River get started a little earlier in June: Drakes, PMD's and stoneflies.
If you prefer to fish dry flies, the Middle Provo will give you the best opportunities. With the Lower Provo's more significant recent increase in flows the nymph fishing will be an option, but its going to be tough sledding.
Given options and current conditions I'd pick the Middle Provo overall. Nick shortly after flows increased hit a very good late afternoon caddis hatch and also did well fishing Skwalas. Although we're on borrowed time, and hatches on the Provo River are a little sporadic, conditions on the Middle Provo are quite good still.
At this juncture in May on the Provo River and other Utah waters we are day to day. Give us a call, stop in or check your stream flow sites before heading out. Your due diligence will pay off.
Insect Activity: Bug life on the Provo River is starting to transition. Blue Wing Olives after this heat wave have given way to caddis and a few remaining Skwalas. Drakes for those wondering are probably about 4wk away, but that will depend on what they do with spring flows. With the water changes on the Lower Provo, there will be not hatches. For those who want to fish dry flies and have a chance of finding a fish or two up on caddis, the Middle Provo River is the place to be.
Caddis hatches have been taking place in the middle of the afternoon and last into the early evening. These hatches aren't as consistent or as prolific as what we've been enjoying on the Weber, but they're generating some good dry fly, nymph and soft hackle fishing.
Fly Patterns for the Provo River:
• Dry Flies: Olive Madam X, Olive Stimulator, Peacock Caddis, X-Caddis.
• Nymphs: Poison Tung, Zebra Midge, Brassie, JuJu Mide, Lint Bug, JuJU Baeits, PT's, Killer Baetis Nymph, Black Baetis Nymph, JuJu Baetis,
• Soft Hackles: Syls Partridge and Peacock, Partridge and PT's.
Techniques: Fly-fishing techniques for the Provo River that are effective for April and early May are streamers, dry flies, nymphs and Soft Hackles. Did I miss anything! With the excellent hatches we get this time of year the later of the three techniques that I mentioned are the most consistent and productive. With our rivers and streams now starting to see good numbers of recently hatched brown trout fry and some spring cutthroat and rainbow spawners, streamers are again a good option. Those cloudy and cool days we've been having when it takes some time for the bugs to get going are also good days to chuck the big stuff. Although a sink tip line will allow you to cover more water in combination with a WF floating line, with waters at their current level you can do a fair amount of damage with just a floating line. On sink tip lines keep your leaders under 4'. If you are fishing a floating line you'll want to fish a longer leader 7 1/2' to 9'. I prefer very sparse streamers this time of year since fry are a key food source in the spring. These newly hatched translucent fry inhabit the shallows after they hatch so generally I stick with a floating line.
With the Blue Wing hatches now on most of our major waters in full swing the nymph fishing and dry fly fishing are by far the more consistent techniques to employ. Prior to the hatch getting underway you'll want to fish your nymphs 3'-4' deep. Once the bugs get more active and you start to see some adults, to have good success you should fish your flies more shallow or switch to dry flies and emergers. At this juncture if you don't switch to surface flies, use a dropper with a short 5X dropper to fish your nymphs or hard to see emergers near the surface. Trout will follow their food and at some point there's going to be more food congregated near the surface than there is closer to the bottom. Trout will also start to migrate to more shallow lies, so look before you leap.
For dry flies and emergers, my favorite fly-fishing game, you'll do better if you use either 5.5X or 6X tippets. If you're thrown for a loop on the 5.5X suggestion, Trout Hunter makes a 5.5X and 6.5X tippet material that we started carrying and using a number of years ago. I would have to say since I fish a lot of dry flies that I have become a big fan of the 5.5X. Good stuff. Regardless, if I can get away with fishing BWO patterns on 5X I'm good with that. Usually on cloudy days I have better success fishing larger tippets on waters that receives a fair amount of pressure. On these nice sunny days ahead, a smaller tippet size may be the answer.
When ever there are good hatches, Soft Hackles always will produce. If you're new to fly-fishing this is a very effective way to fish any of our waters and have success without dealing with all the frustration that goes with fishing indicators, sinkers and flies. You'll be able to work on your cast, have fewer tangles and on many occasion see the trout take your fly. For those who have been at this game for a while, its simply a great and very relaxing way to have success when fly-fishing for trout. If you're not familiar with fly-fishing using Soft Hackles, or any technique for that matter, stop in and we'll get you dialed in. We also offer Soft Hackle Fly-fishing classes.
Regardless of the way you enjoy fishing with flies, it's good fishing right now using a variety of techniques. If you haven't been out, you want to make time to enjoy the excellent mayfly hatches that we have been fishing. Stop in, let us know what we can to help you get the most out of your days on the water.
Shop Talk: We have a variety of classes going on throughout the year. If you want to get in on one of Nick Fly-Fishing 101 classes you better check your calendar and sign up. His first one in April is full. His other classes now that the weather is warming up are also beginning to fill. Towards the end of the month we have another specialty casting class. This one is to improve your " Casting Efficiency. This class is April 27th. For this and other class we have going on check out our web-site or please feel free to stop in or give us a call: (801)521-6424.
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Provo River Guide Service:
Our Provo River fly fishing guides are just that, fly-fishing guides; experienced teachers who will take the time to make your trip memorable regardless of the fly-fishing conditions. Although they have a preference for fishing dry flies, they are experienced in all the fly-fishing techniques: nymphs, dry flies, streamers and soft hackles. Their knowledge, skills and willingness to utilize what a river gives you allows them to take full advantage of the many opportunities that the Provo River offers on any given day. They are off to an early start with the warm weather and good fishing we have been enjoying. We run a small guide service by choice: minimize the impact we have on our waters, ensure a good knowledgeable crew of guides all with the intention of optimizing your experience on the water. If you want to learn more about fishing the Provo River this time of year or any time of year I can think of few other ways than taking a Provo River Guide trip with one of insured Provo River Fly-fishing Guides.
Fishing Licenses On-Line: If you are visiting from out of state and don't have time to visit the shop before heading over to the Green the following link will take you to where you can get a 0n-Line Utah Fishing License. You'll also be able to secure additional helpful information regarding the states fishing.