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River Conditions

Updated: December 10th, 2017
By: Nick Teynor 

Fishing Conditions Summary:

If you haven't heard by now, the Utah Stream Access Coalition (U.S.A.C.) won their lawsuit on the Weber River. While this is great news, and may lead to public access across the entire Weber River corridor, this ruling ONLY APPLIES TO THE SMALL, CONTESTED STRETCH OF RIVER BY THE BROWNS CANYON ROAD ON THE UPPER WEBER. Please make sure to continue to respect private property, access the river from the designated fishing zones, be respectful, pick up trash, and be patient. The state will need to figure out how to apply this ruling, and once they do, we can enjoy the spoils of this decision. We cannot give the otherside more reasons and ammunition to use against us; not when we are so close to winning this battle. If you need more information on the decision, and what it entails, here is the link to USAC's website. While you're there, sign-up for free to be a member! Link: 

The Middle Provo, as of today, is flowing at 150 CFS out of Jordanelle Reservoir. This is a typical winter/fall flow, and there now will be tons of places where you can  cross the river. If you do fish the Middle Provo, the mornings and evenings have been producing results with streamers, with more people reporting better action on streamers later in the afternoon and into the evening. The middle of the day has been the best time to search for fish up and eating Blue Wing Olive mayflies, and Midges are also moving fish to feed off the surface. The lower flows will really force the fish to find some deeper water, and if you are out in the middle of a sunny day focus on the deeper edges,  and pocket water. The Lower Provo is currently reading at 99 CFS. This is a low flow for the Lower Provo, so please watch out for the spawning  fish/beds, and focus on fishing the deeper holes. A lot of fish will be starting to winter over in these spots! The flows out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir have risen to 2,821 CFS. This is a good fishing flow, and will push fish closer to the edges. The Weber below Rockport Reservoir, as of today, it is running at 23 CFS. This river flow  is, REALLY low again, and we won't touch it until the flows get up above 75 CFS. The Weber below Echo is currently flowing at 0.84 CFS. Yes, that means there is almost NOTHING coming out of Echo Reservoir right now. If you go down towards Croyden you will find a river that is still barely flowing, but it is so low that none of us at the shop will fish that section. If you want to fish the Weber still, head up to Wanship/Coalville, or fish it just outside of Ogden towards Morgan. Here are the links to the Utah Streamflow sites:

2) USGS Streamflow:

Good day everyone! This will be my last river conditions post for a while, so please listen up and listen good, because I am going to outline what to see and expect for the next couple of weeks of fishing. With the onset of fall our Brown Trout are spawning, or about to start their yearly procreation ritual. This means that we as anglers need to watch where we walk and fish, so as not to disturb or harm our fishy friends while they go through the rigors of spawning. For those that don't know, the "spawn" is when fish pair up, dig a hole with their bodies in the gravel of a streambed, lay their eggs, and then protect these eggs from any rivals or other intruders that come around their nests. Brown Trout, as with many other fish, do not actively eat during the spawn, and instead feed off of all the fat and muscle they have put on over the course of the year. In short, we loose quite a few fish to the spawn every year due to natural causes, and we need to make sure that we keep as many big fish around as possible.

The best way to insure that these fish survive, and keep passing on the genes to make bigger fish, is to not fish to them while they are trying to spawn, and to make sure we don't go tromping through their nests. Most if not all trout look to spawn in shallow, gravelly riffles because these zones allow them to dig out a nest with their bodies, and the oxygenated water keeps the eggs alive until they are ready to hatch. In short, if you see water like this, and you see patches of streambed that look as if they have been scrubbed clean, or lighter in color than the surrounding streambed, don't walk there or fish there. Chances are that spot is a spawning nest, and if you see a pair of fish on that spot, give them space and allow them to procreate in peace. If we all take a little care, and respect these fish, we will all benefit from the results for many years down the road. If you don't know what a brown trout redd/nest looks like, all you need to do is literally Google "Brown Trout Redds", and you can see what they look like and make sure to avoid them while you are out there fishing. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use egg patterns, because we all know that all fish love to eat eggs. It just means that we need to focus on fishing those egg patterns in the deeper holes downstream of the spawning fish, where all the fish that aren't spawning are waiting for this seasonal morsel to come to them.
Now, onto other things!

