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Fly fishing in Utah rivers in spring can be hard. Warm temperatures the last ten days have brought much of the high elevation snow down the rivers, and rivers and streams have been running high and dirty the last week around most of Utah. In this blog, we will discuss how to catch fish when rivers are running high and dirty during the spring runoff in Utah and offer four tips for catching trout during spring runoff.

The first tip during spring runoff is to look for tailwaters below dams and reservoirs that are protected from the spring runoff and may not be running as high and dirty as many other rivers in Utah. We have a couple tailwaters in our area that have had moderate flows the last week and have been fishing pretty good. These are great places to fish when all of the other rivers in the area are flowing high and dirty and are making fishing conditions challenging.

Second, look for backwater areas, beaver dams, log jams, and big rocks in the river. When flows are high and powerful fish will seek shelter, so they don’t use too much energy or get washed downstream. Trout will hide in side channels or little backwater ponds just on the side of the river. They will also seek shelter in beaver ponds or behind log jams where the current may be significantly lessend. In sections of the river where there is no ponds or log jams trout will hide behind large rocks in the river or behind a bush or log in hanging into the river. Watch for these areas and focus on fishing them during high water events.

Third, fish large, more visible flies during high water in the spring. When water is high on rivers in the spring fish still need to eat, but they need to get out of the heavy flow to conserve energy and visibility is lower. Fly fishermen must adapt to these conditions in order to catch fish during high water. They must focus on the areas where trout are holding and use larger, highly visible flies. Some of our favorite flies during the spring runoff are: San Juan Worms, Mylar Prince, Woolly Bugger, Pat’s Rubber Leg, and Copper John.

Fourth, fish ponds and lakes when rivers are fishing tough during spring runoff or high water events. At Falcon’s Ledge we have eight private lakes and ponds on our property and seven more lakes down the road that are great to fish when the river conditions are tough. Some fishermen don’t love fishing ponds and lakes, but they are a great option when the rivers are high and dirty and give fly fishermen a great option to catch some nice trout when the rivers are not a great option. 


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