NORTHERN UTAH REPORTS
Updated: January 24th, 2020
By: Nick Teynor
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Hard to believe that January is nearly over, but we at the shop are all stoked about February fishing being around the corner. Our local fishing conditions on the Lower and Middle Provo are still a little inconsistent, but we are seeing more and more midge activity on both stretches of river as the year progresses. While our brown trout have wrapped up spawning, our rainbow and cutthroat trout are starting to get the spawning itch. Many (if not all) of our vital cutthroat streams are closed through July to protect these precious fish. So make sure you check the 2020 fishing guidebook before you head out. Rainbows are not protected, unfortunately, so it is vital that we make sure to not rip them off their spawning redds. It's up to us [anglers] to be good stewards of the resource, and make sure we have fish for the future. So, REALLY watch where you step, and leave any fish you see on spawning beds alone!!! If that isn't a clear enough reason to stay away from spawning beds and fish, here's a little video Redington Fly Gear put out on the subject: https://player.vimeo.com/video/266198626?autoplay=1&loop=0&muted=1&autopause=0
We have some great resources to stay up to date on water conditions around the state, so please use them to plan your fishing trips.
Check these gauges for updates on water levels!
Fishing Conditions Summary:
Flows on the Middle Provo are holding steady at around 144 CFS. Our Middle Provo fish have sought out deeper, slower water to shelter in for the winter season. Size #24-#30 midges in gray and black have been the only insect we have seen consistently hatching over the past couple of weeks, so it would be very wise to make sure you have your midge boxes stocked with some tiny flies. Midges typically hatch/lay their eggs in the mid-mornings through the late afternoons, and our trout are definitely looking for them. I think it is safe to say that our Blue-Winged Olive mayflies won't be seen in consistent numbers until late Match, but it never hurts to keep a couple of "go-to" BWO patterns tucked away in your boxes. Better to have them, than to not have them! Prime time to hit the midge hatch has been between 12 PM-4 PM. When fishing to fish chowing on these little insects, especially on sunny days, it would be wise to drop your tippet sizes down to 7X, and consider a "fly-first" (i.e. downstream) presentation to the fish.
Lower Provo flows are at 146 CFS. At these flows, our fish will seek out any deeper slots, holes, and any form of structure (rocks, logs, seam lines, etc.) they can find. Keep in mind that there's A LOT more shade in the canyon than in the Heber Valley, so any sun hitting the water in the canyon can help warm water temperatures enough to get the bugs and fish active. If you check it out, make sure you have Sow Bugs, a variety of small midge larva, midge pupa, midge adult patterns, and small attractor nymphs. If all else fails, try using streamers to move some fish.
The Weber between Wanship and Coalville is, as of today, 26 CFS; and the Weber out of Echo Reservoir is 1 CFS. This lack of flow makes fishing between Rockport and Morgan too low to fish. With the brown trout redds exposed, and the fish trying to recover from the spawn, we'd highly recommend giving the Weber a break!!! Down by Mountain Green and through Ogden, the Weber still has "fishable" flows. Good Weber River flies to have in your boxes for this time of year are smaller attractor nymphs, Caddis larva, Midge Dries, Zebra Midges, Sow Bugs, and streamers in various sizes and colors.
Green River Below Flaming Gorge:
The flows out of Flaming Gorge have been fluctuating between 1,200 CFS-2,700 CFS. They have been doing this flow bump for a while, so the fish should be used to it, and fishing shouldn't be too negatively affected by it. None of us have been out there yet this year, but once air temps get around forty degrees, it would be worth the drive. If you are looking to fish dries over on the Green, I would still recommend bringing a variety of midge patterns. These little insects can bring about some fun fishing opportunities that will test your skills and patience. If that's not your game, searching with a streamer during the winter can be productive at times. Otherwise, a variety of midge, baetis, attractor, and scud nymphs will move fish when nothing else is going on.
Winter has pretty much shut down the high country lakes and streams until next year. So, I hope you all got out to enjoy it while it was good! If you fancy a road trip, heading south to check out the San Juan River in New Mexico, or the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry wouldn't be a bad idea. Both are known for being consistent winter fisheries, and the weather is also a little warmer on the average than around here.
It's cold out there, so ice forming in your guides is only going to get worse as we charge into winter. Here's a simple tip for limiting ice build-up in you guides: Fish a rod length (or two) of fly line outside the tip of your rod, and minimize stripping your fly line through your guides. The less line you strip, the less water there is to freeze in your guides. As an added bonus of fishing with a set length of line, you'll have to sneak closer to your target. This will help with your casting accuracy, seeing the little flies we fish through the winter, and aid you in getting drag-free presentations. Lately we've been fishing A LOT of 6X for nymphs, and at times 7X has been essential for success when trying to fool our trout with tiny dry flies. If you talked fishing with me, or know me at all, you know I have a passion for fishing soft hackles flies. For what it's worth, my last couple trips to the river have been very productive, and it is because I've been fishing these flies on a slow swing through the obvious water. As long as your soft hackles are sparse, and your drifts are good, you can get away with fooling fish on 6X tippet. With the added bonus of not having to fish a #24-#30 fly to find success.
Sow Bugs (#16-#18)
Soft Hackle Sow Bugs (#16, #20)
Zebra Midges (#16-#22)
Buckskin Nymph (#20-#22)
Bling Midge (#22)
Gray RS-2 (#20-#24)
Tailwater Assassin (#22)
Syl's Midge (#18)
Pulsating Emergers (#22)
Black Biot Soft Hackle (#24)
Prince Nymphs (#18)
Caddis Larva (#14-#20)
BH Hares Ears (#18)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#18-#22)
Trailing Shuck Midge (#24, #30)
Mother Shuckers (#24)
Black Para. Midge (#26)
Para. Adams (#20-#26)
Wounded Sculpin (#8)
Woolly Buggers (#8-#10)
Platte River Spiders (#4-#6)