Small Flies for Big Trout

By November 26, 2013 No Comments


When I think back to my childhood fishing trips, I often recall good times fishing a local canal that was diverted from the Provo River near my home.  I remember riding my bike with my pole in hand, making sure I reached the best holes before my buddy did.  We never packed bait with us because the fields along the canal were loaded with a brown trout favorite…grasshoppers.   We would float the live grasshopper downstream, in slow moving water and through round coverts under dirt roads, and anticipate the large splash as the brown trout attacked the grasshopper.  The fish we caught were of varying sizes, and my buddy still holds the big fish record with a fat 17 incher!  While catching grasshoppers for bait, one thing was very clear….the bigger the grasshopper, the bigger the fish.  It made sense… big fish eat big bait and small fish eat small bait…Right?

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Since those early fishing days, my passion for fishing increased with many fun fishing trips with my Dad and brothers. We fished every nearby lake, pond, and river with a variety of techniques.  The canal I fished as a kid is now covered with concrete from paved roads and apartment housing.  I continue to fish the main Provo River and my fishing method of choice is now fly fishing.  I remember once, a fly fisherman gave me a fly that was working for him on the Provo.  It was something that he had created… it was a type of Mayfly nymph, but what puzzled me was that it was tied on a size 18 hook!  Certainly this size of fly would catch a small fish, I thought.  I thanked the angler, tied on his fly, and shortly after, landed a 19 inch Rainbow!  I couldn’t believe it.  Before releasing it, I remember staring at the fly in that big fish’s mouth, wondering what had just happened.   Now I am a fly fishing guide and have the privilege of taking people fly fishing on the beautiful waters of Utah.  I am constantly fascinated when big fish eat small flies.  This was once again exemplified recently while guiding my friend Ed, from the Pacific Northwest.  We fished a small stream in Eastern Utah and chose a size 18 zebra midge nymph.  We caught some smaller fish, including one that barely covered my hand.  But 20 minutes later, that tiny zebra midge produced a 21 inch brown trout!  We were amazed that a fish that big would eat flies that small.  We even started wondering how many of these small flies it would take to make a meal…

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Through experience, I have learned a lot about fly fishing for trout in Utah and I realize that there is always something new to learn. My assumptions and theories about trout behavior are often mistaken and I am frequently reminded of the divine complexity of nature and its creatures.  I guess that is what makes fly fishing so much fun …you never have it all figured out and you never know what you are going to get!   Written by: Jeffrey Lindstrom-Guide-Falcon’s Ledge Photos by: Jeffrey Lindstrom    ]]>

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