Saturday, July 13, 2013

Utah Trip: The Provo - Part 1

My research of the Provo made me familiar with lingo like Bounce Rig, Lunker Lane and Green Drakes. The river has a reputation and the rumor was your next cast could be the one that hooks a fish of a lifetime. When I first saw the river it was nothing like I imagined. It wasn't very big in comparison to the North Carolina waters I'm used to.
There was word that green drakes were in the area and the prime time was in the middle of the day. The fly shop told me I wouldn't be the only one in the area and they weren't kidding. Every time I looked over my shoulder it seemed like someone new was walking by or standing in a spot I was thinking about fishing. I did found a spot where fish were rising. I cast near where I saw the first rise and saw a fish follow for what seemed like 20ft before refusing my fly. My next cast didn't even get a glance. I moved closer and noticed there were about 100 fish stacked up in this one run. I figured they were waiting for the green drake hatch just like every one else. There were even osprey in the trees that seemed to be waiting. There were fish rising here and there in several places but I couldn't get them to hit anything. The fishing was slow and I didn't see many people catching anything at all. A fellow angler walked by,

"Any luck?" I asked.

No but yesterday I caught 25 right where you're standing.

Just my luck. I started to get into that mode where you just kind of go through the motions. You're fishing but not really concentrating or focusing. That was until I crossed the river.
The Provo might not look big but the power of the water is no joke. The bottom is full of round softball sized rocks that constantly shift as you're wading. Combine this with a swift current and you have a lot of heart pumping river crossings. There were several times when I felt like I was rolling across the river instead of crossing it. The fishing continued to be slow and the only sign of big drake like bugs were the husks from a recent stonefly hatch.
I'd find these scattered all over but I never did see any big stoneflies flying around. The only bugs I did see were small mayflies and caddis. That's a good segway. If you're visiting Utah bring some caddis patterns. The hatches are prolific and the caddis are all over from the Provo to the lower Weber. The Provo was kicking my butt and I continued to hammer water until I ran into a guy who said he caught a few fish on drake patterns even though he hadn't seen any. I decided to give it a shot. I put on a drake pattern suggested by the Troutbum2 fly shop out of Park City. On my second cast, near a run, I saw a fish come out of a plunge pool and hammer the fly. The scenario was so different from what I experienced previously I almost didn't set the hook. I was able to pull it together and I had my first Utah trout.
The highlight for me was that it was a brown. I couldn't seem to entice any more fish with the drake pattern so I switched to a cripple. This was also recommended by the fly shop. I started to sight fish for rising trout. I found a section where a fish was rising consistently about every 30 seconds. I timed the rise and the fish took the fly with out hesitation. Now this was starting to get fun. I decided to fish this way for the rest of the afternoon. I targeted rising fish and was successful about a quarter of the time. These fish are smart. If you cast upstream above a fish and it rises behind the fly and even feels the slightest hint of the leader the fish will refuse the fly. Usually in a dramatic way by splashing and flicking the fly away. It's neat to watch. I decided to call it a day when a guide group showed up and instructed a bunch of guys on the bounce rig.

To Be Continued..... Part 2 I hit another section of the Provo and things get interesting.


  1. Nice going Kevin. I really enjoy this post. Just when you think you've got things dialed in. I love the challenge. Standing by for part 2.

  2. Thanks Howard. It was a great trip and I learned a lot about myself and fishing.

  3. Excellent! Beautiful brown. I've been to Utah a couple of times but never have fished the Provo.

  4. Beautiful fish Kevin and,lovely stream!

  5. Hey Kevin, thanks for checking my blog and I am glad that Utah treated you well--I saw the lunker you caught on the Weber! I just got back from a 12 hour day on the middle provo and there were some caddis coming off as well as some BWOs. Had a handful of run-ins with some monster browns and was completely humbled.

    Will be lurking.