NORTHERN UTAH REPORTS
Updated: September 20th, 2021
By: Nick Teynor
Well, I think it is safe to say that our transition season from Summer to Fall is in full swing. PMDs are pretty much done, October Caddis and some smaller dark bodied caddis are still popping off, the tiny Pseudocloeon mayflies we see on our local tailwaters have begun to hatch, and the fish are taking notice. Drought conditions have been slightly eased with all of the rain we got, but some of our tailwater fisheries have had the water literally turned off on them. So make sure you check the river gauges before you go, or give us a call if your not sure about what's going on.
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
As of today, the Middle Provo is flowing at 226 CFS out of Jordanelle Reservoir, and 185 CFS at River Road Bridge. This is a better flow for wading, but it will make fish want to seek out the deeper channels and holes of the river. Cool, shady water (i.e. fast pocket water and tree lined banks) zones are not places you should overlook, especially on the sunny days. The fish are still looking out for small PMDs up by the dam, but Pseudocloeon mayflies, October Caddis in the afternoon and evenings, and terrestrials in the afternoon when things get warmer, will be things you'll want to make sure you bring with you, too. With the flows dropping, the bugs getting smaller, and the fish getting fished to hard, it's important to pack your fine tippets with you (6X-7X), and make sure you have every stage of the bugs (nymphs, emergers, dries, etc.) when you head out. If you head to the Middle, bring your hoppers, ants, and beetles in sizes #12-#16, Pale Morning Duns in #18-#20), Pseudo mayflies in #22-#24, #14-#18 Caddis, and the usual tiny midges (#20-#26).
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 the light is low, and when there are no bugs hatching.
The Lower's flow is currently 341 CFS. This is a good fishing flow, but it will make the fish adjust to find places along the banks, and out of the main current. 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 in a transition period on the Lower Provo too. So make sure to have dries and nymphs for the PMDs, Pseudo mayflies, and Caddis. Terrestrials along the rivers edge, and trailed with a nymph, can also move fish when there are no obvious signs of hatching bugs, or feeding fish. We've also had success nymphing with #12-#18 San Juan Worms, #16-#20 Sow Bugs, #20-#24 mayfly nymphs, and #18-#24 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, and directly below Echo, are now too low to fish. The Weber below Rockport is currently flowing at 16 CFS at Wanship, and 44 CFS at Coalville. Below Echo Reservoir, flows are now at 1.5 CFS.
The Weber below Mountain Green and into Ogden is still flowing at a fishable flow, but it is only a matter of time before it too will need us [anglers] to give it a break for the long-term health of the fishery.
Green River and Other Waters:
As of right now, the flows on the Green below Flaming Gorge Reservoir are fluctuating between 1,200-1,800 CFS. Since the drop in flows, water temps are back to where they should be (57 degrees), and the fish and fishing are better because of it.
Caddis, Ants, Terrestrials, and Attractor Dries have been moving fish on the surface, and I anticipate these same bugs will still move fish for the next couple of weeks. With the onset of September heading towards October, it would be wise to pack along some tiny Pseudocloeon and Trico mayflies too. 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.
If you're looking to get up to the high country (Uinta and Boulder Mountains) and get some fishing in on the lakes, now until the snow flies is a great time to do so. Fishing in the lakes will be productive with leech patterns, Woolly Buggers, attractor nymphs and dries, Terrestrials, and chironomids (i.e. lake midges). The larger reservoirs (Strawberry, Current Creek, etc.) should start to fish better and better as the weather gets cooler and cooler too.
My go to leader for fishing during this time of year is a 7.5'-9' 3X, and I make sure to carry 3X-6X tippets with me. For the #8-#10 streamers, I use 7.5' 3X leaders, and 3X 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)
Split Case PMD (#20, #22)
"Frenchie" Pheasant Tail (#18)
P.T. Soft Hackle (#16, #18)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#16-#22)
Purple Rooster (#14-#18)
Para. Adams (#12-#22)
Orange Stimulator (#12,#14)
PMX (#14, #16)
Orange PMX (#12)
Chubby Chernobyl (#10-#14)
Dark Missing Link Caddis (#18)
EZ Caddis (#16-#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)