Provo River Fishing Report and Outlook Mid April

We found ourselves this week back on the lower part of the Middle Provo River. Since Deer Creek Reservoir is full, lots of rainbows have run up into the river and they are hungry.

brown trout provo river utah

The Jumping Brown Trout (see video below).

As usual, we took lots of what we hope is good video this week and will link to our Youtube videos at the bottom of each fishing report when Jim finishes editing and posts them.

What flies and techniques caught fish on the Lower and Middle Provo River – Late March to Late April?

The last five fishing seasons (2014 – 2018) Jim and I have fished together, we have records for three days fishing the Lower Provo and nine fishing trips on the Middle Provo during this week’s time frame and we caught 65 fish on the Lower and 63 fish on the Middle.

This report was prepared on April 6, so dates include that date plus 14 days prior to and after (29 total days).

Catch Chart for Lower Provo River Mar. 23 – Apr. 20 (2014 – 2018)

Technique Fly Fish Pcent
nymphing
bounce

inline
or Euro
sow bug
30 46.2%
BWO nymph
16 24.6%
PMD nymph  6  9.2%
midge nymph  4  6.2%
Total under
56 86.2%
dry or
dry-dropper
BWO  6  9.2%
midge shuck  2  3.1%
midge  1  1.5%
Total Top  9 13.8%

Catch Chart for Middle Provo River – Mar. 23 – Apr. 20 (2014 – 2018)

Technique Fly Fish Pcent
nymphing
bounce

inline
or Euro
P.R. worm 28 41.2%
sow bug 12 17.6%
midge nymph  8 11.8%
BWO nymph  8 11.8%
egg  1  1.5%
Total under
57 83.8%
dry or
dry-dropper
BWO  9 13.2%
BWO shuck  2  2.9%
Total Top 11 16.2%

Of those fish, we caught 113 fish by fishing under the water with the bounce rig, in-line rig or Euro/Czech nymphing and we caught 20 fish on top either fishing dry flies or as dry-droppers.

During this time frame, the majority of our fish (over 80%) were caught on both the Lower and Middle Provo Rivers using under-water fly fishing techniques.

What to expect in Mid April on the Lower and Middle Provo Rivers

Midges are always hatching on the Provo River and now there is also a daily Blue-wing olive hatch between about noon and 2:00 pm.

It is interesting that sow bugs have not been a factor yet this season. We still haven’t caught a single fish (or heard that any one else did either) on a sow bug. Let me know if you have caught fish on sow bugs this year.

This week we wanted to see if Euro/Czech nymphing techniques had any advantages over our normal Provo River Bounce Rig.

Does Euro/Czech Nymphing Beat the Provo River Bounce Rig?

So Jim rigged a Euro rig and I rigged the traditional bounce rig; both rigs with Provo River worms and size 20 or 22 midge nymphs. Jim used terminal weights instead of an anchor fly (that gets gummed up with moss anyway).

I took video while Jim started fishing in the head of a hole. He fished the area completely but had no takers.

Then I started fishing the tail of the hole with the bounce rig and quickly caught three fish (all rainbows) with about 8 or 10 casts after I adjusted the rig for weight and length.

We knew fish were in the hole and we knew they were hungry. Why no fish on the Euro rig?

If you aren’t familiar with Euro/Czech nymphing techniques look for more information and instruction on future videos. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method.

Euro nymphing is quieter on the water (spook less fish?), doesn’t need to be mended and can fish a wide variety of water depths.

The Provo River Bounce Rig (a suspension type rig) can fish lanes farther from the angler (spook less fish?) and can fish deeper pools, but requires a fairly consistent bottom.

I got back behind the camera and Jim jumped back in the hole, but this time in the tail of the hole. The only difference between the rigs now was Jim replaced the midge nymph with an egg pattern since we caught the rainbows (stocked rainbows are likely to hit egg patterns). But he quickly caught a big (17 inch) whitefish on the egg pattern, then caught a couple of rainbows on the worm patterns.

So no problem with the Euro Rig, fish just weren’t in/or feeding in the head of the hole.

So which technique worked best? Hard to say without more data, so we will be testing the Euro nymphing method more in different types of holes, currents and different times of the year.

The Blue-Wing Olive Hatch

Then the BWO hatch started and fish were rising everywhere. I tried to catch a few on top with BWO shucks, but no luck. The fish were feeding in a lane on the far side of fast water, so that always makes fishing dry flies tough. Fish would not hit the fly where I could get a good drift.

