NORTHERN UTAH REPORTS
Updated: May 4th, 2021
By: Nick Teynor
Good Day, Everyone!
As some of you discovered last weekend, the flows on all of local tailwater fisheries rose. This is only going to continue as Spring heats up, so make sure you check out those river gauges before you head out!!! Our Blue Wing Olive mayflies have been making their presence felt on all of our local fisheries, and with the onset of warmer Spring weather, it's only a matter of time before we start to consistently see some Skwala stoneflies, and Mother's Day Caddis. Steve wrote a great blog post about the Blue Wing Olive hatch on the Shop Blog, and it tells you everything you need to know about this first mayfly hatch of the year. To get to the BWO blog post, click here. While there are other, bigger food items for our trout to focus on, I'd still recommend you bring your midge boxes with you. They hatch everyday, and provide our trout with a constant food source when bigger food items are not around.
The rivers, lakes, and streams took a beating from anglers this past season, and with the weather being so mild, 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
The local Rainbow and Cutthroat trout will be getting ready begin their spawning cycle soon. So, once again, it will be very important to watch where you are stepping and fishing. In fact, most of our Cutthroat waters have special regulations on them, which means many of them will be closed until the second Saturday of July. So, check out the DWR's fishing regulations book before you head out!!! The folks at Redington Fly-Fishing posted a helpful video on the importance of leaving spawning fish alone, how to look out for spawning redds, and why it matters. Give it a watch so you know what to look out for so that we can continue to respect and preserve the resource. Video Link: Avoiding Spawners
As of today, the Middle Provo is flowing at 324 CFS out of Jordanelle Reservoir, and 203 CFS at River Road Bridge. This is the first significant flow bump we've seen this year, and I don't know if/when they will be raising flows higher. Rest assured, however, that this is still a good Spring fishing flow, and the fish will adjust. We've been recommending that anglers focus on fishing the slower edges of the deeper runs and pools, and keep an eye out for fish feeding off the surface at the top, tail outs, and shallower edges of the pools/runs as well. It would be wise to still have your smaller midges with you, as the fish will switch between BWO's and midges throughout the day.
Blue Wing Olive mayflies are popping off throughout the river corridor, so make sure you have BWO nymphs, emergers, cripples, and dries with you. The smaller, grayish midges have fished well for us in sizes #22-#26. The most consistent dry fly fishing has been happening between 11 AM-4 PM, but changes in weather, such as cold fronts, can push the hatch back an hour or so. With water and air temperatures getting warmer, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing Skwala stoneflies, and Mother's Day Caddis. So, plan ahead, and get these bugs in your boxes before we run out of them!
When there aren't insects hatching, nymphing with #12-#16 San Juan Worms, #16-#20 Sow Bugs, #12-#16 Prince Nymphs, #20-#26 midge larva and pupa, #16-#20 caddis larva, and #20-#24 mayfly nymphs can move fish. If it is an exceptionally windy day, and/or you want to keep things simple, fishing a soft hackle on a slow, down-and-across swing, or slowing drifting/stripping a streamer is worth trying.
The Lower's flow has bumped significantly, and is currently 302 CFS. This is a good Spring flow, but it will make the fish adjust to find places out of their wintering spots, and push them closer to the rivers edge. Just like the Middle Provo, we've been recommending people fish the slower, deeper pools and runs, 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. We are seeing midges hatch in the mornings and evenings, and our Blue Wing Olive mayflies of the year are hatching during the warmest part of the day (12 PM-4 PM). Like the Middle Provo, and sections of the Weber, the Lower has a decent population of Skwala stoneflies. These are the "big bugs" of Spring, and will be most active on warm, sunny days.
If no surface activity is present, and with the onset of higher flows, nymphing with #12-#16 San Juan Worms, #16-#20 Sow Bugs, #18-22 midge larva and pupa, #16-#20 caddis, and #18-#22 mayfly nymphs can move fish. Fishing soft-hackles on a slow swing, and drifting/slowly stripping a streamer through the deeper holes, troughs, and channels can be effective if nothing else seems to be moving fish.
Flows on the Weber between Wanship and Coalville are now at fishable level! The Weber below Rockport is currently flowing at 63 CFS. Below Echo Reservoir, flows are now at 129 CFS, and this is section is also flowing at a very fishable level. The Weber should be daily seeing daily hatches of midges, Blue Wing Olive mayflies, and potentially some Skwala stoneflies hatching for the next month or so. The Weber is also known for its Mother's Day Caddis hatch, so it would be wise to make sure you have cased caddis nymphs in #16, Olive caddis pupa in #16-#18, and dark bodied caddis adult patterns in #16-#18 for this hatch. The same flies and techniques we've been running on the Provo, should also work on the tailwater sections of the Weber.
Green River and Other Waters:
As of right now, the flows on the Green below Flaming Gorge Reservoir are flat-lined at 867 CFS during the day. I don't know why they stopped the flow bumps, or if they are going to raise them, so I'd highly recommend you check the flows before you head out to DJ. If you do head out to the Green, the fish will be hanging out in any deep troughs, holes, channels, and other structure. Just like the local water, I'd recommend you keep an eye out for fish feeding along the slower current edges, the top and tail-outs of runs and pools, and back eddies.
Keep a look out for Midges, and the Blue-Wing Olive mayflies, which are hatching every day. If the hatch is slow, done, or you just don't want to stare at a bobber, I'd recommend you bring your streamers. 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 #14-#16 Parachute Adams 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. With the warming temperatures, it would be very wise to start packing your Caddis and Cicada boxes with you. COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, so make sure if you head out there to follow all mask and social distancing guidelines to make sure we keep our friends in Dutch John safe. If you need to pick up some flies, give the shop a call, and we'll get you everything you need.
Stillwater fishing is/has been picking up for the past couple of weeks. Strawberry Reservoir has virtually iced-off, but the fish will still hang in the shallows during the mornings, evenings, and on cloudy days. If you want to expand you fly-fishing options, exploring the lakes and reservoirs across the Wasatch Front can definitely get you away from some of the Spring crowds on the local rivers, and give you a new challenge to explore and learn. Flies for stillwater fishing this time of the year varies based on the water, but I would be prepared to fish anything from leeches, streamers, buggers, and chironomids (i.e. lake midges).
Spring Fishing Tip(s):
With Spring officially here, it would be wise to pack leaders and tippets for fishing anything from midges and Baetis, to smaller streamers and Skwala stoneflies. My go to leader for most of my "small bug" Spring fishing is a 9' 5X, and I make sure to carry 5X-7X tippets with me. For the #8-#10 streamers, and Skwala stoneflies, 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!!!
Top Secret Midges (#22-#24)
Zebra Midges (#16-#22)
Buckskin Nymph (#20,#22)
Bling Midge (#22, #24)
"Frenchie" Pheasant Tail (#18)
P.T. Soft Hackle (#16, #18)
Red Ass Soft Hackle (#18)
Pulsating Emerger (#22)
Syl's Midge (#18)
Baetis Swinger (#18)
Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#16-#22)
CDC Hanging Midge (24)
Hi-Vis Midge (#20)
Griffith's Gnat (#20-#24)
Purple Rooster (#16-#18)
Para. Adams (#18-#26)
Last Chance Cripple (#20)
Turkey Baetis Cripple (#18-#22)
CDC BWO Thorax (#18,#20)
No-Hackle BWO (#18-#22)
Parachute Extended Body BWO (#18)
Sparkle Dun BWO (#18)
Antonio's BWO (#17,#19)
Little Olive Skwala Stone (#12, #14)
Olive Para. PMX (#12)
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)