The Middle Provo will continue to see Blue Wing Olive mayflies when the weather is cloudy, or on the sunny cool days. Midge hatches will continue to become more and more important as winter approaches, and we have already gotten multiple reports of people having success on midge dry flies in the upper third of the river. Best time to see noses up and feeding off the surface will continue to be between 11 AM-4 PM,  and nymphing with #18 Cased-Caddis Nymphs, #18 Hares Ears, #20-22 BWO Barrs Emergers, #22-#24 WD-40s, #18-#22 Pheasant Tails, and a variety of smaller midge larva in sizes #18-#22 should continue to work through the entire winter season. In short, nymphing will continue to be a very good option-especially if you show up and there are no noses up and rising or bugs buzzing around. I have found that the later into November and December we get, the more inconsistent streamer fishing becomes. You can definitely move some good fish on streamers in the winter, but you usually need to fish them super slow to have any success. We have found that on the sunny days first light and last light is a good time to fish a streamer, and a bright-colored streamer is worth fishing on the sunnier days if there is no surface activity, and the nymph fishing is slow. If there are clouds, and you arrive early before the hatch, or want to stay later, put on a darker colored streamer, and cover the river. Tip: Make sure to vary your retrieve speeds, and take a step or two after each cast!!!

The Lower Provo has dropped in flows, and should allow you to get around practically anywhere you want to fish. The Lower will fish similar to the Middle Provo, but because of the shade cast by the canyon walls, it will be significantly colder down there, and the midge and remaining blue wing fishing will be more sporadic. Nymphing with the aforementioned MIddle Provo patterns, and especially small sow bugs, should continue to move fish throughout the next couple of weeks and on into December. Please remember to watch your step! There are A LOT of spawning areas on the Lower Provo, so remember to give these areas and the fish on them a wide berth. Streamers can and will work, but just remember as the weather gets colder, the fish will not be near as willing to chase something down to kill it. When in doubt, fish your flies slow! 

If you like to explore, get out there and get it while it lasts!!! This warm fall weather will go cold on us sooner than later, and that will shut down many of our higher elevation fisheries. Late Fall/Winter Fishing Tip: Make sure you have your 6x and 7x tippet with you; especially when fishing our remaining Blue Wing Olives and Midges on the sunnier days! Reports from people fishing the Middle Provo have been consistent in that there are fish up and feeding, but they are picky and you need to make sure your flies are drifting as natural as possible.

If you feel the urge to stretch your legs, or you want to fish something other than our local fisheries, I would suggest that you take the time and head over to the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. *The river flows are currently at 2,821 CFS.*  Smaller Terrestrials are still working on the warmer days, Blue Wing and Pseudoclone mayflies are still around, Midges are hatching everyday, and the streamer fishing is still producing fish. 

One other thing to watch out for is the Uinta Lakes, Reservoirs, and our Southern Utah fisheries. Lakes across the state are fishing well this time of year, and providing shore/boat anglers plenty of success-as long as you keep your feet moving! Our lakes and reservoirs will continue to fish well right up till they freeze, so if you are looking to do something different, get your butt off the couch and go explore these fisheries with an assortment of streamers and leeches.

(Highlighted Flies are "Must-Haves" for the next week or so)

Zebra Midges (#16-#22)
Buckskin Nymph (#22)
Bling Midge (#22)
Mothershuckers (#22-#24)
Griffith's Gnats (#18-#24)
Para. Adams (#20-#26)         

Sow Bugs (#16-#22)
San Juan/Flossy Worm (#12-#18) 
BWO Nymphs (#20-#24)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#20-#22)
Sparkle Dun BWO (#20-#22)
BWO Cripple (#20-#24)

Caddis Larva-Cased/Un-Cased (#14-#18)
Platte River Spiders-ALL COLORS!!! (#6)
Matt's Confidant Streamers-ALL COLORS!!! (#4)

Looking Ahead: 2018
By: Steve Schmidt

It's getting to be the time of year when I take a break from these reports.  Once fall hatches conclude there isn't much worth commenting on and I need a little break from the computer screen.  So, I thought I take the Closing Comments section to look into my crystal ball and give a brief run down of what to expect in 2017 before I drop off the face of the earth. So, get your calendars out and lets start to look at 2018 in a nutshell and start plugging in some dates for the upcoming year so you don't miss out on the years best fishing.....

By December our streams get pretty quiet.  Water temps are cool enough that our trout streams, especially upper elevation waters don't get much in the way of activity. Although if we have mild Decembers we can see winter midge hatches get underway early, sometimes as early as December. That has happened a time or two on the Provo and Green Rivers and given these continued mild trends we're experiencing in the winter I wouldn't rule out some early dry fly fishing opportunities in December.  We'll just have to wait and see. Personally, I'd like to see our trout get a break and hopefully see winter inundate us cold and wet. We're due.  

Early January is also a fairly quiet month.  Typically we don't see winter midge hatches until late January and more likely early February.  That gives you a few months to get some flies tied up before noses again appear on a few of our local waters.  Although there can be opportunities for some decent fly-fishing in January, looking back I don't really see consistent midge hatches until February arrives.   

