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River Conditions

Updated: April 22nd, 2018
By: Nick Teynor 

Fishing Conditions Summary:

The Middle Provo, as of today, is flowing at 150 CFS out of Jordanelle Reservoir. This is a typical winter flow, and there now will be tons of places where you can  cross the river. If you do fish the Middle Provo, the late-morning of the day through the afternoon has been the best time to search for fish up and eating Midges and Blue Wing Olives. The lower flows will really force the fish to find some deeper water, and if you are out in the middle of a sunny day focus on the deeper pools, riffles, and pocket water. The Lower Provo is currently reading at 162 CFS. Watch out for the Rainbow spawning beds, and still focus on fishing the deeper holes and edges. The higher flows on the Lower will push more fish to the edges, so fish the water at your feet before going stomping across the river! The flows out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir are going through a bump. The river has been running at 3,000 CFS during the night, being dropped down to 900 CFS in the early morning, brought up to 1,700-1,900 CFS during the day, and brought back up to 3,000 CFS at night. In short, if you are fishing from 9 AM-5 PM, you will hit those stable 1,700 CFS flows, and should have decent fishing opportunities. The Weber below Rockport Reservoir, as of today, it is running at 22 CFS. This flow is super low, once again, and we won't touch it until it gets back to 50-100 CFS. The Weber below Echo is currently flowing at 22.0 CFS. This is a better flow, but still too low to get us excited about fishing it. If you go down towards Croyden you will find a river that is flowing, but it is so low that none of us at the shop will fish that section. If you want to fish the lower Weber still, fish it just outside of Ogden and up the I-84 corridor to Morgan. Here are the links to the Utah Streamflow sites:

2) USGS Streamflow:

Our Blue Wing Olive hatches will continue to get better and better as April moves along, and our midge hatches will still be very important until we hit run-off. There will be other things to look out for, but before we move on to discussing these other fishing options, I need to get a little P.S.A. out there so that we can all be better stewards of our resources:

We [Anglers] need to watch out for and respect our Rainbow trout as they start their spawning ritual. In short, we need to watch were we step and fish to make sure we don't ruin their spawning nests, or stress the fish. Most if not all trout look to spawn in shallow, gravelly riffles because these zones allow them to dig out a nest with their bodies, and the oxygenated water keeps the eggs alive until they are ready to hatch.  If you see water like this, and you see patches of streambed that look as if they have been scrubbed clean, or lighter in color than the surrounding streambed, don't walk there or fish there. Chances are that spot is a spawning nest (aka REDD). If you don't know what a trout redd/nest looks like, all you need to do is literally Google "Trout Redds", and you can see what they look like and make sure to avoid them while you are out there fishing. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use egg patterns, because we all know that all fish love to eat eggs. It just means that we need to focus on fishing those egg patterns in the deeper holes downstream of the spawning fish, where all the fish that aren't spawning are waiting for this seasonal morsel to come to them. Now, onto other things!

Spring is here!!! The latest hatches of midges AND Blue Wing Olive mayflies (BWO's) we have encountered over the last week or two have confirmed that fishing is getting better by the day; especially if there are clouds and/or storm systems rolling through. The Middle Provo will continue to see Midge hatches as April progresses, but we are REALLY excited about seeing and fishing the increasing BWO's hatches that are getting the attention of our fish. The best time to find actively nymphing fish, and see noses up and feeding off the surface, will continue to be between 11 AM-4 PM. You can still show up around 11 AM and not miss much most days, but if it is a really mild day, you could have midges on the water by 10:30 AM or earlier, and once the BWO's start hatching, there could be BWO spinners to look out for in the morning and afternoon as well. Nymphing with #18 Cased-Caddis Nymphs, #16-#20 Sow Bugs, #18 Hares Ears, #20-22 BWO Barrs Emergers, #22-#24 WD-40s, #18-#22 Pheasant Tails, and a variety of smaller midge larva and pupae in sizes #18-#24 should continue to work through the spring season. As April get warmer, we do have Skwala stoneflies in the Middle Provo and Weber that will become active and start to hatch. So, it would be wise to have some #12 Skwala Stone dry and nymph patterns in your boxes! Nymphing will continue to be a very good option-especially if you show up and there are no fish up and rising or bugs buzzing around. This warmer than normal weather has also made streamer fishing a good option to try, especially if nothing else is working. The baby brown trout from the fall spawn should be looking to leave their nests soon, so streamer fishing with small, baby brown trout colored streamers is another fishing option. We have found that on the sunny days a bright-colored streamer is worth fishing if there is no surface activity, and the nymph fishing is slow. If there are clouds, and you arrive early before the hatch, or want to stay later, put on a darker colored streamer, and cover the river. Tip: Make sure to vary your retrieve speeds, and take a step or two after each cast!!!

