I thought I was on a Skiing Holiday?
- Category: Stories
- Last Updated: Saturday, 05 November 2011 17:13
- Written by Lawrence Heaton-Wright
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This year my annual skiing holiday took me to Park City, Utah.
As with last year (Whistler, Canada) I decided to take a day off from skiing and have a days’ fly fishing.
This year is that I took my own rod (a 9 foot 5 weight) with me (but no waders … too much ski gear to take). I had a day out on the Provo River about 45 minutes outside of Park City with a guide (Joe Mitchell http://www.stonybrookflyfishing.com/ whom I would thoroughly recommend). We settled into a spot a mile or so below the Deer Valley reservoir. We found a lovely little pool between 2 riffle sections about 200 yards long.
We were using wading tactics rather than drift boating as the Provo is about as wide as the Avon. It’s a freestone river but very clear for all that. It was pretty difficult to spot the trout in the water but that’s where a guide comes in very handy! The section of the Provo we fished contains mainly Brown and Rainbow trout. Higher up the Provo (above the Jordanelle reservoir) are the native Cutthroat trout. These have been pushed out by the Browns and Rainbows which were introduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
We started using nymph fishing tactics as there were no trout rising. Joe showed me how to rig up nymphs in the US style. An indicator float about 5 foot up the leader, some non-toxic split shot about 12 inches from the 2 unweighted nymphs (BWO and midge larvae both about size 20). The second nymph was tied onto the eye of the first nymph. These were cast these upstream, followed by an upstream mend and watch the indicator like a hawk. Strike when you see any deviation of the indicator. Higher up the pool nearer the riffle I used a similar technique but was able to use a tighter line instead of using a mend. Using these methods I caught 3 rainbows and 5 browns.
After a hearty lunch, the fish started rising to some hatching blue-winged olives. Just below the top riffle there was a big brownie going particularly crazy for this hatch. So we rigged up a dry fly rod using a NZ type rig. Joe rigged up a BWO olive with a trailing shuck with an olive emerger pattern about 12 inches from the first fly. These were size 18 or 20. Casting upstream onto the seams of the fast current I landed a rainbow of nearly 3 pounds and 3 brownies to about 2 pounds. The fish stopped rising and so we moved upstream until we could find some more fish before we had to return to Park City.
Joe spotted some fish rising about 300 yards above where we fishing so we moved up there. These fish were proving trickier to catch but with my last cast I got the distance and drift perfect and landed a lovely brown trout.
During the day we saw 2 red-tailed hawks, a bald eagle and some elk on a hill side, all of this next to a highway (which we couldn’t hear all day). What a fantastic day off from skiing. I was lucky with the weather as the big snowfall was the previous week, so I’d had a couple of powder days skiing and a great day on the river. If you are thinking of skiing/boarding in the US or Canada then I would definitely take a fishing rod with you. The mountain rivers are usually very clean and full of trout (Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroat, etc.) and the scenery is jaw-dropping … and makes a bit of a change from Swallowfield Park!