I go dry fly fishing up Big Cottonwood Canyon and have never gone nymph fishing before. I really have not done much nymph (wet fly) fishing. Do you use a strike indicator when you go? Also, does dry fly or wet fly fishing work better in Big Cottonwood Canyon? Thanks!
We generally start the day with a dry/dropper rig, the nymph we place between 15-20" below the dry fly. If most of our hits come from the nymph, we will continue to fish the dry/dropper, the dry acts well enough for an indicator. If the majority of hits are coming from the surface we will generally cut off the nymph. Getting rid of the nymph gives the dry fly a better, more natural drift.
Regarding what works better, depends on the day. Some days we will get 90% of our strikes on the nymph, others it will be the exact opposite. During the summer we generally have better luck on the surface.
Thanks so much Jason for your reply! I appreciate that hint about the dry dropper rig. Maybe I'll try it sometime. I almost always use a royal wulf fly and have found some success recently with an Adams dry fly. strikes total. One more question for you -- It's weird, a few weeks ago I had some type of hit on almost every hole but yesterday I went and just had a few hits the entire time. Both times were in the late afternoon/early evening and the weather seemed about the same. Do you have any idea of why this happens? Have you had great days up there and bad days up there within a few weeks of each other or has it been consistent for you each time you go? Thanks again for your insight....
For some reason the blog will only allow us to go three comments deep, so I figured I would answer your latest question here.
Things can change a lot in a week, and even more so in weeks, especially when we decide to fish smaller rivers, such as Big Cottonwood. There are a few things that affect this:
1) Flow: The rate of water moving down stream changes, depending on whether we have rain or not, snowpack, etc. In the course of a four week time period, I hit Big Cottonwood during rising water levels, it being completely blown out, decreasing water levels, and then it beginning to return to normal depth and visibility. Each week during this time period fished completely different and the fish chose different places to be in the current because of the flow.
2) Hatches and available food stuffs. On small rivers hatches are more sporadic than on larger rivers, however they do happen. If you get in the middle of one, tie on something close to what is flying through the air. I've found that the fish are less discerning on small rivers than on big ones though, for example, if a pale morning dun hatch is occurring and you throw a blue wing olive out, they will probably take it since the shape is what they're keying into rather than coloration.
Time of Day: Trout become more lethargic as water temperatures raise. It's possible that late afternoon/evening the water temperature has them staying low in the water column and choosing nymphs over bugs on the surface. This especially could be the case since temperatures are generally rising through the summer and could explain why fishing was better weeks ago compared to recently.
Hope some of this helps: For the surface, my go-to fly is a stimulator in sizes 14-18. I really like the stimulator since it mimics caddis and stoneflies as well as hoppers. For nymphs, I like hot-wired prince, gunslinger, and hot-bellied scuds.
Thanks Jason. Those are really good tips for me. I really appreciate you sharing some of your knowledge with me on fishing.
I've wondered if there is any good fishing between the Spruces Campground and the Solitude ski resort. Have you ever fished up that high?
Growing up along the Provo River in Utah, I've seen countless numbers of Fly Fishermen search for the Tug. It's in the small streams that the dream is realized.
American Fork Canyon
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Catch And Release
Curtis Creek Manifesto
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Onemile Creek/Sawmill Canyon
Small Water Secrets
The Eleven Commandments
Upper Provo River
Utah Cutthroat Slam