Provo River Fishing Report Mid June & Outlook for Late June 2019

big utah brown trout with hooked jaw

See short video below releasing this fish.

The Spring Runoff on the Middle Provo is in full swing and has been running at over 940 cfs since the first of June.

The water below the dam is running clear and cold (about 40° F).

With snow pack above 700% of normal for this time of year and with Jordanelle Res. over 92% full, there is no reason to believe the flow will be reduced any time soon.

My post on the Historical Spring Flows on the Middle Provo shows that trout habitat is reduced when flows are above 400 cfs, but though fishing has been tough this last week, we found fish and proved that fish can still be caught if you use the right techniques.

Jim and I guided 5 groups on the Middle Provo since the flow has increased and even the least experienced anglers caught fish; some caught many more than we expected.

Best success has been with BWO nymph, midge larvae and sow bugs fished medium to deep on a bounce rig.

Look for inside bends where current is not so fast. Your favorite straight runs are probably running too fast now for brown trout to hold there.

Reports I received from the Charleston area was that fish were biting, but hard to land once they get out into the fast water. Again, concentrate on fishing inside bends and not your favorite straight runs while the water is high and be prepared for lots of hang ups in the water.

The flow in the Lower Provo River is now over 1,130 cfs, so there are fewer easy places to fish and are dangerous in places, so best to concentrate on fishing the Middle Provo unless you know where the honey holes are.

The flows may be high, but the fish are still in the river and they have to eat. Nymphing techniques still work, but you may have to work harder, especially if visibility is low.

The fast and deep cold water have slowed the hatches for a while. We have seen few midges or BWOs hatching on the upper part of the Middle Provo, but have seen midge hatches on the lower part of the river, but few fish seem to be feeding on them.

Flies and Fly Fishing Techniques that caught fish on the Middle Provo River in June

This report was prepared on June 11, 2019, so the dates include 15 total days from June 1 – June 21 (10 days before and after).

We have records for 12 fishing trips during this time of year (2014 – 2019) on the Middle Provo and caught a total of 135 fish. We only have one record for the Lower Provo during this time frame because of the high water and crowded conditions.

We made 21 additional fly fishing trips to places like Strawberry River and Soldier Creek during this time of year during the past several years and I had one trip to Oregon where I had the chance to fish the Deschutes and the Metolius Rivers.

Catch Chart Middle Provo River – June 1 – June 21

Technique Fly Fish Pcent
Nymphing
(bounce rig or
inline)
sow bug
 35 25.9%
midge larvae
 34 25.2%
BWO nymph
 34 25.2%
P.R. worm
 20  14.8%
PMD nymph
 12   8.9%
Total Nymphing 135 100%

I have never noticed a 3 week period on the Middle Provo where we didn’t catch any fish with dry flies, so in this case, we caught all fish nymphing; most with the (Provo River Bounce Rig) and some with simple in-line rigs. This past week, midge larvae and BWO nymphs (size 18 – 22) have caught most fish, but when considering this same time period since 2014, sow bugs have caught more fish and Provo River worms as always is usually a good bet, especially below areas where banks are collapsing.

Our records also don’t show any fish being caught with swinging techniques for this time of year, but I remember a day last year, when we tried black ants and soft hackles on the bounce rig and caught fish. These flies typically work best when swung in the current or when stripped across current and upstream. The time for that is coming, but probably not until flow decreases and water temperature rises.

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

You can see our fly fishing videos (over 100) here at Jim’s YouTube Channel.

Here is a short video we took this week releasing two big (20+ inch) Utah Brown Trout (one shown in photo above).

Two Big Utah Brown Trout – Catch and Release

We didn’t publish a new video this week on Jim’s Youtube channel, but here is one where we fished in high water on the Middle Provo in 2017 when the river was running just below 900 cfs.

Big Flow Fly Fishing Tactics Provo River

Hint for everyone that does not see HD videos on Youtube. Click on “Gear” icon on lower right of YouTube Player to see your quality setting. Default is 480p. Videos are best when viewed with at least 720p.

Hint: Don’t be discouraged because fishing is tough. We don’t learn much on days when fishing is easy. We learn when we find ways to catch fish when fishing is hard.


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