Provo River Fishing Report and Outlook for Mid-Late May

utah brown troutThere are so many good places to fish in our area this time of year.

Jim and I fished a spot on the Middle Provo this week that we haven’t visited in a while. Then later, I took one of my neighbors  back to the same place.

Again, both these days were very bright days, but we managed to catch fish.

What flies and techniques caught fish on the Lower and Middle Provo River – Late May to Early June?

This report was prepared on May 18, so the dates include 29 total days from May 4 – June 1 (14 days before and after).

We have records for 15 fishing trips this time of year between 2014 – 2018. We don’t normally fish the Lower Provo this time of year, but we fished the Middle Provo nine times and caught a total of 120 fish.

We also made 5 additional fly fishing trips to Strawberry Res., the Strawberry River and other places.

Catch Chart Middle Provo River –
May 4 – June 1

Technique Fly Fish Pcent

or Euro
or swing
Sow Bug 49 40.8%
P.R. Worm 16 13.3%
midge nymph 13 10.8%
BWO nymph  8  6.7%
PMD nymph  5  4.2%
Total under
91 75.8%
dry or
Caddis 26 21.7%
Palmer Fly  2  1.7%
Green shuck  1  0.8%
Total Top 29 24.2%

We caught a total of 120 fish with 91 fish by nymphing (mostly bounce rig and light in-line rigs) and we caught 29 fish on top fishing dry flies.

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The majority of our fish (almost 76%) were caught on the Middle Provo Rivers using under-water fly fishing techniques; mostly the Provo River Bounce rig. When fish are rising, we actively fish dry flies, otherwise, we usually nymph.

What to expect in May on the Lower and Middle Provo Rivers

The water usually starts running faster this time of year on the Lower Provo (and was running at over 500 cfs today), so we usually fish the Middle Provo or one of the many other streams in our area.

I talked to several anglers this week that reported good success with the stoneflies around the Bunny Farm (above River Road) area on the Middle Provo and the newest DWR fishing report for the Middle Provo River (updated May 15), but they also mentioned watching for stone flies.

We specifically fished that area (North side of River Road; AKA Bunny Farm) this week hoping to see stoneflies, but did not see any stone flies or any major hatch of any kind.

We did see evidence of a few drowned caddis from previous hatches, but we caught all fish on Provo River worms, sow bugs and very small midge nymphs.

We agree with the Division report, fishing was better mid-morning than later in the day.

Don’t know where to fish? Want to improve your fly fishing skills? Want to do something special with out of town friends? Book a fly fishing lesson with us. Click Here to Learn More.

Flies to Use in Early May 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 this time frame had only three flies for the Lower Provo and eight flies for the Middle Provo.

These were the most important flies for both the Lower and Middle Provo Rivers:

  • sow bug
  • Caddis
  • BWO nymph
  • P.R. worm
  • midge nymph
  • PMD nymph

Historically on the Middle Provo this time of year, sow bugs caught over 40% of our fish in previous trips and caddis (dry flies) accounted for just over 20% of our catches.

Add the Provo River worm to your fly box along with some very small (size 20 – 22) midge and BWO nymphs, and that accounted for almost 90% of all the fish we caught.

As I’ve mentioned before, we fish the Middle Provo more than the Lower Provo River this time of year, because water managers have to increase the flow in the Lower Provo.

If you plan to fish the Lower Provo, be safe and try bouncing sow bugs and small BWO and midge nymphs at the edge of the fast water.

May Provo River Flows

Today, the flow out of Jordanelle is 316 cfs into the upper part of the Middle Provo River (down slightly from last week even though we had some rain). As of this morning, it is was running at over 500 cfs out of Deer Creek Reservoir.

Since the snow pack above the Provo River is now at 18% for this time of year, the runoff will not be high this year and any high water we do get will not last long.

We look forward to seeing you on the river.

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

Winner of Free Guided Fly Fishing Trip With Backcountry Adventures Fly Fishing

Jeremy Cunningham from Orem Utah won the trip. He brought his Dad (Mike) on their trip….

“I want to take my dad with me on the guided trip. We’ve fished together our whole lives but have recently gotten into fly fishing.

We’re both at the beginner stage but learning quickly. I would love to learn how to match the hatch as well as work on fly presentation.”

***We had a great day on the Middle Provo River yesterday (July 19) with Jeremy and Mike. Fishing was tough, but after they got the hang of casting, mending and recognizing strikes, they both caught some very nice fish and we all had a great time.

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

Our video from this week is not ready yet, so check out last year to remember high fast the water was running.

