tomkaz

Report: Utah Trout @ 6*F Provo/Park City

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Just returned from a week out in Park City, Utah. My kids skied with friends four days in mostly fresh powder. My wife fell ill and spent most of the time sleeping and otherwise feeling like crud. I don't ski well so I fished three days.

 

Several times over past decade we have visited Utah for skiing, but usually in March. This year an invite from friends had us out there last week. While I have fished in March in snow squalls and 25*F temps, I have also fished March in bright sun and 60* temps, I was pretty sure this trip would have the former a best case. And that was mostly right.

 

Saturday: Air temps when we hit the river were 6*F, overcast with mild wind. Midge hatch started alsmost as soon as we got there and I cast midge dries all day. Landed 20+ and lost at least half that many on too-strong hooksets on 6.5X tippet. Weather included snow, heavy snow and clear. Great day but huge credit to my guide whose fingers were stiff by time we walked out. Biggest challenge was iced guides and icy fly line. Every third or fourth cast required clearing. Thankfully, 7.5' Cabelas' glass rod was shorter and had a couple guides less. 14-18" brownies were great fun on 5/6 glass rod. 406 Lines Vintage DT line worked great. All fish caught on guide's favorite midge pattern tied to a size 26. Never saw another angler that day (wonder why).

 

Monday: 16yo son joined me for a warmer day with temps around 30*F. Slower day with no consistent hatch so we fished nymphs and dries as appropriate. We each landed about a dozen fish with more lost. Weather was snow, hail and rain with dry spells. As usual, the worse the weather, the more active the midges and trout.

 

Tuesday: Got a fresh 20" of powder in the hills so son decided to ski so I fished solo with guide. A slow pick of 15+ browns, mostly on dries though did take several on micro nymphs. Weather was mostly clear which made for sporadic hatches. At least a half dozen anglers on river near us that day.

 

We fished three different stretches of the Middle Provo River about 0.5-1.0 miles below Jordandale Dam. Drive was about 20-25 minutes from our hotel in Park City. Really convenient for a ski-cast combo trip.

 

My guide was Jeff Harwin of the Park City Fly Fishing Company and he was first-rate. Local, great demeanor and patient with my bluefish-worthy hooksets on spiderweb tippets. I have used guides from Troutbum2 and Vail Valley before but really liked Jeff and will use him on future trips. He put us in great holes/runs and was able to shield us from the wind most of the time. And his patterns worked when my meager casting skills worked.

 

Photos below showing midges and a collage of snaps from the river.

 

I posted a shorter version of the "video" linked below on Instagram.

 

http://ctsheepdog.tumblr.com/post/155849146047/a-video-summarizing-three-days-spent-on-the

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by tomkaz

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Nice report, great pictures. Congratulations! Kudos for fishing in those temps. It's 27 degrees here in North Jersey, reading this almost gets me going out to try myself. Almost.

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Nice report, great pictures. Congratulations! Kudos for fishing in those temps. It's 27 degrees here in North Jersey, reading this almost gets me going out to try myself. Almost.

I won't kid you, single digits is COLD, even with multiple layers, waders, gloves, hat, etc.

 

Best piece of gear I had were the Simms Exstream Mitten/Cut-finger Glove which you can see in the center photo above. Much better than all the other fleece gloves I own and the flap mitten top was hugely helpful when not handling the rods/line. If there was a way to improve it, I would split the mitt in half so that you could keep the ring finger and pinky covered while having the index and middle fingers uncovered. That said, even when wet, the mitt/glove worked.

 

FWIW, I also had a pair of Kast full immersion gloves with me. Fully waterproof and lightly lined, but even with a light fleece liner glove, they were not warm. Also, the trade-off in less finger sensitivity of a full glove was not worth it. Line handling was not as good as good ole skin.

Edited by tomkaz

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I take it that's a tailwater?  In New England, we don't seem to have the winter surface activity they do out west.

yes, 0.5 - 1.0 mile down-river from the Jordandale Dam. Water temps in the high 30s. 

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nice report Tom - who was the guide ?

 

I'm thinking I would like to try a similar trip in 2018 - there or Breckrenridge CO with the Blue River.

 

how long did you fish for ?  3-4 hours or a whole day ?

 

Thanks

 

Mark.

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nice report Tom - who was the guide ?

 

I'm thinking I would like to try a similar trip in 2018 - there or Breckrenridge CO with the Blue River.

 

how long did you fish for ?  3-4 hours or a whole day ?

 

Thanks

 

Mark.

If you have not seen it, the guide is mentioned at the end of the video (LINK)

 

Jeff Harwin's site: https://www.parkcityflyfishing.com/

 

A half-day is the only thing that makes sense. Hit water after 10am, off the water by 3pm. Too cold earlier and no reason to be there later. If the midges are going to hatch, it is usually between 11 and 2pm. Jeff was quite flexible, though realistic as well. 

 

Also, in most cases but certainly with Jeff, there is not need to bring ANY gear with you, other than warm clothes. He can supply waders, boots, rod/reel and flies. I KNOW that is tough for most of us but unless you are going to fish on your own (i.e. w/o guide), there is no need to bring waders & boots. Rod and reel is a preference thing and I did bring both, though my son used Jeff's rod the day he came. Also, while we all love to bring dozens of flies with us, and I am as guilty as anyone, the locals know what works and what doesn't, and will supply flies as part of the deal. 

 

I have also used Troutbum2 and Vail Valley Anglers out there and you can't go wrong with any of them. 

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thanks for sharing your pics & report

 

got a few pic today from my fishing buddy who is out on the Provo until next week today = 6 Browns lost 2 Sow bugs & Midges he is having fun 

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Mark- the blue can be very finicky... when asked over the years how the blue was my response was "it blew". Unless you are getting on private water it is somewhat ugly urban and suburban fishing. Better places. I grew up in steamboat

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Tomkaz

 

I enjoyed reading your report on the Provo. The middle is my favorite section. I have only fished it once this winter and caught a few nice browns on a muddler minnow. I also enjoy fishing the weber. It is east of PC along I-80.

 

Joe

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Takes me back the years I spent as ski bum in Park City.   Once I got dialed into the winter bite on the middle I spent everyday I wasn't working on the mountain out fishing.  I think I got 90% of my fish on either on a griffiths gnat or an RS2.  

 

That section of the river has also really benefited from a restoration project that was started around 2000 to bring the river back to its original path after multiple diversions were dug for irrigation in the heber valley.

Edited by sagamoron

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