Updated: March 24th, 2017
By: Nick Teynor
Fishing Conditions Summary:
*Green River flows are on the rise again!!! The flows out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir are now at a sustained flow of 4,600 ft3/s, but come Monday (March 27th) they will be raising the flows to 6,600 ft3/s for the rest of the spring. Don't fret; give the fish a couple of days to adjust, and the fishing for the rest of Spring should be solid.The Weber below Rockport Reservoir is now at 196 CFS, and the Weber below Echo is 204 CFS. Fishing below Rockport should improve as the fish find their places in these flows, and the Weber below Echo is now at a good fishing flow. Check in with us before you head out to fish for the most up-to-date river flows!*
Good Afternoon Everyone! We have seen some crazy fluctuations in the weather the past couple of days, and we will see more of that this coming weekend and week as well. I have been seeing and hearing about sporadic Blue Wing Olive hatches on the the lower Middle Provo, and on the Lower Provo as well. So make sure you pack along your Blue Wing boxes with the appropriate midges we have listed, and you should be ready for whatever decides to hatch while you are out there. My guide trip on Tuesday experienced good fishing with Buffalo Midges on top and below, but we also nymphed up a couple of nice fish on RS-2 Emergers. The Blue Wing Olive nymphs are definitely around, so running a Baetis/Midge nymph combo would be a smart choice before and after the prime hatch time. I still had to fish light leaders and tippet with my clients, but it was the fist time all year I did not have to drop down to 7x tippet to have consistent success on dries. Progress!
I checked the Lower Provo flow gauge today, and the river has risen to 395 CFS. Be prepared with a good assortment of Blue Wing nymphs, emergers, cripples, and dries (#18-#20); along with the recommended midges for the Middle Provo, and you should be set. Nymphing and even streamer fishing opportunities on the Lower Provo should also be good with the rise in flows. Best advice I can give anyone is to check with us, or check the river flows yourself before heading out. That way you don't find yourself on a river that is blown or blowing out! The Weber River out of Rockport Reservoir is flowing at 196 CFS and it continues to be in fishable shape. I wouldn't expect to see the midge hatches we see on the Lower and Middle Provo, but the nymph fishing opportunities could be good, and if you don't want to nymph, try slowly swinging and stripping some streamers through the deeper runs and holes. No idea on how long they will keep the river at this flow, so check before you head out.
The Middle Provo is providing pretty consistent midge hatches every day. The big "buffalo" midges are here, and the fish are loving them when they are out. You can always grind some fish up nymphing the slower runs and pools before the hatch, but the milder weather has made it possible to see early dry fly activity. Midges, like mayflies, will come back to the water to lay their eggs in the mornings and evenings IF the air temperature is warm enough, and the wind calm. Because of these mating midges, and increased fishing pressure, it would be wise to get to the river a little earlier (*8:30-9 AM*) on those milder days in order to make sure you put yourself in position to find some more consistent fishing. Premier time for seeing the midge hatch will still be from 11AM-4PM, but the fish are still going to be congregated in the deeper, slower holes (i.e. the water EVERYONE fishes)-so it would be wise to get to the water a little earlier if the weather is going to be REALLY nice. With the warmer weather returning, it would also be wise to look at the deeper holes in the faster pocket water.
My guide trip on Tuesday found fish up and rising in the deeper holes in the pocketwater, and we did not have to worry about seeing too many other anglers around. The increase in fishing pressure can drive fish into these zones, and if the river traffic is particularly busy the day you get out, I would definitely give those areas a try. The Lower Provo has had some significant flow increases, but it should be running clear-clear enough to fish. We have been seeing and hearing about sporadic Blue Wing hatches from Vivian Park up to above the Railroad Trestle, and this cloudy and cool weather the past couple of days should help these bugs keep hatching. I have been making sure to have every stage of the Blue Wing lifecycly in my boxes, Midges on top and below, and an assortment of Sow Bugs in various colors and sizes. If the water is off-color, a smaller Red San Juan, or Squirmy Wormy as a lead fly in a nymph rig could be in order to "help" the fish see your smaller offerings.
