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Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News
A fly fisherman tries his luck in the Provo River below the Jordanelle Reservoir. In about a month, most streams in Utah will be running too high for fly-fishing.

There are a few times during the year when fishing moving waters is better than other times. It may surprise some, but now happens to be one of those good times.

Rivers and streams are running low, water temperatures are starting to warm and fish are hungry after a winter on a limited food supply.

In another month, melting snow will make moving-water fishing difficult. And it may be sometime in June before popular rivers quiet down enough to fish comfortably.

Now, however, even the most novice of stream anglers stands a good chance at catching fish using the most basic of fishing methods.

As noted, popular rivers, such as the Logan, Provo, Weber and Virgin, will be running high and fast in another month.

Until then, stream fishing will be good; some even say it will be as good as it can get.

Rainbow and cutthroat trout will start spawning soon, which means they will be moving to spawning beds, which oftentimes are tributaries to larger water. Browns, notorious egg raiders, will not far off.

Which means fly fishermen should consider using egg patterns or glow bugs weighted to get them down and bouncing along the bottom, as other dislodged eggs do.

It's the same with other fly patterns, such as those representing worms, stone flies, sculpins and any of the bugs coming out in spring hatches. The important thing to remember is to keep the flies deep and running along the bottom using a little weight on the line. The amount of weight should be enough to keep the fly down and along the bottom.

The middle and lower Provo River will be hardest hit by runoff this year. The Deer Creek Dam is under repair, and the reservoir will not hold much water, so once Jordanelle is full, water will be released straight through the middle and lower Provo, which means the river will be running higher than it normally would during spring runoff.

When the waters do start flowing higher, the recommended method is to move from the faster-moving water to the still waters such as back eddies and deep pools, and around fallen trees and boulders along the sides of the river or stream.

The faster-moving water dislodges worms, sculpins and bugs that can flow down, which are a good source of protein and can get caught along the shore in slower-moving waters, a popular hangout for fish.

The technique is to cast or even stand along the edge, quietly and drop something like a San Juan worm, Woolly Bugger or stonefly pattern.

Byron Gunderson of Fish Tech Outfitters said throwing sculpin patterns in the spring is very popular with avid fly fishermen.

"The big browns are always out looking for sculpins that have been dislodged. Putting on some type of sculpin pattern and fishing along the edges is very popular," he said.

"As the waters start to come up, the fish look for areas where they are protected ... and where food is plentiful."

The sculpin is a small, spiny large-headed fish.

Most of the Woolly Bugger patterns in browns and olives are good sculpin imitations. One of the better patterns is the Rug Sculpin, which looks more like a fuzzy rag than a meal, said Gunderson.

Another favorite of fish at this time of year is the stone fly, a big, juicy aquatic fly that rises out of the water in the spring, sheds its shuck and becomes a flying insect. They, too, are a good source of protein for fish and, being slow and available, are an easy meal.

When the rivers and streams begin moving too fast, then it's about time for the spring ice-off on lakes and reservoirs.

Ice-off leads to some of the best fishing of the year on still waters. Here, again, after winter the larger fish are moving in close to shore and are hungry.

Scofield is typically one of the first of the prime waters to lose its ice covering. Predictions are that open waters will start to appear at Strawberry around the first of May.

Predictions are, too, that this will be a very good year for fishing still waters because of the anticipated high runoff. Areas that have been dry are expected to be flooded, which means all of the nutrients that were on dry land will be released into the water, which means there will be an abundance of food for growing fish.


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