Fly Fishing Tips
Just over a week ago, I had the chance to get out and fish on the middle provo river. Lucky for me, this river is in my hometown(Heber City, Not Logan )and I have had the chance to fish it regularly this winter. There is one stretch of river that I have fished a couple times this winter, without having as much success as I thought I should have been having. If you are anything like me when it comes to fishing, it started to really tick me off! So I decided to go hit the stretch of river that has been haunting me, and try to figure out what I was doing wrong. My favorite technique to chase trout is euro nymphing, which is what method I was using. I had even gone as far as reviewing George Daniels dynamic nymphing book to review some technique.
Once I hit the water, I went to work. I started out by paying attention to my surrounding. I checked water temperatures and took a long look at the first little stretch of water that I was going to fish. This is also a stretch of river that is easily accessible and highly pressured by anglers. As I took things a little slower, focusing on my technique, I was able to start landing fish before I had even left the parking lot area, in a river that is highly pressured. I was taking fish out of the river in areas that I had been walking right past it to get upstream. I ended up having a stellar day which included a pretty good sized rainbow (I love the bows!) of which I don’t catch many of in the provo. I learned on this particular outing that I need to slow it down and focus on what I’m doing, and focus of the river conditions. It didn’t even matter what fly I was using, I focused on what I was trying to do, that is, catching fish. I took a small section of a stream and dissected it, catching fish and then I moved onto the next small section of stream. So the next time you are out, take your time and fish, without worrying about where the fish were the last time you were on the water, because chances are, they are not! TIGHT LINES!
(My timing is off a little since striper boils occur in the summer and fall months, but by reading this you can be prepared for next year)
Here in Utah we have a gem of a striper fishery in Lake Powell. It is a huge lake that is part of the Colorado River system. The stripers thrive there dependent on the health of the threadfin shad. Harvest is highly encouraged and stripers are delicious!
The funnest way to fish for stripers on the fly is during a boil (see video above). When stripers are jumping and flailing all around you it can get so exciting that technique goes out the window. The first few boils of every trip get me so excited I can’t hardly make a decent cast.
A bubble head popper is the most exciting fly as the fish will chase, swipe, and inhale it all right at the surface. Any color of Clouser minnow is super effective as well. Below are my favorite flies for fishing striper boils.
Bubble Head Popper
Colors on these flies can vary and still do very well. Stripers in a boil are so voracious that fly selection and color aren’t as important as presentation. The most effective method of presentation is to cast into , or slightly on the edge, of the boil and strip as fast as you can. If you slow down your retrieve the fish will follow your fly back to you, but they get too good of a look and realize somethings not right which results in a refusal. Shad in a boils are zipping as fast as they can and so must your fly.
Lake Powell is a great place for a family vacation. Striper fishing from a boat is very family friendly, and if your kids are anything like mine its a memory they won’t soon forget.
Tomorrow night there is snow in the forecast. This is the first time I’ve seen the small snowflake symbol apear in the forecast this fall. There is no escaping what comes next. Cold, colder, and ever colder than that. To look on a much brighter side of things we must remember that cold means winter fly fishing.
I have a handful of favorite flies that are worth mentioning in a post about winter fly fishing.
Dry Flies: I’ll be honest, I have little use for dries during the colder months. There are midges and an occasional tiny black winter stonefly that hatch this time of year, and for that reason I reserve a small spot in my box for the Hi-Vis Grifith’s Gnat. This fly tied in small sizes (18-22) can double as just about any adult insect you may find in the winter. On days that reach even slightly into the 30’s this fly may come in very handy.
Tailwater Nymphs: Lets be honest Zebra Midges work on tailwaters all year long. Winter time is no exception. If there do happen to be noses dimpling the water’s surface I prefer to fish a Hi-Vis Griffith’s with a Zebra Midge trailing 12-18 inches behind. This is a deadly combination and has produced some of my best results .
Everything Else: There has been one fly that has consistently out fished all my other flies during the colder months. The Black Jack which is a prince nymph variation (pictured below) arouses even the most lethargic trout on most rivers. It is one of my finer creations and you should start seeing in fly shops soon. This is one of my patterns that is being commercially tied and distributed by Rainy’s.
Another great all-purpose winter nymph is the Frenchie. Pink will produce fish regularly, but lavender fishes very well when there’s snow on the ground. This and the Black Jack are the two flies I most commonly find on my line during the winter.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to fish medium to large flies. Large stonefly nymphs are often my key to success in the winter. The Rowley Stone is a great year round fly pattern, and I will confidently fish it and larger flies during the winter. A size 12 Surveyor for deeper water is also a go-to fly pattern this time of year.
What it all comes down to is just getting out. I’m always being asked how I can stand to fish a freezing river with two feet of snow all around me. My response is if you can stand to sled, ski, or even build a snowman outside you can fish in the cold. Layer up, wear a decent pair of gloves and try not to fall in. Just don’t everyone get at the same time, I really like having the rivers all to myself this time of year.