February is when I start to get a little itchy.  Midge hatches will be more dependable, there a good chance that noses will be up and by the end of the month we'll find the Middle Provo's large Buffalo Midge starting to get a fair amount of attention.  For the most part we're fishing really tiny midge stuff through the heart of winter, so when these big #18-#20 midges begin to appear flyfisher's and trout alike welcome thier arrival. Generally the more stable the weather the more consistent the fly-fishing opportunities are when it comes to midges.  If we have a February similar to the one we had in 2016 when we experienced some great dry fly days on the Green and Provo during the middle of that month we'll be off to a normal start. You'll find the best fishing in February during the most pleasant part of the day when the sun is out and afternoon's can actually be quite pleasant.  So, if you're starting to itch from cabin fever February is typically the first month when our winter fishing really starts to light up. 

Midges will carry us into March, but by the middle or by late March we'll begin to see them mix with a smattering of BWO's. Similar to midge waters we have a limited number of tailwater fisheries that will have good Blue Wing Olive hatches in early spring, but those rivers and streams have awesome fishing when this hatch gets going. In general I prefer February to the first few weeks in March since we start to get back into storm cycles in early March and midges hatch best when the weather is more stable.  The fishing is normally better in the later half of March when Blue Wings start to become more apart of the daily mix.  Unlike midges mayflies hatch best, as do all mayflies, on overcast, cool and wet days. So by this time of year regardless of the weather you'll find some decent opportunities in the afternoon on a number of our tailwaters with midges or mayfly hatches.  

By April we'll see our trout shift from winter midges to spring Blue Wings. We welcome them as well. These spring mayfly hatches are highly anticipated by many since the weather's a little milder by now, bugs are of a decent size, this hatch is very dependable and there's a lot of very good dry fly fishing opportunities.  If you're planning ahead with limited time in the spring to get out and want to optimize your day/s on the water early on in the season April is a month in Utah that I would focus on. Regardless of the techniques you enjoy, the fishing's pretty darn good and consistent.  If you can be flexible in your days on the water, then look for those days that have some cloud cover overhead with a possiblity of a little moisture in the air.  You'll see fewer anglers on the water on these days and you'll enjoy the best hatches. 

Later in April along with the month's spring mayfly hatches arrives our second stonefly hatch of the year: Skwala's. This stonefly is predominantly found on the Middle Provo, but you'll also find them hatching on sections of the Green.  It's a dark stonefly, about size #10-#12 that isn't the most prolific stonefly hatch of the year by any means, but when they're out they don't get ignored. So if you're headed out the door to the Middle Provo in late April have a couple Skwala patterns in addition to your arsenal of BWO's. On those warm sunny April days they can generate some exciting fishing. 

As BWO's wind down the first part of May if we're lucky, depending on how you look at it, we'll get some decent water conditions we'll get a chance to fish the Mother's Day Caddis hatch in May.  Genearlly this hatch coincides with run-off and spring releases.  Last year this prolific hatch produced some really awesome dry fly fishing, because as many of you know, we didn't have much in the way of water for 2016.  The past few years due to a very marginal snow pack we saw waters levels on most of our tailwaters stay flat.  Upper elevation streams bumped up pretty good, but nothing like they are capable of on average when we enjoy good water years. We're hoping that changes for 2017, but given our start to the water year so far we aren't feeling too optimistic. 

By the end of May we start to see another isolated, but opportunistic hatch in northern Utah, Salmon Flies.  This giant stonefly produces some incredible, but brief fly-fishing opportunities on a number of our fisheries. Historically we have high water still in late May, but as I've eluded to we haven't had much water around in late May so the opportunities to fish this hatch has been better than usual. If this weather pattern persists expect to have better than average water conditions for May and to enjoy good Salmon Fly hatches and fishing as a consequence.  All stoneflies hatch best when the weather is warm and sunny. So, if we have decent water conditions combined with some warm dry weather this hatch is worth figuring out.  These giant bugs create some pretty incredible fishing experiences.   

Another May hatch that can be a factor late in the month are Cicadas.  Although they are most we'll known as an important super hatch on the Green, this big terrestrial is also a factor on a number of our other northern Utah waters.  Since it's a terrestrial it's really affected by weather.  More so than the aquatic insects that trout are get a more steady diet of.  Cold wet springs produce marginal hatches at best.  Since we don't know what the weather is going to be like in May for 2017 this is a very difficult hatch to predict year in and year out.  I get asked all the time if the upcoming year is going to be a good Cicada year.  Well we'll just have to see what kind of weather May stirs up in the upcoming year. That's what it comes down to. It's as simple as that.  So, if conditions are favorable and you can stay flexible before planning a May trip to the Green or to a number of our other local waters that also enjoy good Cicada hatches come May you'll want to pay attention.  This is a hatch worth tracking and getting in on.  As always we'll keep you posted.   