I would still highly recommend focusing your fishing on our tailwater fisheries, and now that most of the snow along our local rivers is gone, it would be worth doing some exploring. This is great news for all of you who like to walk to get away from the other folks! Fishing won't be as consistent the farther away from the dam you get, but you will definitely see far less people. If the air temperatures are mild the day you head out to fish, that could potentially get some midge adults motivated to get back to the water to mate. A thermometer will allow you to figure out whether the water you are fishing will be warm enough to help get the bugs and fish active, and make sure you don't waste your time fishing "dead" water. If the tempertature of the water you are fishing is colder than 37-40 degrees, it is time to move. Also, if you have any doubts about water temperature the day you are heading out, going closer to the dam to fish this time of year is usually a safe bet; just don't expect to be alone!
Our big "Buffalo" midge is here, and Blue Wings are starting to show, so being prepared with some bigger, darker colored midges in sizes #18-#22, and Blue Wing Olive nymphs, emergers and duns (#18-20) is now essential. Cloudy days have been great for fishing, and we have been able to get away with using 6x instead of dropping down to 7x. For those sunny days, however, I cannot stress the importance of fishing smaller leaders and tippet (6x-7x), keeping a low-profile, making sure the sun is not broadcasting your shadow over the water, and changing your presentation angles when dealing with picky fish sipping off the surface. *We are still seeing very small grey midges on both the Middle and Lower Provo, and the fish have been on them. In short, don't leave your little bugs at home!*
EARLY SPRING FLY RECOMMENDATIONS:
Zebra Midges (#20-#24)
Midge Soft Hackles (#20-#24)
Bling Midges (#22)
“Top Secret” Midge (#22,#26)
Mercury Midges (#22-#26)
Griffiths Gnat (#16-#22)
Orange Asher (#16-#18)
Morgan’s Midge (#22-#24)
Parachute Adams (#18-#26)
Parachute Midge (#22-#26)
CDC Midge (#22-#24)
Nunya Midge (#24)
Syl's Midge (#18)
Mother Shucker's (#20-#24)
Sow Bugs (#16-#22)
San Juan/Flossy Worm (#14-#18)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#18-#22)
BWO Nymphs (#18-22)
BWO Cripples (#18-22)
BWO Duns (#18-#22)
If you feel the urge to stretch your legs, or you want to fish something other than our local fisheries, I would suggest that you take the time and head over to the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. *The river flows are going to rise again!!! Flows for the rest of spring will be 6,600 CFS as of Monday (March 27th). This will definitely put the fish down until the flows reach 6,600 CFS for a couple of days.* After that, everything should stabilize and fishing should return to being good. If you do go, expect to see midges and Blue Wing Olives up and down from Little Hole, and if you are willing to float the Green, streamer fishing has been reported to be productive. #wrflyfisher, #keepemwet.
Green River flows are going to rise!!! The flows are coming up to a sustained flow of 4,600 ft3/s this Thursday, and come April, they may be going as high as 6,600-8,800 ft3/s depending on how fast the weather warms up. Don't fret; give the fish a couple of days to adjust, and the fishing for the rest of March should be good-great.
The Middle Provo has been flowing consistently to 150 ft3/s, which is it's normal winter level. The Lower Provo is higher than normal for this time of year and running at 395 ft3/s. Flows have been getting bumped around, so it is REALLY a good idea to check the gauge before heading out. Give us a call, and we can tell you up-to-date river flow information.
The Weber River is flowing around 196 ft3/s out of Rockport. Don't know how long they will keep it there, so check it out soon if you want to go fish it.
by: Steve Schmidt
Closing Comments: 2017: It's getting to be the time of year when I take a break from these reports. Once fall hatches conclude there isn't much worth commenting on and I need a little break from the computer screen. So, I thought I take the Closing Comments section to look into my crystal ball and give a brief run down of what to expect in 2017 before I drop off the face of the earth. So, get your calendars out and lets start to look at 2017 in a nutshell and start plugging in some dates for the upcoming year so you don't miss out on the years best fishing.....
By December our streams get pretty quiet. Water temps are cool enough that our trout streams, especially upper elevation waters don't get much in the way of activity. Although if we have mild Decembers we can see winter midge hatches get underway early, sometimes as early as December. That has happened a time or two on the Provo and Green Rivers and given these continued mild trends we're experiencing in the winter I wouldn't rule out some early dry fly fishing opportunities in December. We'll just have to wait and see. Personally, I'd like to see our trout get a break and hopefully see winter inundate us cold and wet. We're due.
Early January is also a fairly quiet month. Typically we don't see winter midge hatches until late January and more likely early February. That gives you a few months to get some flies tied up before noses again appear on a few of our local waters. Although there can be opportunities for some decent fly-fishing in January, looking back I don't really see consistent midge hatches until February arrives.
