Provo River Fishing Report
August 16, 2017

It was fun meeting many of you at the Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival last week. There are some husbands and fathers that will have to practice tying fishing knots and fly casting to stay ahead of the rest of the family because we know a few of the women and children learned a lot at the festival.

Fishing had been fairly consistent last week up until the cold front passed through. Jim and I fished one of our favorite holes yesterday (8/15/17) evening and had to work hard to catch fish.

We Learn Nothing When Fishing is Easy

That’s OK though because when the fishing is easy, we learn nothing. So what did we learn?

We learned that the cold front slowed the already meager BWO hatch in the upper sections of the Middle Provo, but despite that, there were lots of fish rising in the popular holes.

Even during a hatch, running a bounce rig through the pools will almost always produce fish feeding lower in the water column and on the bottom, but that proved to be surprisingly slow. So we also learned that most of the fish were looking up to feed (even with the slower hatch). That means fishing on top only gets better as it gets darker or when clouds cover the water.

We caught fish on top with Jim’s special “skitter bug”. We had quite a few browns come up and take a look at them, but didn’t hook lots of fish. But there was enough action to keep it fun and to amuse other anglers as fish jumped out of the water chasing the caddis mimic as it skated across the water.

We switched flies and techniques often just to learn as much as we could in the short time before it got dark.

mountain whitefish provo river utah

Adrian’s 19 inch Mountain Whitefish 8/10/2017

I had no success fishing caddis or PMD dry flies on top and we had only a few hits bouncing sow bugs and PMD emergers on the bottom, which produced many fish earlier in the week (see Adrian’s 19 inch whitefish).

Jim also tried several different colored soft hackles, but again had a lot of follows and refusals.

We also caught fish swinging brown soft hackles (peacock body, grey partridge hackle, size 12) and even helped some young men re-rig and they also caught fish with Jim’s flies and a little coaching.

The leader of the group of young men caught a very nice (20 in+) brown on a Royal Wolff.

Then as it got dark, the caddis hatch was on. Maybe not as many caddis as previous nights, but enough that we could see lots of action from anglers on the both sides of the river.

Fish were caught on top with various caddis mimics. We switched back to the skitter bug and caught more fish. When it got too dark to see the skitter bug, Jim went to his second rod that was pre-rigged with a black ant (size 12) and caught two fish on three casts. I also put on a black ant and caught one fish on one cast. We called it a night.

Hints for Fishing in the Dark

Since it is hard to see once it gets dark, rig and bring an extra rod just for fishing in the dark.

If you think removing a deep hook from a fish is difficult in the light, think about how hard it will be in the dark. You will have to hold the fish and hold the light so you can see into the fish’s mouth and remove the hook at the same time.

To make it easy on yourself and the fish, crimp down the barbs. You will still catch fish, but releasing them will be much easier and faster so you can catch another fish.

Also use heavier tippet (like 3X), so you can quickly land most fish without the risk of breaking off.

Don’t forget your headlamp or an extra jacket. You will always need a light in the dark and here in our mountain valleys, it gets cool in the evening especially if you get wet. Last night, two groups of anglers had to leave early (before the fishing got hot); one group was wet and cold and didn’t have warm clothes and the other didn’t have headlamps or flashlights.

Five Hints for Fly Fishing in the Dark

  1. Bring a head lamp
  2. Bring a jacket
  3. Bring 2nd Rod already rigged for fishing in the dark
  4. Crimp down barbs or use barbless hooks
  5. Use heavy leader and tippet

Fishing Report provided by Jim O’Neal & BackcountryChronicles.com

Watch our fly fishing videos here at Jim’s YouTube site.

One of Our Newest Videos – A Beginner Catches Big Brown Trout on a Bounce Rig

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