Provo River Fishing Report and Outlook for May

utah brown trout with fly fishing

Beautiful 17 inch brown trout caught with bounce rig on sow bug, May 4, 2019

The Middle Provo is running clear at about 325 cfs clear and is very cold (about 40° F near the dam).

There is a good Baetis hatch
midday in the bigger pools and Emergers fished dry are working well for rising trout.

By early afternoon, the Baetis hatch is light and trout are taking nymphs well.

Try BWO nymphs and Midge larvae about size 20 or 22 with a dark olive brown color body.

Use long leaders and 6x tippet for both drys and nymphs. A slightly down and across current presentation works best for the most selective rising trout when using dry emergers.

We fished nymphs with inline rigs under an indicator in pools in slower current along side but not in the main current. We had good success in faster current and along seams with our usual Provo River Bounce Rig.

The Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch has started in the lower part of the river and walked down to the river yesterday and saw a good hatch (bout 4:00 pm) as far upstream as the sewer ponds, but few fish were rising to take them.

We have concentrated on the upper part of the river, but clients and students tell us they have had some success on top with caddis between Charleston and Legacy Bridge.

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

This report was prepared on May 12, 2019, so the dates include 15 total days from May 5 – 19 (7 days before and after).

We have records for 9 fishing trips during this time of year (2014 – 2019) on the Middle Provo and caught a total of 134 fish. We do not have records for the Lower Provo during this time frame because of the high water and crowded conditions; last month was a different story.

We also made additional fly fishing trips to places like Strawberry River and Soldier Creek during this time of year during the past several years. Soldier Creek may still offer good fishing this year, but lower sections of the Strawberry River may take a few years to recover from last years’ fire and flood.

 Catch Chart Middle Provo River – May 5 – 19

Technique Fly Fish Pcent
(bounce rig or
sow bug  59 44.0%
midge larvae
 29 21.6%
P.R. worm
 11  8.2%
BWO nymph
  8  6.0%
Total Nymphing 107 79.7%
Dry Fly Midge (no-seeum)  13  9.7%
Caddis  11  8.2%
Palmer fly
  2  1.5%
Green Shuck
Total Dry
 27 20.1%

As usual, we caught most (80%) fish while nymping (Provo River Bounce Rig) during this time frame. Despite all the choices of nymphs, the lowly sow bug still dominates the catch, followed by midge larvae (very small; size 20 or 22). The Provo River worm is always a good choice, but works best when water is cloudy or during or after rain.

As for dry flies, the “no-seeum” version of the midge dry fly has caught more fish on top than caddis, despite the fact that the Mother’s Day caddis hatch is on. Jim and I have not caught any fish on caddis yet this year, but we have concentrated on fishing on the upper part of the Middle Provo and the caddis hatch is still on the lower part.

Our records don’t show any fish being caught with swinging techniques for this time of year despite the fact that I usually end the day swinging a soft hackle or black ant. This technique starts working better later in the season.

Note:  Not all of the fish in our records are caught by Jim and me. Many are caught by intermediate and beginner fly fishers that we are guiding or teaching.

Want to improve your fly fishing skills? Book a guided trip with Jim and Dan or ask about a special rate for a fishing lesson or two. Click Here to Learn More.

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

See all of our fly fishing videos (about 100) here at Jim’s YouTube Channel.

Here is one of our recent videos:

Double Double Brothers

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.

This Video taken May 14, 2019 of Caddis Hatch on Middle Provo River

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  1. I study your fishing report closely so thank you for taking the time to produce such a detailed and practical summary. I actually caught a few fish on a soft hackle last week. What pattern are you using for the BWO nymph & emerger?

    • Hi Mark: It’s time to catch a few on soft hackles, but I have none in the database for the Middle Provo for this time of year since 2013. Instead of my color blind self inaccurately describing nymphs for you, I will put up a few pics… Jim has to label fly tying materials for me. I didn’t realize for several weeks this past Winter that I was fishing with green egg patterns instead of orange… Still caught fish…

  2. Brody Douglas says

    what sow bug pattern do you find most successful? I’ve been having the most luck on the j-rouse dirty tan looking ones, with no bead head. Nice meeting you on the river on friday JIM!!!

    • Hi Brody, I will pass comment on to Jim. I missed out, but Jim did well on Friday and I assume you did as well.

      We mainly use a gray sow bug on the Middle and Lower Provo. We tie our own sow bugs using the pattern shown in this post and includes video (Video is my 17 year old cousin tying his first fly). We sometimes add some sparkle to the sow bug. As I told Mark in the previous post, I will taking more pics of the common flies we use. Secret flies may remain secret.

  3. Took this video with phone yesterday (May 14,2019) Watch Video Here on the Middle Provo. Jim should have some better video with the real camera, but just wanted everyone to see the amazing hatch that is going on. I also embedded the video in the fishing report above.

Comments, Opinions, Questions?