While the mountains are the local winter attraction, the trout-filled valleys shine in the summer.

State wildlife officials and guides tell The Park Record the fly fishing has been good this summer, albeit a bit slower lately thanks to the August heat and frequent thunderstorms.

Water levels

The Provo River is the main attraction for local anglers, particularly in the Heber Valley section between the dams at Jordanelle Reservoir and Deer Creek Reservoir.

Those dams mean the Provo River "isn't really weather dependent," according to Brandon Olsen, conservation officer in the Heber area for Division of Wildlife Services. "It's just how much water they decide to let out of the dams at certain times of year."

"Right now on the lower Provo there's a lot of tubers and stuff -- people doing a lot of things other than fishing -- so that kind of slows fishing down, it makes fishing tougher when you have tubers going over top of you all day long," Olsen said.

But Travis Vernon, a guide at Jans, noted "the fish down there are fantastic and the tubers can float right through the pool you're fishing and three minutes later will be right back on the feed."

Peter Robinson, who has been at Trout Bum 2 for eight years, explained the importance of water levels for fishing.

"They're running a little more water through the reservoirs than I would like to see, making it a little bit harder on the angler -- not so much that you can't catch fish over there, but it has a tendency to kind of shut down some of the dry fly fishing for a little bit," he said.


"People that aren't used to fishing in higher water have a little bit of a problem trying to adjust to both the depth and the weight, to make sure they have enough weight to compensate for the amount of current that's getting pushed through there.

"When the water gets low and things start getting warmer, that means that there's not as much bug activity and those fish have a tendency to get lethargic as well, because it takes a lot more energy for them to move around when it's warm," Robinson said.

"And that's where it's beneficial to go higher up into the mountains to find those cold streams that are spring fed or maybe you can find spots that still have a little bit of glacial activity, like over by Timpanogos and stuff," Vernon said.

"The High Uintas have been fishing fantastic, all the small streams up there have been really, really good. That's the best time to fish them, right now," he added.

When to fish?

"Lately, with the heat, it's been slowing down a little bit," Olsen said. "Right now, the best fishing is gonna be first thing in the morning and then right at dusk. And then as the fall progresses the fishing will pick back up."

Vernon said the recent storms help the early-morning fishing.

"Getting these little rainstorms in the evenings helps cool the water off, so you can get really good fishing in the morning, before the water temperature warms up, and then once that sun dips behind the mountains you get that two hours of twilight, that's really good fishing then, too."

Robinson has a different take.

"You know, most of us really kind of wait for bugs," he said. "There are people who will go over there at the crack of dawn and start fishing at first light up, and they can have some really good days doing that, no question about it. Most of the people are going to go on a 10-to-2 or 9-to-3 time frame, when we know that there's more bugs moving around. And then the other thing that happens is there seems to be -- and again, it depends who you talk to and where they're fishing -- but a little lull in the afternoon from about 3 'til maybe 5, 6-ish, and then you get a whole other set of circumstances in the evening, which is when you see some of those really crazy caddis hatches all the way 'til the point where you're walking back to your car and it's dark and you can't even see where you're going. It's crazy that way."

Going forward

"Right now you're seeing pretty good caddis hatch [on the Provo] -- that would be the prominent thing. There's been PMDs -- pale morning duns -- over there as well. At this time of year we start to see an opportunity to fish hoppers, so you know any kind of terrestrial stuff can be really good as well. And because those waters are running a little bit higher than normal, a lot of guys will fish stuff like sow bugs and San Juan worms and things like that might be what I could call more of an attractor pattern -- something that gets their attention."

"There's a small caddis hatch that's going on right now on the middle Weber, between Coalville and Wanship," Vernon said. "But that's just at dark. We've been throwing a lot more streamers lately, especially at dark, picking up bigger fish -- fishing the Weber and the Provo -- there's still some decent small hatches on the lower Provo."

"Terrestrials will be kind of the big thing now," he added. "The hoppers are getting to a good size so if people are going to go out and they just want a search-and-destroy pattern, grasshoppers are still gonna be throwing really well. Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, ant patterns -- those are going to be really good seeking patterns."

"Later in the fall is when the brown trout start spawning and fishing's usually pretty decent through that time," Olsen said.