5 Tips for Fishing Spring Runoff

 Photos by Doc Thompson It is that time of year when spring runoff is starting in the West. A lot of folks consider this to be a slow to non-fishing time of year. However, early and late stages of runoff offer conditions that are fishable–despite the cloudy-gray to gunmetal-steel to murky water. Fishing runoff conditions requires some changes from you normal approach.1. Use a wading staff.  This isn’t the time to prove you are the superhero of wading. Flows are stronger, and the water is usually deeper and turbid. The wading staff can also be used to help you test depth before you take one step too far off into the deeps.2. Be mentally ready to fish higher-, murkier-, and colder-than-normal water conditions.  It’s a fact of life that you might not see as much fish action as during the meat of the season.  However, murky water conditions means the big boy and girl trout are...

Tip: Four Hot Tips on Tippets

Here is some great advice from our friend Tom Rosenbauer on how to use tippets properly.One of the easiest ways to improve your presentation in your trout fishing is to pay more attention to your tippet.  It’s as important as the fly pattern you choose, and the size and length and taper of the terminal end of your leader can even determine how your casts look and feel.  By looking at downloads of my weekly podcasts I know that most anglers are still confused and sometimes wigged out by leaders, because every time I do a podcast on leaders or tippets,  the downloads go through the roof.  But it’s not rod designing (instead of rocket science I figured I’d use an analogy that is technical and tricky and can’t be done by most mortals).  Paying attention to your tippet requires just a few easy steps.What does the transition to...

Fish Facts: Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

Wild brook trout are prized by anglers, but their habitat is disappearing. This is a great article by Phil Monahan over at Orvisnews.com that we wanted to share. We love to fish for brook trout on the streams around Falcon's Ledge. Enjoy!Although the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is not, in a fact, a trout at all, it is the most “troutlike” of the charrs. A sought-after game fish because it often lives in pristine waters and readily attacks flies of all kinds, it was the first “destination” fish in the Americas. Trains would transport anglers from New York and Boston to the mountains of Vermont and Maine just for the opportunity to lay into a big “squaretail.” While some cynics believe the brookie to be the dumbest of trout because it is supposedly easiest to fool, catching a trophy usually requires skill and patience. But anglers are known to marvel over...

Persistance

Recently some of the guides set out to take advantage of some dry fly action on a nearby river. We heard that the blue wing olives were hatching and the fish were feeding like crazy. We met on the river and decided to find a good stretch of river. We decided to fish nymphs until the hatch started.The first fish came on a sow bug but we knew nymphing wouldn't last long because the bugs started showing up in good numbers. The wind picked up and we were worried it wold blow the bugs off the water and we wouldn't get any action with dry flies. Once we found consistent fish rising we switched over to dry flies.We tied on different bwo patterns so we could see which fly worked best. It turns out that all of the flies we threw worked but we had to get the best drift...

Pro Tip: How to Set-Up Rigs for Nymphs, Streamers, and Dry-Droppers

 If your nymph isn’t at the right depth, the fish won’t eat it. Photo by Sandy HaysThe most common questions I get in the shop are about how to set up a rig properly. I will go through how I like to set up my rigs, whether I’m nymphing, throwing streamers, or running a dry-dropper tandem. Nymph Rig Nymphing is all about depth. If you are nymphing, it’s usually because trout are not looking up at the surface or there aren’t any bugs out for the trout to rise to. This alone should tell you where the trout are: deep. In order to catch these fish, you have to present the fly where they are. I see a lot of people throwing nymph rigs that are just two or three feet long from the indicator to the second fly. Fish are usually not looking for a size 10 stonefly just below the surface....

Pro Tip: How to Weight Nymph Rigs

Using the right amount of weight can be the key to catching more trout on nymphs. Photo by Lisa Savard One of the most common questions that we hear about nymph fishing is, “How much weight should I use?” This is an age-old question that, unfortunately, has no easy answer. One of the frustrating things about fishing subsurface is that most of the time you can’t see what the heck is going on down there, so you have to guess how your flies are behaving. However, there are ways to make educated guesses that will help you keep your flies in the strike zone longer—and, therefore, catch more fish.In most angling situations, you want your flies to be close to the bottom, where the vast majority of natural nymphs hang out or get caught in the drift. (There are other angling situations—during a hatch, for example—when you want your nymphs higher in the...

Spring Hatch

Spring is a great time of year. The weather warms and the days of winter jackets are over. We typically look for cooler and overcast weather to trigger hatches of BWO's here on Utah's Provo river. Recently the weather has cooperated and the fishing has been excellent. As we looked at the forecast we are looking for a forty to fifty degree day with clouds. It doesn't always work out but our recent trip was incredible.The hatch usually starts early in the afternoon and lasts for a couple of hours. We tend to nymph a bit before we tie on our dry flies. Once we start seeing heads consistently then we make the switch. Fishing just before the hatch we like to use small dark baetis patterns like the Pheasant tail or Higa's sos. These patterns imitate the bwo's in their nymphal stage.On the Provo river the main staple for...

Tip: How to Untangle Knots in Your Leader

Fly fishermen are masters of euphemism when it comes to tangled leaders. “Oh, look. I’ve got a wind knot,” an angler will say on the even the most flat-calm day.  Sorry, my friend, but the wind had nothing to do with that knot, which was surely caused by a flaw in your casting motion. Such knots are usually caused by tailing loops (an easy-to-fix problem) or an overly violent acceleration or stop at one end of the casting motion. If you’re fishing a tandem rig, these flaws are compounded by the two flies’ tendency to spin around each other if given half a chance. But once you’ve made a mess of your leader, what do you do?When it comes to tangled leaders, I’ve always divided anglers into two camps: cutters and untanglers. Cutters believe that anything but the simplest tangle isn’t worth bothering with, so instead they simply cut above...

Spring Fishing

The weather lately has been amazing. After all of the snow the Utah mountains received it was uncertain when spring would arrive. The weather over the weekend reached sixty degrees. That only meant one thing. Fishing.Fellow guide, Jake Ricks met up with me and we were able to fish the Provo river. The river was flowing a little higher than normal but it was clear and we could see fish. Usually in the spring we see bwo's hatching in the afternoon. We did see a few but not many fish were looking at them. We decided to nymph until we saw more of an active hatch.[caption id="attachment_52377" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Provo River Brown Trout[/caption]It didn't take Jake long before he hooked his first fish. The fish were stacked up in the shallows feeding on baetis nymphs and  midges. We also used our staple provo river pattern, the sow bug. Sow bugs...