Provo River Fly Fishing Report
June 14, 2017

The Middle Provo is still high so this week we fished Mantua Reservoir, Diamond fork and Hobble Creek.

As of today, the Middle Provo is still running at about 1,500 cfs. This is down from the peak flows of 1,700 cfs, but still way above normal, but most of the flow into Jordanelle from the upper Provo River has finally started to slow down.

graph provo river cfs june 2017

Figure 1. Recent Upper Provo River Discharge (cfs) (from USGS)

Figure 1 shows the discharge into Jordanelle from May 27 until noon on June 14.

You can see the daily fluctuation as flow increases during the hot part of the day as the snow melts and decreases at night.

Flows increased to 2,000 cfs for the first time on May 29, then increased to 3,000 cfs on June 3rd.

Maximum flows finally decreased to below 2,000 cfs again on June 11 and has continued to decrease to the current flow of 1,150 cfs. This is in part due to the cooler temperatures the last two days, but also to the fact the snow pack has been reduced.

We have shown with last week’s video that the Middle Provo is still fish-able with the high water, but everyone should be very careful.

With flows of 1,161 being released below Deer Creek Reservoir and water still coming over the dam, it would be best not to risk fishing the Lower Provo again this week.

Jim and I normally start fishing other streams this time of year for variety and just to keep up with what the fish and the hatches are doing. This past week, we tried something we haven’t done in a while.

Mantua Reservoir Bass and Bluegill

We fished Mantua Reservoir for the first time and had a blast.

Jim has fished for bass or bluegills all his life, but hasn’t fished for them in a couple of years and I haven’t fished for them in over 25 years.

We pitched Texas Rigs with black worms from a canoe into the flooded trees and caught at least 8 nice bass. We fished worms to catch blue gill along the east side of the lake.

The worm rig was simply a weight on the bottom, a tag for the hook with a piece of nightcrawler.

Fish the rig with a tight line so you can feel them bump the worm. Set the hook quickly or you will have to dig the hook out of their stomachs. That is not a good catch and release method, but we were fishing for keeps.

Not bad for two guys that had never fished the lake before and needless to say we got our Southern Fish Fry on.

Diamond Fork

giant stonefly nymphs

Giant Stonefly Nymphs at Diamond Fork

We also went to Diamond Fork to check on the giant stonefly hatch (Pteronarcys californica).

We screened the stream, but the numbers of stonefly larvae were a tiny fraction of what we found last year.

Last year, we kicked stones over a small area (about 1 yard square) and collected dozens of various sized larvae at every place we sampled. This year we found one medium sized larvae.

These giant stoneflies have a 3-4 year life cycle, so there should be 3 – 4 different sized larvae in the stream.

The lower part of Diamond Fork was running about 90 cfs while we were there, but there had been six or seven occasions since late May, when flow were at least 150 – 160 cfs.

We checked several places in the lower part of the stream and didn’t find any evidence of a stone fly hatch. We did find one place with small fish feeding on a mayfly hatch, but since we “packed lite”, we only had big bugs to fish for big fish, so you could say we struck out.

Since the stream looked to be scoured (little silt and little moss on rocks), we think the stone flies had been washed away. We did not go farther upstream, so it is possible large stoneflies are still hiding in the large boulders up around the Three Forks area.

We also noticed many of the large cottonwood trees are showing more and more stress due to the water diversion and the last few years of drought.

Hobble Creek

Hobble Creek is mainly spring fed and less susceptible to high spring time flows. But the stream has been cleaned out and is now running clear and cold.

Last year, we found many beaver dams and many heavily silted areas, but the beaver dams have been washed out and the bottom is very clean.

We handicapped ourselves by showing up with big nymphing rods intended for Diamond Fork, but caught fish just the same.

This small stream calls for a short rod with light gear, like a 7.5 foot 3 weight, but here we were with 9 and 10.5 foot rods.

We only had a short time to fish before dark and Hobble Creek always seems to fish better during the middle of the day, but we caught fish in small pools with size 12 orange stimulators (stoneflies) on top and with stonefly nymphs.

We also believe we have missed the small orange stonefly hatch (size 14) that  usually occurs right at the end of the main runoff, but the brown trout had been feeding on hundreds of small PMDs..

The PMD hatch is on at Hobble Creek, but remember it is a typical small stream crowded with lots of trees.

Best practice sneaking up on holes and practice your bow and arrow cast or you will spend most of your time (and spook most of the fish) getting tangled in the trees.

If you have never tried small stream fishing, it is lots of fun, but a little instruction would be very useful for most folks.

Video How to Fish Small Streams like Hobble Creek

Need some small stream fishing Instruction? We will be glad to show you how. Schedule a guided fly fishing trip or a fly fishing lesson – Learn More.

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

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Comments

  1. Hey guys, glad to see you are getting out fishing when the Provo is high.

    I was able to fish the lower today. It was running in the high 800 cfs I believe. Fished the edges and caught a few really nice fish and a few giants that broke me off.

    The reason I am posting is to let you know the lower is safe to fish. Just have to be smart. No wadding across or too far in the river but fish are holding on the edge, bigger fish in a little stronger current. Also had a small PMD hatch today which was nice. Will try again tomorrow to see if I can catch a PMD hatch. Good luck and stay safe.

    • Thanks Steve.
      That is good news. We are concentrating on some of the smaller streams while they are fishing really well, but I will be glad to hit some of our favorite places on the Lower Provo again.

      Be careful the release at Deer Creek was 916.50 cfs on Monday (6/19/17) and water is still coming over the spillway. Water is also still coming into all the side streams.

      On Monday, the Lower Provo (at Provo) was running 837 cfs.

  2. Hey guys,
    I have a question? I was watching a video of guides fishing on the Provo with KSL outdoors. One thing caught my eye is when the guide showed us how he sets up a nymphing rig. He started with his leader****3ft of 30lb butt section but then he attached about an 8ft piece of 5x fluorocarbon tippetter to the butt section. That was his leader. He did tie 2 tags on the 5x fluorocarbon. I was wondering is this something you have heard about. He had his butt section and the rest of the leader was one piece of fluorocarbon. He said by gaveling one piece of fluorocarbon helps the flys sink faster. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks
    Steve

    • Yes, we use that sort of set up all the time when bouncing nymphs. I generally use nylon for 6x – 4x rigs, but Jim usually used fluorocarbon.
      Fluorocarbon does sink faster, but sinking is really controlled by the amount of weights that are used.
      If the rig is not bouncing on the bottom, add more weight and or lengthen the rig. If the rig is dragging too much shorten the rig and/or remove weight.
      We rarely use 6X tippet for the rig and tags, but commonly use 3-5X depending on the size of fish we are catching.
      Fish may take smaller tippet faster, but big fish will break you off.
      We constantly see folks fishing without enough weight or length on the bounce rig.
      Look here for a description of how we tie the bounce rig and watch a new fly fisher catch fish with the Provo River Bounce Rig here. Video also has hints for using the Bounce Rig at the end.

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