Fly Fishing Big Flow Late May Provo River


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  1. Danielle says

    I want to enter the drawing for the free fishing trip! My level is still pretty beginner, but I do have all my own gear. I’d love to improve on anything, but I feel especially weak in my nymphing/wet fly skills. 🙂

  2. Thanks Jim and Dan! Watched most of your videos. Had a successful day on the middle PR today, using the PR bounce rig and sow bug. Hope I win the trip so I can learn from the best!

  3. Jeffrey B Bitton says

    I want to enter for the for the free fishing trip! I am a beginner – I started last summer on the Logan River and spent every possible day up there! I’d love to learn more about the hatches, different stages of the hatch, and how to match the hatch (i.e. using nymphs, emergers, and/or dries). Subscribed to your YouTube channel as well.

  4. Rodfather says

    Want to enter the free guid trip. I look forward to each of your fishing reports. They are very detailed and helpful. Thank you!

  5. I’d love a trip on the Provo to help step up my game.

  6. I would love to win a trip on the Provo. I am a moderate level fly fisher, and I am always looking for ways to improve my nymphing game.

  7. I want to take my wife on a guided trip! She hates taking instruction from me so I hope a guide can help haha! She is pretty beginner level but has had some success in the past, and wants to get better!

  8. I want to take my dad with me on the guided trip. We’ve fished together our whole lives but have recently gotten into fly fishing. We’re both at the beginner stage but learning quickly. I would love to learn how to match the hatch as well as work on fly presentation.

  9. I want to enter! I am a VERY beginner fisherman and so is my wife. Fly fishing has always intrigued me since “A River Runs Through It” but I have never taken the time to learn how.

  10. DEBRA HANCOCK says

    Good Day to you, I want to enter for the free fishing trip to Provo! I love to fish and have fished all my life. I am not very good at fly fishing though. Love to get in step with a pro. Thank you.

  11. Thank you for the chance to win a trip. I would say I am at a beginer level, and my daughter is beginer also. We would like to learn nymphing and would love an opportunity to get in some work on dry flies

  12. Spencer Pranger says

    I would love to learn to fly fish the provo. Never fly fished and I would love to learn!

  13. Bob Matuzak says

    I think I entered and I’m already a email subscriber. I’m from Pennsylvania and even if I don’t win I’m trying to finagle a trip out to fish with you guys. I love the Provo rig and think it would be pretty neat to fish with you guys!

  14. Jeremy Stevenson says

    I want to enter the drawing for the free guided tour. I am a beginner and have a good basic understanding but struggle applying that understanding. I really want to improve overall my ability to read the conditions and make more educated decisions to catch fish rather that just guessing what to use and how to use it.

  15. Brian Boggess says

    Count me in for the free guided tour. I’m a self-taught fly fisher, but I’m more than interested in learning from some experts! I have yet to try the Provo River Bounce Rig, but I’m about to thanks to your information. Tight lines!

  16. Trevor Jacobs says

    I would like to enter for the guided trip. I’m a beginner just starting out fly fishing. I need to work on everything. I bookmarked your website and will be following on YouTube. Might even need to try the Provo this week.

  17. Great job putting together these reports. I especially appreciate the breakdown of what flies have worked during specific times of the year. I would be interested in seeing patterns to tie the flies you are using.

  18. Adam Black says

    Hey guys, thanks for your efforts here!
    I’d like to enter the competition and spend some time fishing with you.

    I’ve spent years learning what I could about fly fishing but I’ve never had any formal instruction or guidance. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I can catch fish with streamers, dry flies or nymphs, but not with confidence and usually not big mature fish.

    I’d like to be more confident identifying what’s going on with the flies. I always feel like it’s a guessing game, using whatever fishing report I can find. I’d like to know the right fly to use, whether it’s dry, nymph or midge. I’d like to know how to use different fly life cycles more effectively.

  19. Patrick ODonnell says

    I would love to take my dad with me on the guided trip. We’ve fished together our whole lives but he’s recently gotten into fly fishing. He’s moved to Texas so i can’t think of a better excuse to get together.

  20. Mike ODonnell says

    I would love to enter the fly fishing trip and take my son Patrick. We are just starting to fly fish and love it. I will be going to Montana this summer and will be fly fishing. Enjoyed the fishing videos.

  21. david hufnagel says

    Loved your fishing report-lots of data to review. Congrats!
    I’m travelling there in mid june for the first time and was looking for information on where to go (lower or middle) and what flies to bring. Is the fishing in later june similar to this mid may report?

    • Yes… a big factor is whether we still have hi flows from snow melt. We will not this year. We have 12 miles of public river on the middle provo… The upper part gets the most pressure.
      Everyone wants to know our secret places and secret flies. No such thing. Technique is more important than flies, especially if you are nymphing. Enjoy.

Comments, Opinions, Questions?