February is when I start to get a little itchy. Midge hatches will be more dependable, there a good chance that noses will be up and by the end of the month we'll find the Middle Provo's large Buffalo Midge starting to get a fair amount of attention. For the most part we're fishing really tiny midge stuff through the heart of winter, so when these big #18-#20 midges begin to appear flyfisher's and trout alike welcome thier arrival. Generally the more stable the weather the more consistent the fly-fishing opportunities are when it comes to midges. If we have a February similar to the one we had in 2016 when we experienced some great dry fly days on the Green and Provo during the middle of that month we'll be off to a normal start. You'll find the best fishing in February during the most pleasant part of the day when the sun is out and afternoon's can actually be quite pleasant. So, if you're starting to itch from cabin fever February is typically the first month when our winter fishing really starts to light up.
Midges will carry us into March, but by the middle or by late March we'll begin to see them mix with a smattering of BWO's. Similar to midge waters we have a limited number of tailwater fisheries that will have good Blue Wing Olive hatches in early spring, but those rivers and streams have awesome fishing when this hatch gets going. In general I prefer February to the first few weeks in March since we start to get back into storm cycles in early March and midges hatch best when the weather is more stable. The fishing is normally better in the later half of March when Blue Wings start to become more apart of the daily mix. Unlike midges mayflies hatch best, as do all mayflies, on overcast, cool and wet days. So by this time of year regardless of the weather you'll find some decent opportunities in the afternoon on a number of our tailwaters with midges or mayfly hatches.
By April we'll see our trout shift from winter midges to spring Blue Wings. We welcome them as well. These spring mayfly hatches are highly anticipated by many since the weather's a little milder by now, bugs are of a decent size, this hatch is very dependable and there's a lot of very good dry fly fishing opportunities. If you're planning ahead with limited time in the spring to get out and want to optimize your day/s on the water early on in the season April is a month in Utah that I would focus on. Regardless of the techniques you enjoy, the fishing's pretty darn good and consistent. If you can be flexible in your days on the water, then look for those days that have some cloud cover overhead with a possiblity of a little moisture in the air. You'll see fewer anglers on the water on these days and you'll enjoy the best hatches.
Later in April along with the month's spring mayfly hatches arrives our second stonefly hatch of the year: Skwala's. This stonefly is predominantly found on the Middle Provo, but you'll also find them hatching on sections of the Green. It's a dark stonefly, about size #10-#12 that isn't the most prolific stonefly hatch of the year by any means, but when they're out they don't get ignored. So if you're headed out the door to the Middle Provo in late April have a couple Skwala patterns in addition to your arsenal of BWO's. On those warm sunny April days they can generate some exciting fishing.
As BWO's wind down the first part of May if we're lucky, depending on how you look at it, we'll get some decent water conditions we'll get a chance to fish the Mother's Day Caddis hatch in May. Genearlly this hatch coincides with run-off and spring releases. Last year this prolific hatch produced some really awesome dry fly fishing, because as many of you know, we didn't have much in the way of water for 2016. The past few years due to a very marginal snow pack we saw waters levels on most of our tailwaters stay flat. Upper elevation streams bumped up pretty good, but nothing like they are capable of on average when we enjoy good water years. We're hoping that changes for 2017, but given our start to the water year so far we aren't feeling too optimistic.
By the end of May we start to see another isolated, but opportunistic hatch in northern Utah, Salmon Flies. This giant stonefly produces some incredible, but brief fly-fishing opportunities on a number of our fisheries. Historically we have high water still in late May, but as I've eluded to we haven't had much water around in late May so the opportunities to fish this hatch has been better than usual. If this weather pattern persists expect to have better than average water conditions for May and to enjoy good Salmon Fly hatches and fishing as a consequence. All stoneflies hatch best when the weather is warm and sunny. So, if we have decent water conditions combined with some warm dry weather this hatch is worth figuring out. These giant bugs create some pretty incredible fishing experiences.
Another May hatch that can be a factor late in the month are Cicadas. Although they are most we'll known as an important super hatch on the Green, this big terrestrial is also a factor on a number of our other northern Utah waters. Since it's a terrestrial it's really affected by weather. More so than the aquatic insects that trout are get a more steady diet of. Cold wet springs produce marginal hatches at best. Since we don't know what the weather is going to be like in May for 2017 this is a very difficult hatch to predict year in and year out. I get asked all the time if the upcoming year is going to be a good Cicada year. Well we'll just have to see what kind of weather May stirs up in the upcoming year. That's what it comes down to. It's as simple as that. So, if conditions are favorable and you can stay flexible before planning a May trip to the Green or to a number of our other local waters that also enjoy good Cicada hatches come May you'll want to pay attention. This is a hatch worth tracking and getting in on. As always we'll keep you posted.