The Lower Provo has been getting better and better. As of late there have been stronger Blue Wing Olive mayflies popping off with the warmer, cloudier weather, but midges are still around, and fish continue to feed on them. Nymphing with the aforementioned Middle Provo patterns, and especially small sow bugs, should continue to move fish throughout the entire spring season. Please remember to watch your step! There are A LOT of Rainbow spawning areas on the Lower Provo up by the dam, so remember to give these areas and the fish on them a wide berth. Streamers can and will work, especially with the warmer temperatures, but just remember as the weather gets colder, the fish will not be near as willing to chase something down to kill it. When in doubt, fish your flies slow!

The Weber River between Wanship and Coalville is super low again. We won't fish it until the flows get above 50-100 CFS, and we suggest that you look for other alternatives until the flows go back to a better fishing level. If you want to fish the Weber, head towards Ogden, and fish from the mouth of the canyon up to Peterson. As of today, flows in that section look very fishable, and are the best option based on the flows. Keep an eye out for Blue Wing Olives, midges, and Skwala stones!

Other Waters
With our low snow pack this year, it would be wise to get your Southern Utah stream fix in earlier rather than later. You will see all of the same hatches we are seeing around here right now, with the added bonus of maybe seeing some smaller terrestrials (ants, beetles, etc.) starting to become more and more active. Good place to explore if you are looking to get away from some of the increasing fishing pressure.

Fishing Tip: This time of year, I carry 7.5' 3X leaders for fishing streamers and bigger dry-dropper rigs, and 7.5'-9' 5X leaders for dry flies, soft hackles, and nymphs. These two leader sizes make it very easy to adjust to the changing conditions. As long as you have the appropriate tippet sizes (3x-7x), you can build your leaders out by simply adding tippet, and not have to carry too much stuff in your kit. Also, on cloudy days, don't be afraid to fish little heavier tippet than you would use on a super sunny day.  Clouds help make your leader/tippet less visible to the fish, because there is less light, so your leader and tippet are not super shiny and obvious to the fish. I find myself fishing 5X for BWO's, and 6X for midges on these nastier weather days, but still make sure you continue to have your 6x and 7x tippet with you when fishing our Midge and BWO hatches on the sunnier days! 

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. Blue Wing Olive mayfly hatches are around and getting stronger, Midges are hatching everyday, nymphing with small scuds, midges, and mayfly patterns will move fish all Spring, and the streamer fishing is still producing fish. 

(Highlighted Flies are "Must-Haves" for the next week or so)

Zebra Midges (#16-#22)
Buckskin Nymph (#20-#22)
Bling Midge (#22)
B.H. Twenty-Incher #12
B.H. Hares Ear #12
Mothershuckers (#22-#24)
Griffith's Gnats (#16-#24)
Para. Adams (#20-#26)         

Sow Bugs (#16-#22)
San Juan/Flossy Worm (#12-#18) 
Peacock Stimulator #12
Olive PMX #12
Peacock PMX #12

BWO Nymphs (#20-#24)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#20-#22)
Sparkle Dun BWO (#20-#22)
BWO Cripple (#20-#24)

Caddis Larva-Cased/Un-Cased (#14-#18)
Platte River Spiders-ALL COLORS!!! (#6)
Matt's Confidant Streamers-ALL COLORS!!! (#4)

Looking Ahead: 2018
By: Steve Schmidt

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 2018 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.  
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