KSL Outdoors: Fly fishing on Provo River

Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. You know spring is finally here so tonight we thought we’d devote a show on how to catch fish on some of Utah’s favorite waters. First off, we are kicking it off right here on the middle Provo. Justin Harding is joining us and it’s going to be really fun today.

(Justin Harding, UtahProFlyfishing.com) The buffalo midges have been hatching pretty good. I see some rising up there right now, so let’s get one of those on. (adam) dry fly on? (justin) yeah dry flies. (adam) the best way to catch them. (justin) dude we love the dry fly fishing here on the Provo.

(adam) People think of midge of a winter fly, but it actually goes into March, April and even all year. (justin) the whole year, yeah. But right now this “mother Shucker” that we are putting on is by far one of the best flies right now because it imitates that so well. It looks like the shuck is just just coming off of that midge so.

(Adam) Alright, let go hit it then. (justin) Let’s go do it. (adam) It’s a good thing we are here early. (justin) I know.

(Adam) boy a lot of midges on the water. There’s a fish! (hook set) (Adam) I caught the smallest guy in the river. (justin laughs) (justin) hey it’s the first fish though, that’s always good.

I’ll admit when Justin tied this fly on, the Mother Shucker. I wasn’t impressed. I mean it has foam attached to it. It’s caught one fish, big deal…boy was I wrong!

Dry fly action on the Provo really picks up, right now between eleven and three. If you want a good riffle to fish, get there early to stake out a spot and you’d better have a few ‘mother shuckers’ on hand.

It is hit after hit. This fly turned out to be “The Mother” of all buffalo midge patterns. In just two hours we were approaching fifty fish. Even outdoors producer Jared Hargrave, got in on the action.

(Justin) the guy that invented the mother shucker. (adam) what about him? (justin) he’s right there. (adam) where? (justin) that’s phil. (adam) hey Phil we are using your flies.

(Phil Bair, Designed the ‘mother Shucker’) this fly I came up with in the spring like this when that bug is coming off that still has it’s shuck attached to it.

(phil) Everybody is in their fly box trying different flies constantly. People catching a few fish, but not really catching fish. I went home one night and tried to cut off a piece of the welcome mat on the front steps and tie it on. (adam) did you really? (phil) I really did and I couldn’t get it to work so I went into my fly tying vice and and cut off a piece of foam and tied up this really kind of stupid looking fly with a piece of foam hanging off of it.

(Adam) and how did you come up with the name? (phil) I call it the shucker. The mother came up, probably Justin said it first, but once it was said it couldn’t be released because it fit right and you can’t forget about it.

(Justin) I think the DWR deserves some credit getting this river during that Provo restoration. They’ve done a good job here. (nets fish) nice.>

(justin laughs while trying to grab fish) (adam) another feisty fish. (justin) another one, love it. (adam) justin with another fish on the fly. Nothing sexier than catching brown trout on top.

Justin I know you guide here a lot but that was the best top water action I’ve had on the Provo in a long time. (justin) it was really good. Yeah we get a lot of good dry fly fishing action here. If you move around on the river and know where the bugs are hatching you can find it all year long. (adam) we haven’t even moved at all. (justin) no, no. (adam) another technique is nymphing and you can do that in the winter too. (justin) all year round. We are going to put on a traditional setup today.

Justin suggests two black zebra midges for a traditional numph rig in a sizes 18 or 20 spaced about 18 inches apart. Matching what the fish are eating is important, but he says, so is having the right amount of weight.

(justin) and now we are going to put on a small weight right here. (adam) and you do it above the knot, so it’s not slipping. (justin) yup, that’s why i have that there. (adam) and how big? (justin) we are going to use a size B.>

(Justin) and we are going to go out into that fast water out there.>

(Justin) nymphing it’s really important that when you cast you get a really good drift throughout the drift that it’s drag free. So you want cast up, and you have to do a lot of little mends. So right now we have a downward mend, but when it gets to the middle of us we are going to switch it and we are going to do an upward mend. That allows that indicator to come down real nice without a drag. That way when you get a hit you are able to tell it’s a hit and you know it’s not just the bottom dragging.

So right there maybe that was a fish, so you always want to set. When you set, you always want to set down stream. Fish are always looking upriver, waiting for food to come down. As the food comes down, they take and you want to set into their mouth. If you actually pull up and out of their mouth, you won’t catch as many fish.

(justin) people fly from all around to come do this and locals drive by and they have no idea what a good fishery we have.

(Justin) and with a guide, it really helps, we are on the river everyday and we know where the good fishing is at.

(justin) fish on brother. (adam) another! (justin) yeah. (adam) Love that. (Justin) it’s a good sized one, he’s fighting real hard.

(Justin) We do tours everyday and take them out and get them into fish. We have a no fish, no pay policy so we know they are going to get them something or the trip is on us. We just want to have them experience the beautiful rivers and have a good time out with us.

(Justin) even if they don’t have any equipment at all, we can totally outfit them. We take care of waders, boots, fly rods, we tie all the flies so we have custom flies. Probably 90% of our fisherman have never touched a fly rod. So yeah don’t be intimidated at all, you’ll have a great experience with us, no matter your skill level.

Justin says these techniques should remain the same here for the next three weeks. Then the blue wing olive hatch will start and your fly selection should change.

(Tag) boy the fishing has been phenomenal. The mother shucker, the brown was the go to fly today that’s for sure. Numphing, another technique as well. If you want to go with Justin or some of the other guides, go to UtahProFlyfishing.com.

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