We moved downstream and around the bend to the next hole to put the wind and the current in our favor and Jim quickly caught four or five rainbows on top with noseem type BWOs until the hatch stopped.

We also saw a few very large stone flies that had hatched. We usually see these over at Diamond Fork later in the season, but here they were on the Middle Provo the first week in April. If we had been prepared, it may have been worth trying a few stone flies just to see what happened. Has anyone else seen stone flies?

After the hatch was over, we moved downstream and went back to using bounce rigs. Fish were still hitting worms and small nymphs under the water.

I did try using a sow bug just to see if it would work yet, but didn’t fish it long because I hung up on the bottom and lost my rig.

Jim Catches Fish Too Fast

While I was trying to re-rig, Jim caught 4 or 5 more fish (whitefish and browns) on small nymphs. Every time he would hook another fish, I put my rod down to video the action. It was fast action and it was lots of fun, but took me forever to re-rig.

So now we have great midges hatches and good BWO hatches on both the Middle and Lower Provo Rivers.

But the sow bugs have yet to wake up. When they do, fishing will really pick up on the Lower Provo (in past years, almost a third of our fish were caught on sow bugs and many of our biggest fish are caught also caught on sow bugs).

Yesterday Jim and I caught about 20 fish (but could easily have caught 40), mostly rainbows and a few average sized brown trout, but some real nice whitefish. We lost another 8 – 10 nice fish, but that’s always the case when you hook 3 lb fish on size 20 hooks.

Want to improve your fly fishing skills? Want to do something special with out of town friends? Come Fishing with us. Click Here to Learn More.

Yesterday would have been a great day for us to take a new fly fisher with us or someone that wanted to improve their fly fishing skills.

Flies to Use in Mid March to Mid April on the Provo River

What flies should be in your fly box the next few weeks on the Lower or Middle Provo River?

Our Catch Charts for that time frame have nine flies for the Lower Provo and seven for the Middle Provo.

  • sow bug (but not yet this year)
  • P.R. worm (Middle only)
  • BWO nymph
  • BWO fly
  • midge nymph
  • PMD nymphs (Lower only)
  • midge shuck
  • BWO shuck
  • Egg pattern

On the Middle Provo, sow bugs and worms patterns caught over 50% of our fish in previous trips (but not this year! No sow bugs yet).

On the Lower Provo, sow bugs and midge & bwo nymphs catch 75% of the fish (but not this year! No sow bugs on Lower Provo yet either).

Note that 40% of our fish on the Middle Provo were caught on worms, but no fish were caught on worms on the Lower Provo River in previous trips.

For fishing on top, you will need noseeum type midges or BWO flies and shucks.

Hint: Use dressing and/or desiccant powder on dry flies tied from hair and feather hackles, but only use powder on CDC feathers.

We look forward to seeing you on the river.

This Provo River Fishing Outlook Report is provided by Jim O’Neal & BackcountryChronicles.com

See all of our fly fishing videos here at Jim’s YouTube site.

Check out our video from two weeks ago, where we fished (and walked through) between River Road South and Memorial Bridge.

Middle Provo River Jumping Brown Trout


This is the best fly box we’ve ever used. It’s Magnetic! Simply drop your wet flies on the magnetic pad and never lose another fly to the wind!

Comments

  1. Love your videos. What midges were you using on your last video? How far below your bottom fly do you put your weights in order to bounce rig effectively?

    • Thanks Tyson. For the last video we published (Middle Provo Jumping Brown Trout), we were fishing on March 21st. That day we caught fish on both midge and BWO nymphs fished on bounce rigs, but also caught fish on worm patterns.

      We also caught fish on top with BWO flies, shucks and midge shucks.

      The distances on the bounce rig are not exact. In general the weights are about a foot below the lowest tag and tags are about a foot apart (see diagram in this post about the Provo River Bounce Rig), but sometimes the first tag could only about 6 inches away and tags may be as close as 6 inches.

      The “magic” of the bounce rig is to adjust it properly for the depth and speed of the water. If it is not bouncing, you are not fishing. So if it is not bouncing, add more weight and/or lengthen the distance between the weights and the indicator (float). If the weights drag too much or hang up too often on the bottom, remove weight and/ or shorten the rig.

      I used to say the rule of thumb for length is 1½ to 2 times the depth of the water, but now I generally go with twice the depth of the water.

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