By June, the house really gets rocking. Typically the fishing doesn't get going until the middle of the month, but there may also be some decent opportunities over June's first few weeks that locals can really take advantage of. Salmon Flies are still around and you should be ready for the start of summers PMD's. If Cicadas were a factor in May, they'll still be getting lots of attention through the first couple of weeks of June. On normal water years, however fishing and rivers begin to settle down from spring run-off and become more consistent towards the middle and end of June than in it's beginning. In the last few weeks of June we'll see Salmon Flies, Golden Stoneflies in a variety of sizes, PMD's, Caddis and Green Drakes all emerging on a variety of waters from the end of June until the early weeks of July. It can be pretty amazing, especially if your on the water on one of those days when you have all kinds of shit happening.
In general the big stoneflies don't last that long; a few weeks on their respective bodies of water. The smaller stoneflies are a little more wide spread and prolific. You'll find these primitive bugs in a variety of sizes and colors on sunny warm days on a number of different Utah waters. If it's overcast and cool you'll enjoy some of the years best mayfly hatches. With caddis also in the picture if you're putting a full day in you can fish this hatch until dark. Up unitl June, most of your fly-fishing opportunities are late morning to mid afternoon. By the middle of June we start to have stuff happening from dawn to dusk. And, not only are most of our waters fishing well by this time of year, but you'll have an opportunity to hit a variety of epic hatches on any given day regardless of the weather. If you're going to have limited time to fish in the upcoming year there is a four week window here that you'll not want to miss. It really doesn't get much more automatic than during this four week window.
By the middle of July you'll find most of the stonefly hatches have run their course. Drakes as well. If it's a hot dry summer, which again is the pattern we seem to be in terrestrials will start to mix with afternoon PMD hatches. As your day unfolds look for PMD spinners to get the days first attention. On cloudy warm days good PMD and caddis hatches in the riffle and pocket water can generate good dry fly fishing. Caddis and PMD spinners will end the day as darkness gathers. Typically it gets pretty hot this time of year so the best fishing is at the bookends of the day.
Although August and September can be considered a month of dull drums, they can also be months of good fly-fishing opportunities with fewer bodies to share your experiences with. Terrestrials, PMD's, and caddis are all bugs that are still very much a factor. If we have some mild temps, the fishing will be quite good. If it's hot, the fishing will be a little more mixed. If you're looking to one river to hit this time of year, I'd look to the Green River. This river late in the season is about as consistent and good as any fishery in the west. Unlike many of our western fisheries it really relies on a steady diet of terrestrials. It does have great aquatic insect hatches certain times of the year, but it's trout really rely on the abundant colonies of ants, big beetles and hoppers. It will still be quite busy, but not near as busy as it is in June and July.
Where our fisheries to the north start having fall fishing conditions in September, fall in earnest begins here in Utah in October. It's when Blue Wings again begin to emerge and streamer fishing starts to become effective. On several of our local fisheries we'll also enjoy strong hatches of caddis the most prolific of them being the Western Weedy Water Sedge. This small dark caddis will start to show in late September and continue well into October. They mix with Octobers Blue Wing Olives. If you're not finding many noses up this time of the year as browns get more territorial as the spawn approaches try fishing streamers.
If you follow these reports than your familiar with November. This year it's been a very good month due to a number of factors. Normally Blue Wings are for the most part done by November, but this year they've been excellent. Some of the best streamer fishing we enjoy in November and this year that has held true. Even though we've had some good mayfly hatches, they're winding down and before long they to will come to an end.
I hope you've gotten some good snippets from this little summary. I hope you had as good a year on the water as I was fortunate to have and that my weekly updates helped you get the most out of your valuable time on the water. Thanks for following me. I'll be back at it a few months from now. In the interim if stay in touch. Coffee's on, our years experiences in photographs is running, and even in the winter we open at 8.
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.
Also, this is very cool. You can down load the DWR APP and this will allow you to store your fishing license on your phone. Also, your kids, or persons of interest. That way you don't have to worry about loosing your license, and now that you can save a little money and buy a 5 year fishing license, it makes more sense. Get the APP: