NORTHERN UTAH REPORTS
Updated: July 23rd, 2021
By: Nick Teynor
Our Summer hatches are on, and the fishing has been good the last couple of days. That being said, drought conditions are only going to get worse as this Summer heat wave continues, and everyone needs to be aware of lethal water temps, and when to stop fishing. A thermometer will be a necessary tool to have on you this year. If water temps are 65 degrees and/or lower, trout will be happy and able to recover from a fight. If water temps are 67 degrees and higher, it's time to STOP fishing. Trout aren't able to get enough oxygen through their gills when the water temps are above 67 degrees, and as a result, the chances of them dying from stress increases. So do your part and keep fish wet, check water temps, and leave when things get too warm.
The rivers, lakes, and streams took a beating from anglers this past season, and just like last year, there are more bodies than usual out on the water. In order to avoid bad river etiquette, it's important to know the basic ins an outs of how to interact with each other on the water. Last year, as part of our ongoing The Game Blog, Steve wrote a piece that discusses Stream Etiquette. If you haven't read it or visited our Blog, you'll find it informative and helpful. Also, the fine folks over at Redington Fly Gear have a nice little video on the subject.
Check these gauges for updates on water levels!
Fishing Conditions Summary
UPDATE: FLOWS HAVE BUMPED ON THE MIDDLE PROVO. As of today, the Middle Provo is flowing at 503 CFS out of Jordanelle Reservoir, and 364 CFS at River Road Bridge. Unless irrigation demand increases, I would not expect the flows on the Middle to go higher. If it does, I'll let you know ASAP. This is a better flow for the fish given the hot weather, but it will make fish want to seek the calmer edges of the river. Cool, shady water (i.e. fast pocket water and tree lined banks) zones are not places you should overlook. The fish are are definitely looking out for PMDs, Stoneflies, and Caddis that have been hatching. So if you're heading to the Middle, it would be very wise to have dries and nymphs in sizes #10-#16 for Stoneflies, #16-#20 Pale Morning Duns, #12-#16 Caddis, and the usual tiny midges and mayflies.
Fishing a soft hackle on a slow, down-and-across swing during the mornings and evenings, or drifting/stripping a streamer, is always worth trying when visibility is low, and when there are no bugs hatching.
The Lower's flow is currently 455 CFS. This is a good fishing flow, but it will make the fish adjust to find places out of the faster current, and push them closer to the rivers edge. Just like the Middle Provo, we've been recommending people fish the riffles and shady water during these super hot days, and focus on the slower current edges. The tops, tail outs, and shallower edges of both pools and runs are good places to keep an eye out for surface feeding fish. Also like the Middle, Summer hatches are a go on the Lower Provo too. So make sure to have dries and nymphs for the PMDs, Stoneflies, and Caddis. We've had success nymphing with #12-#16 San Juan Worms, #16-#20 Sow Bugs, and #18-22 midge larva and pupa when there is nothing hatching. Fishing soft-hackles on a slow swing, and drifting/stripping a streamer through the deeper holes, troughs, and channels can be effective if nothing else seems to be moving fish. If you want to avoid the rafters and tubers, I'd highly recommend getting to the river early, and leaving when the "raft hatch" gets really thick. Or go later in the evening when most folks are done floating for the day.
Flows on the Weber between Wanship and Coalville are still at fishable levels. The Weber below Rockport is currently flowing at 185 CFS. Below Echo Reservoir, flows are now at 283 CFS, and this section is also flowing at a very fishable level. The Weber should be seeing daily seeing daily hatches of midges, and it would be wise to prepared with nymphs and dries for the PMDs, Yellow Stoneflies, and Caddis. The same nymphs and nymphing/wet fly techniques we've been running on both sections of the Provo, should also work on the tailwater sections of the Weber. We've also heard that fishing some terrestrial/dry attractor flies along the edges, and around prime structure (cut banks, rocks, log jams, etc.) has been moving fish.
Green River and Other Waters:
As of right now, the flows on the Green below Flaming Gorge Reservoir are at 805 CFS. Since the drop in flows, water temps are back to where they should be (57 degrees), and this has gotten the PMDs, Caddis, and Yellow Sally Hatches going.
Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Ants, and Terrestrial Attractors have been moving fish on the surface, and I anticipate these same bugs will still move fish for the next couple of weeks. If the surface action is slow when you head out to DJ, don't be afraid to run a nymph 2'-4' behind your big dry fly. I'd also recommend you bring your streamers for fishing in the early morning, and late-afternoon to evening. If you're a walk-n-wade angler, it would be wise to take a slow stroll, and look to "sight fish" to fish feeding off the surface, or suspended off the bottom. When in doubt, prospecting with a #10-#14 Chubby Chernobyl, Parachute Ant, or Para. Cricket, trailed 2'-3' by small Zebra Midges (#18-#20), Scuds (#18-#22), or small mayfly nymphs (#18-#22) will usually move a fish or two. If you need to pick up some flies, give the shop a call, and we'll get you everything you need.
The drought has really taken a nasty toll on our smaller creeks and streams throughout the state. If you're looking to get up to the high country to get out of the heat, I'd recommend you focus your angling efforts on the lakes versus the streams. Fishing in the lakes will be more productive, and give fish in the super low streams a better chance of making it through this tough year. If you want to expand your fly-fishing options, exploring the warm-water lakes and reservoirs for carp, bass, sunfish, etc. across the Wasatch Front can get you away from some of the crowds on the local trout fisheries. Flies for stillwater fishing this time of the year varies based on the specific fisheries, but I would be prepared to fish anything from leeches, streamers, buggers, Callibaetis mayflies, Damselflies, Terrestrials, and chironomids (i.e. lake midges).
Summer Fishing Tip(s):
With this heat wave ushering in Summer temperatures, and with our nasty drought conditions looming, we [the angling community] are going to need to make sure we don't do anything to stress out the fish and local fisheries. Carrying a thermometer with you will be very important, especially for our trout! When water temperatures are over 67 degrees or higher, this stresses trout out, and they cannot get as much oxygen through their gills. So, if you head out this summer, and the water temperature is 67 degrees or higher, you need to stop fishing. Unless we get relief in the form of rain and cooler temperatures, we'll need to do our part to take care of our fish and fisheries through these trying times.
My go to leader for most of my summer fishing is a 7.5'-9' 3X, and I make sure to carry 3X-6X tippets with me. For the #8-#10 streamers, larger nymphs and heavier nymph rigs, I use 7.5' 3X leaders, and 3X-4X tippets. These simple leader/tippet systems allow me to adjust to whatever fishing conditions I encounter, and simplify what I need to take with me fishing. The only other tips I can offer are the following: Be prepared for dynamic weather changes, check the river flows before you head out, and make sure you respect each others space when out on the water!!!
Zebra Midges (#16-#22)
Buckskin Nymph (#20,#22)
Bling Midge (#22, #24)
Yellow Stonefly Nymphs (#12)
Iron Sally Stonefly Nymphs (#16)
Split Case PMD (#16-#20)
"Frenchie" Pheasant Tail (#18)
P.T. Soft Hackle (#16, #18)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#16-#22)
Purple Rooster (#14-#18)
Para. Adams (#12-#22)
Yellow Stimulator (#12-#16)
Chubby Chernobyl (#10-#14)
"Impearsonator" Drake (#12)
Hair-Wing Green Drake (#12)
Extended Body Green Drake (#12)
Dark Missing Link Caddis (#18)
EZ Caddis (#14-#18)
Hemingway Caddis (#18)
Wounded Sculpin (#8)
Woolly Buggers (#6-#10)
Platte River Spiders (#4,#6)
Sow Bugs (#16,#18)
Soft Hackle Sow Bugs (#16, #20)
San Juan Worms (#12-#16)