Provo River Fishing Report
Dec 15, 2017

rainbow trout provo river december 2017

December Rainbow Trout on the Provo River

I am late putting this fishing report together, so this report covers the past two weeks. In that time, we fished Lower Provo River once and the Middle Provo four times.

I’ll start with the most recent information first. The brown trout spawn is winding down and the ridiculously easy fishing we found a few weeks ago is not so easy now.

Our most recent trip was very tough. We intended to catch the mid-day (11:00 am) Blue-Wing Olive (BWO) hatch, but Jim’s granddaughter needed help with a flat tire. How can he say no to that?

So we showed up after the hatch was over. We met Phil Bair as we were going in and he was coming out. Not a good sign. Phil said he caught three fish on top with his noseeum (size 22-24; gray) and then after the hatch stopped, he caught four more trout swinging a soft hackle.

The best advice we can give you for this next week is get to the river by 11 am (10 am may be better). The BWOs are hatching, but only when the direct sunlight hits each section of riffle. If you know of a section of rifle that gets direct sunlight in the afternoon, try there.

In warmer weather, the fishing normally improves when direct sunlight is blocked from hitting the water (cloud cover, Sun goes behind the mountain), but not now.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jim fished that section of the Middle Provo by himself. Jim ties all his own flies, so he used his smallest BWOs on top and had fair success. He also caught fish under the water with very small midge nymphs.

He didn’t take any video or pictures, which just proves that I am still good for something.

Last week, fish were regularly rising and hitting the #22 and 24 “noseem” (gray) and similar small BWO patterns.

While Jim and I were guiding a fellow (Brandon) that wanted to learn to use the bounce rig, we ran into an old friend (Jeff) that was having decent success catching rising trout.

We fished the day before so we could decide where to take Brandon and had good success with Provo River worms (San Juan worm) and some success with egg patterns on the bounce rig at several different locations on the river. Both mornings were clear and cold (about 18°F) when we met at 10 am on the river.

Fishing the bounce rig was tough that next day, but Brandon insisted he was learning what he wanted to learn. He persisted with the bounce rig even while watching Phil Bair catch 10 trout on top in a fairly short period on the opposite side of the river.

A funny story: Our friend Jeff had talked with Phil Bair earlier that day. During their conversation, he mentioned that he was having some success with the noseeums. He asked Phil if needed any. Phil thanked him but said he had plenty. Jeff did not know that Phil is the guy that invented and makes the noseeums.

Jeff sent me an email a couple of days later to let me know that he was able to squeeze in an hour of fishing between meetings in Park City. He caught four fish on top at the Bunny Farm using noseeums.

We moved Brandon around to different areas several times and tried different nymphs until he had success bouncing a very small (size 22) midge pattern. Most of the trout we caught (and saw others catch) were in the 13 – 14 inch range. We think the larger trout were still involved with spawning as we watched a few larger fish that were jumping out of the water as if they were trying to dislodge eggs.

So for the upper part of the Middle Provo River,  there is currently a late morning – mid-day BWO olive hatch. So get out there early with your smallest BWO patterns.

If you do not have success, stop worrying about all the rising fish you see. Simply go back to the basics; practice casting as quietly as possible and mend, mend, mend.

When you consistently get drag-free floats, the fish will hit it.

Want to Fish with Jim & Dan? Want to catch rising fish in the Winter? Want to learn to fish egg patterns? Click Here to Learn More.

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

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

Here is a recent video me made on the Lower Provo.

Provo Canyon Trout in December

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