Hello, fly fishers! Utah Pro Fly Fishing took out the Red Bull energy drink company today on the Lower Provo. They all caught some nice fish using the Provo River Bounce nymphing rig technique on standard and Tenkara fly rods. A 9′-10′ fly rod for 3-5 weight lines worked great close in on the shallower flats, edges, and drop-offs and the Tenkara rods are great for getting awesome drifts with nymphs and trout “junk foods” (what used is mentioned below).
As a guide on the Provo River, I love being on the water lots and seeing how the character of the river changes on a daily, even hourly basis. The past few days have seen many changes below Deer Creek Reservoir as flows went up from 75 cfs a few days ago to over 300 cfs yesterday and then over 400 cfs today. It was raised with the purpose to help the native June Sucker that lives in the lower reaches near Utah Lake to spawn by mimicking the high flows that historically were normal now before the reservoirs were built.
What that means to anglers is that you must be extremely cautious as only a few places are safe to wade across and even then with knowledge, caution and preferably a wading staff. The water is very cold and a swim would be a shocking experience.
What do the fish do when the water rises? Trout in the low water they had been hanging out in slower, deeper areas and have generally only come shallow to feed when the midge or mayfly hatches occur. We’ve had great spring fly fishing on our guided trips and personal fishing but the high water now has pushed the fish out of their regular feeding lies and closer to the banks. The high water flushes lots of food out but also can put the freeze on regular insect hatch activity. Sorry, dry fly anglers! The fish that are feeding have been focusing on eating the sowbugs as the water rises with occasional aquatic worms, rainbow trout eggs and of course insect nymphs. The imitation fly emphasis right now is size 20 to 14 sowbugs. Forget about fishing the heavy flows and spots you were wading just a week ago and concentrate on the softer water areas near shore where trout have a reprieve from fighting the fast, deep water.
Spring fishing, like the weather, can be dynamic so plan on fishing high, cold water and please keep warm and dry!