By June, the house really gets rocking.  Typically the fishing doesn't get going until the middle of the month, but there may also be some decent opportunities over June's first few weeks that locals can really take advantage of.  Salmon Flies are still around and you should be ready for the start of summers PMD's.  If Cicadas were a factor in May, they'll still be getting lots of attention through the first couple of weeks of June.  On normal water years, however fishing and rivers begin to settle down from spring run-off and become more consistent towards the middle and end of June than in it's beginning.  In the last few weeks of June we'll see Salmon Flies, Golden Stoneflies in a variety of sizes, PMD's, Caddis and Green Drakes all emerging on a variety of waters from the end of June until the early weeks of July. It can be pretty amazing, especially if your on the water on one of those days when you have all kinds of shit happening. 

In general the big stoneflies don't last that long; a few weeks on their respective bodies of water. The smaller stoneflies are a little more wide spread and prolific.  You'll find these primitive bugs in a variety of sizes and colors on sunny warm days on a number of different Utah waters.  If it's overcast and cool you'll enjoy some of the years best mayfly hatches.   With caddis also in the picture if you're putting a full day in you can fish this hatch until dark. Up unitl June, most of your fly-fishing opportunities are late morning to mid afternoon.  By the middle of June we start to have stuff happening from dawn to dusk.  And, not only are most of our waters fishing well by this time of year, but you'll have an opportunity to hit a variety of epic hatches on any given day regardless of the weather.  If you're going to have limited time to fish in the upcoming year there is a four week window here that you'll not want to miss. It really doesn't get much more automatic than during this four week window.     

By the middle of July you'll find most of the stonefly hatches have run their course.  Drakes as well.  If it's a hot dry summer, which again is the pattern we seem to be in terrestrials will start to mix with afternoon PMD hatches.  As your day unfolds look for PMD spinners to get the days first attention. On cloudy warm days good PMD and caddis hatches in the riffle and pocket water can generate good dry fly fishing.  Caddis and PMD spinners will end the day as darkness gathers.  Typically it gets pretty hot this time of year so the best fishing is at the bookends of the day.

Although August and September can be considered a month of dull drums, they can also be months of good fly-fishing opportunities with fewer bodies to share your experiences with.  Terrestrials, PMD's, and caddis are all bugs that are still very much a factor.  If we have some mild temps, the fishing will be quite good.  If it's hot, the fishing will be a little more mixed.  If you're looking to one river to hit this time of year, I'd look to the Green River. This river late in the season is about as consistent and good as any fishery in the west.  Unlike many of our western fisheries it really relies on a steady diet of terrestrials.   It does have great aquatic insect hatches certain times of the year, but it's trout really rely on the abundant colonies of ants, big beetles and hoppers.  It will still be quite busy, but not near as busy as it is in June and July.

Where our fisheries to the north start having fall fishing conditions in September, fall in earnest begins here in Utah in October. It's when Blue Wings again begin to emerge and streamer fishing starts to become effective.  On several of our local fisheries we'll also enjoy strong hatches of caddis the most prolific of them being the Western Weedy Water Sedge.  This small dark caddis will start to show in late September and continue well into October.  They mix with Octobers Blue Wing Olives.  If you're not finding many noses up this time of the year as browns get more territorial as the spawn approaches try fishing streamers. 

If you follow these reports than your familiar with November.  This year it's been a very good month due to a number of factors.  Normally Blue Wings are for the most part done by November, but this year they've been excellent.  Some of the best streamer fishing we enjoy in November and this year that has held true.  Even though we've had some good mayfly hatches, they're winding down and before long they to will come to an end.  

I hope you've gotten some good snippets from this little summary.  I hope you had as good a year on the water as I was fortunate to have and that my weekly updates helped you get the most out of your valuable time on the water.  Thanks for following me.  I'll be back at it a few months from now.  In the interim if stay in touch.  Coffee's on, our years experiences in photographs is running, and even in the winter we open at 8.  

Fishing Licenses On-Line: 

If you are visiting from out of state and don't have time to visit the shop before heading over to the Green the following link will take you to where you can get a 0n-Line Utah Fishing License. You'll also be able to secure additional helpful information regarding the states fishing.  

Also, this is very cool.  You can down load the DWR APP and this will allow you to store your fishing license on your phone.  Also, your kids, or persons of interest.  That way you don't have to worry about loosing your license, and now that you can save a little money and buy a 5 year fishing license, it makes more sense.  
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