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Salt Lake City, Utah

Winter Fly Fishing in Utah

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Winter Fly Fishing in Utah

An Dinh

Winter.  The Wasatch mountains hold great freestone streams that run clear and fast down its steep slopes in the Summer, while skiers and snowboarders carve their way down the slopes this time of year. 

Clear blue skies - Clean Air

Clear blue skies - Clean Air

That's not fog or mist... it's toxic INVERSION

That's not fog or mist... it's toxic INVERSION

It’s freezing cold in Utah right now and with it comes the dreaded inversion.  Frigid air begins to drop down from the stratosphere until it hits the warmer air from the city’s combusters.  You know, like SUVs, power plants, and fisherman telling tall tales.  Normally the hot air would rise up and out of the valley, but in the winter an inverted layer cake forms when that slab of ice cold air compresses and traps the hot air and pollution.  Basically, when I am standing downtown, I’m being suffocated under a slab of ice and a bunch of cruddy stuff that scientists have dubbed PM 2.5.  Did you catch that?  P - M - 2.5.  It sounds like they are working on the problem and this is the new improved version 2.5 particulate matter, which has to be better right?  The American Lung Association gave us an F grade for air quality in 2013.  Oh well. 

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The irony is that the very mountains that make Salt Lake City so breathtaking, are the very thing that bring the inversion.    These gorgeous peaks catch the powdery fluffy stuff that is so prized by people who like to strap sticks to their feet.  Far more importantly, at least to a fisherman, is the snowpack come spring melts into the aquifers and streams that restore the headwaters of pristine trout water all over the state.  

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I don’t have to hold my breath until Spring to fish.  Reservoirs and natural springs create tailwaters and spring creeks that keep the trout downright balmy  at 30-40 degrees even as my guides and fingers have frozen and my flies have become popsicles from the subzero wind chill.  These waters are also at higher elevations, so I get to enjoy fresh air, blue bird skies and wild trout.

Novice Tip

Fish Tenkara in the Winter.

There are no guides to freeze up, no moving parts to get jammed with snow or ice.

Check out this video:


Rod - Oni rod 13 ft long, slow action - Rod Flex Index 3.9 (higher numbers are stiffer like 6 and above is a typical fast action Western Rod)

Line - 13 feet #3.5 fluorocarbon (a medium weight line)

Tippet - 3 feet 6X

Fly - Rubber-legged Stonefly size 8 (I'll show you how to make this simple fly)

Weather - Sunny, Windy 10-15 mph (hence the heavier fly to help cut through the wind)

Target Water - DEEP pockets below drop offs (in this case 3-4 foot deep)