Ever since I started flyfishing, I always wanted to hit a western river and experience what some describe as “unbelievable”. I remember Steve-o’s stories of Montana, and KG’s stories of Alaska. I had never wet a line west of the Mississippi, and would have sacrificed a leg to do such a trip. With a family and a tight budget, I have always had to experience the stories and not the fishing. Well then, to even my surprise, comes my company. They decide to invite 2 individuals from 12 stores to the Provo River (near Park City, Utah), and train them on the teaching of beginner flyfishing coarses with the assistance of the Federation Of Fly Fishers. The training was very intense, but that is not what this is about. This is all about the Provo River experience.
This is a beautiful river that definitely lives up to the western standard. The upper stretch (of the Middle Provo), closest to the reservoir release, is very cold and nymphing proved to be the ticket. They were eating my stones and then there were times they liked small (size 20-22) pheasant tails. Midges were everywhere, but this guy couldn’t make them work. I only got roughly 8-10hours on the water, total, but landed a good number of fish. Most importantly, I got the experience.
After my first fishing experience on the river I thought of one place near and dear to me….The Savage River in western Maryland. It was like the Savage had been picked up and dropped in Utah. Yeah there were huge mountains, sage grass, and snow capped peaks…but these rivers are almost identical the way they fish. There was a moment on the last day, we were able to fish, where I experienced a Provo River hatch. They were size 20ish BWO’s and let me tell you what brother, it was raining bugs. Best part is that my cohort and I caught the tail end of this hatch, due to stormy conditions. We witnessed no fewer than 25-50 fish rising consistantly, and the fellows we ran into said that 100s of fish were rising an hour prior. The best part is that all of these fish rising, were in a 40yd stretch. Makes me wonder about unknown stretches, and how many were rising all together. I have never seen this many fish rising, except for a time on the Savage. Now I only landed 5 fish in a 1 hour period, but I seriously missed another 15-20. I think the excitement had this guy wrecked. It was every flyfishers dream..come around a bend and see that many fish rising non-stop. UNREAL.
The largest fish I landed were the two I landed in a swift riff, they were holding behind a boulder and proved too weak to resist a black larry. The first was roughly 16-17″ and the very next cast I caught a 17-18″. He is the big headed fish, a few pics up. I had three others on that were over 20″, but poor hook sets and hard fighting brownies, proved to be too much and I lost the battle on all three.
I can’t leave this blog without mention of my cohort Scotty “steamboat” Panas. Usually a bassmaster, he traded in a Jig N’ Pig for a fly. I have to say, he learns fast. He learned to cast by the end of the week, and caught his first fish on a fly. I’m not sure if he saw the success, but anytime someone gets the flystick in hand, it is definitely a positive. Whether he admits it or not, he definitely is a bugchucker at heart.
If you ever get the chance, if you haven’t already, you should check out the Provo River. Sweet water, with unbelievable fishing opportunities.
Stayed connected with BCI, our up-coming blogs should have some excellent stories of chuckin’ and even possibly some duckin’. Western Maryland…Here we come. We are on a mission, to keep on fishin’.
One last note on the Provo….We ran into the bug hatch about 1.5 miles downstream from the release on the middle Provo. There the water warmed enough to initiate a hatch of BWO’s. Tight Lines!