Provo River Fishing Report
Nov 27, 2017

I spent all of early November trying to put an elk in the freezer, so the fishing report has been on hold until now.

brown trout provo river utah thanksgiving 2017Jim and I did fish last week on one of his favorite reservoirs where he has taken his family fishing for years. The only thing to report is that we drove for over two hours (one way) and caught two limits of fish (rainbows) in about 30 minutes. Fun trip.

The day after Thanksgiving, we went to the Lower Provo to see if the trout were interested in hitting streamers. We have a client that wants to work on his streamer techniques.

To make a long story short, the streamers were spooking the spawning fish and we don’t want to disturb the active spawners. We want to let them do their thing and keep a good supply of little home grown brown trout in the pipe line for the future.

What we did want to do was catch some of those big fat rainbows that should be downstream from the spawning browns waiting for eggs to show up.

So we immediately changed tactics and rigged up to drift egg patterns below the spawning brown trout.

In-line Rig vs Bounce Rig

We rigged simple inline rigs with a small float and small weights about a foot above the fly (egg pattern). The depth of the water was about two feet deep, so the distance between the float and the weight was about four feet. The Provo River Bounce Rig would also work in this situation, but we knew the simple inline rig would also work and it is faster to rig.

What happened was ridiculous. Why ridiculous? Because it was too easy. At one point, we caught six nice browns on six casts. In one spot, we caught more than a dozen fish on less than 20 casts. Most of it is on video (see our video below).

Too easy. We probably could have caught 40 fish out of that one hole. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but we aren’t keeping fish for the freezer and after we proved we could catch fish, we moved on and tried to find the rainbows. This is where we should have tested the streamer again, but didn’t think about it until after we were upstream.

We did talk to one other fisherman that caught one fish the entire morning on a sculpin type streamer. He said things were slow. We told him he should try egg patterns below the spawning browns, but he hadn’t seen them.

I think the lesson here is that we should go to the river with a plan based on what usually happens during a particular time of year, but to always watch the river, the hatch and the fish for clues about what is really happening.

We only fished during the afternoon and though there were four vehicles in the parking we only saw three other fishermen (and fisherwomen) on the water between 1:00 pm and dark.

Don’t Disturb the Spawn and Don’t Step on the Redds

The brown trout we did catch were not part of the spawning group, they were simply getting fat on eggs that escape from the redds (spawning beds), so catching them does not hurt the current spawn.

Also, when fish are spawning, be very careful not to step into the spawning areas. The spawning trout will clear all the moss and debris away from an area so the redds are visible as clean spaces in the gravel. They can be only about a foot long or they can be several yards long.

Redds will be obvious if fish are actively spawning on them, but if you already spooked the fish and didn’t notice, the redd may not be so noticeable.

Watch our video of spawning Cutthroat Trout (click here) in one of the tributaries at Strawberry Reservoir in the spring.

We will be happy to guide you so you can learn how to locate and catch trout below a spawn. Click Here to Learn More.

Where are the Rainbow Trout?

With all the excitement of the spawn and all those big non-spawning browns fighting for position to eat eggs, they push the rainbows out. Jim’s hypothesis was that rainbows would move upstream following the scent of eggs until they found a place they could eat eggs and not have to contend with aggressive brown trout.

So we moved upstream. The browns seemed to be spawning in the warmest part of the day, especially when there were spells of sunshine that broke through the clouds and heated the water.

Still we only caught more brown trout. We kept moving upstream until it was almost dark. I finally hooked into a big rainbow that took me for a ride upstream, then turned downstream and broke my 5X tippet. Nothing I could do. Since it was almost dark, we called it a day, but we know where we can go back with 3X or 4X tippet and catch a big rainbow.

Want to Fish with Jim & Dan? 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.

Our Newest Video – Brown Trout on the Provo River after Thanksgiving

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