Provo River Fishing Report and Outlook for Mid August

provo river brown trout with backcountry adventures fly fishingJim and I guided three times this week on the Middle Provo River.

We went above the railroad tracks twice and up near the Jordanelle Dam once.

Fishing Below Deer Creek Reservoir in Provo Canyon

Fishing not recommended.

Water is somewhat discolored due to waves and boat wakes in the Deer Creek. The trout are feeding on PMDs (small mayflies), mostly the nymphs, and also sow bugs.

From about 10 am to 5 pm. there are a lot of people in rafts and tubes coming down. It’s kind of comical and the trout don’t seem to care unless the people float or wade right through where they are. If you must fish this area, suggest very early morning.

Water flow is high; find a place near the shore where it’s safe to wade, use a wading staff, and don’t take chances.

Fishing the Middle Provo; Deer Creek Reservoir to Legacy Bridge

Fair success with Split Case PMDs fished deep in the biggest pools. Water not very clear but trout seem to see the flies well enough.

Middle Provo, Legacy Bridge to River Road. Average fishing for those willing to walk some distance. Tough access above Legacy, better to walk down in from River Road. Water flow still fairly high with cold temperature; look for PMD hatch at midday and early afternoon.

Low light conditions improve your chances otherwise, suggest daybreak and sundown.

Fishing the Middle Provo; River Road to Jordanelle Dam

This stretch is fishing about like the the section below River Road except that there’s quite a good hatch of Caddis Flies active in the evening and after dark about ½ mile below the dam.

Try caddis emergers on top, dead drift at sundown until dark and then change to something black, fish with tight line to feel the hits. Learn the area in daylight so you won’t get into trouble moving around.

If you decide to night fish; headlamps work and your hands are free. Look forward to moonlight evenings late in August for epic moon light night fishing.

What flies and techniques caught fish on the Lower and Middle Provo River – Mid August?

This report was prepared on Aug 12, so the dates include 29 total days from July 29 – Aug 26 (14 days before and after).

We have records for 36 fishing trips this time of year (2014 – 2018) with a total of 302 fish. We fished the Middle Provo 26 times and caught 238 fish. We have not fished the Lower Provo during this time frame.

We also made 10 additional fly fishing trips to Strawberry River and several High Uinta Lakes. This time period also still includes my 2016 trip to Monture Creek and the North Fork of the Blackfoot River in Montana.

Catch Chart Middle Provo River – July 29 – Aug 26

Technique Fly Fish Pcent
(bounce rig or
PMD (nymph or split case)
39 16.4%
P.R. worm
sow bug
29 12.2%
midge pupae
 4  1.7%
green drake
Total Nymphing 111 46.6%
Swing black ant 18   7.6%
soft hackle
Streamers  7  2.9%
Total Swing 38 16.0%
Dry Fly PMD 40 16.8%
Skitter (Caddis) 37 15.5%
Green Drake 12  5.0%
Total Dry
89 37.4%

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We caught 111 fish nymping (Provo River Bounce Rig) during this time frame and 89 fish on top with dry flies. We also caught an additional 38 fish swinging soft hackles and black ants in the short time between dusk and dark.

Evenings on the upper part of the Middle Provo are going to have very good fishing for the next several weeks.

Advanced Fly Fisher Learns the Provo River Bounce Rig

Most of the people we take fishing are beginners. This week we took a more experienced fisherman with us on the lower part of the Middle Provo River.

John (from California) has been watching our Youtube videos and wanted to learn to use the bounce rig.

It didn’t take him long to learn to cast, mend, recognize the difference between fish strikes and bumps on the bottom. Though he wanted to hang on to his habit of setting the hook upwards instead of downstream, he hooked and caught lots of fish.

If he would set downstream, he would have caught even more fish.

At the end of the day, I asked John how many fish he thought he caught. He said about 40.

I don’t know exactly how many fish he caught, because we don’t have an accurate way to keep track like some that use golf counters and things like that. I would have guessed he caught about 35 fish, but I put 30 in the database to be conservative.

John caught most fish this week bouncing a split case PMD. He also caught fish on our favorite Provo River worm and he caught a few swinging a soft hackle.

I also guess that John caught (and released) about 45 lbs of fish because he had at least 6 fish (brown trout and mountain whitefish) that were 16 inches or bigger. One whitefish was so fat, I couldn’t get enough of my hand around her to remove the hook.

John says our method of fishing with the Provo River Bounce Rig is very effective. We have to agree.

We took video of John fishing and we will posted it in a few days.

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Flies to Use in August on the Provo River

What flies should be in your fly box the next few weeks on the Lower or Middle Provo River?

  • PMD dry flies
  • PMD nymphs (mostly split case)
  • Jim’s Skitter bug
  • P.R. worms
  • sow bug
  • black ant
  • soft hackle

We caught 63% of our fish on the first four flies. Fish are taking worms again like they have in past years and we’ve started picking up a few more fish on sow bugs.

Swing soft hackles before dark and then switch to black ants as is gets darker.

Remember to take your head lamp and bend those barbs down when it gets dark.

Don’t know how? We will take you. And as soon as the flow slows down and the water warms a little, it will be “Skittering” time!

We look forward to seeing you on the river.

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

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

Here is our newest video from our contest winner from last month:

Backcountry Adventures Fly Fishing Contest Winners August 2018

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  1. Alex Argyros says

    Thanks for the ongoing education, guys.

    I know that you’ve experimented with using a bounce rig without an indicator (sort of Euro or tightening it). Could you share your conclusions about the relative efficacy of using a bounce rig with and without a bobber?


    • First, lets clarify… The Provo River Bounce Rig has an indicator on the top, wights on the bottom and tags in the middle.

      If we remove the indicator, we are tight-line nymphing or Euro/Czech nymphing depending on how it’s rigged.

      Tight line nymphing may be more effective as an inline rig (weight is above the nymph).

      Tight line and euronymphing are basically limited to fishing the length of your fly rod, so you are standing over or near fish you want to catch. As long as you can cast and mend the bounce rig effectively, you can fish the near side, the middle or the opposite side of the river.

Comments, Opinions, Questions?