Ok, here's a Green River, UT trout fishing trip report.
Early Sunday afternoon, I arrived at the Dripping Springs campground which is about 10 minutes from the Green River in Northeastern Utah. I got there just after all the weekenders had packed up and gone, so there were campsites available. As I prepared to set up my tent, it started raining, so I headed to Little Hole for a look around. Little Hole is at the end of the "A" section, which runs from the launch boat ramps below Flaming Gorge Dam to the take out boat ramps at Little Hole. It's estimated that in some spots on the "A" section there are 20,000 trout per mile, so I eagerly got my fishing gear together, and
then I set out for the Black Lagoon.
The Black Lagoon is the first bend in the river on the opposite side of the river from the boat ramps at Little Hole. I asked about wading across at the local fly shop, and they informed
me that the river was super low--well below 800 cfs--so it would be no problem. I asked someone on the bank where the best place to wade across was and he pointed to some riffles where I had seen someone else cross earlier, so I set out for the opposite side. The water was only about mid calf deep, but the current was powerful and the river was very wide, so I didn't feel entirely comfortable, but in the end I made it across with no trouble.
As I hiked up the river, I finally saw the fish. Wow! It's hard not to stop and cast when you see so many fish in the water. The water is crystal clear and the river is incredibly beautiful. As I neared the Black Lagoon, an angler hooked a fish on a dry fly, so that gave me encouragement. I spent the rest of the day throwing dry flies out into the rising fish in the Black Lagoon, but I couldn't catch any fish. I had two nibbles, but with the first one I yanked the hook out of his mouth, and the second fish bent my rod, but he got loose, and when I checked the fly, the hook was bent at right angles. The current is very slow in the Black Lagoon, and I found it somewhat boring just throwing a fly out and letting it drift for five minutes at a time. There was a mayfly hatch during the afternoon, and that section of the river was absolutely covered with mayflies sailing by with their upright wings.
On day 2, I decided to hike up along the trail from Little Hole and explore farther up the river. It was a beautiful sunny day in the upper 70's, and the river was stunningly clear. The structure under water is so trout friendly, and as I hiked further up the river throughout the day, it was ever changing. My favorite spot was a spit of shallow riffles that slowly angled out into the river whose edge running along the shore dropped off into a deep pool where the fish congregated waiting for food flowing off the
riffles. I waded out in the riffles, and I cast along the entire length of the edge until I was all the way out in the middle of the river, but I couldn't tempt any fish to hit my dry fly. All the same, it was an incredible experience being out in the middle of such a majestic river casting my dry flies in the afternoon sunlight, and I enjoyed it immensely. I spent all day fishing and exploring
from 8:30AM to 8:30PM, and I didn't even get a nibble.
On day 3, for a change of pace, I decided to go up to the dam and work my way down river. It was another beautiful, warm day, and the huge rocks jutting out of the water in the upper section are spectacular. I ended up at a cove about one mile down river, and I spent the majority of my time there. At some point late in the day, I decided that a certain fish and I were going to do battle. I put some 6x fluorocarbon on the end of my
leader, and went to work . The fish was patrolling a 10 yard square area of glassy water keeping the surface clean. I threw every mayfly I had at him, and finally ended up with a no hackle fly on my tippet. It had just a body, and two miniature feather wings with a split V tail. Once again, the fish refused my fly, but I kept throwing it at him, and at some point he rose to the
surface to snatch another fly and at that exact second my fly landed next to his nose, and he reactively snapped at it. I set the hook, and my first Green River fish was on my line. Unfortunately, he didn't fight at all. He shook his head a few times, and I dragged him over to the bank like dead
weight. It was a fat cutthroat about 17 inches long. A lady asked me how I was going to land him without a net, and I told her I didn't want to touch him, and that I would just use my hemos. She seemed a little annoyed, and told me you need to land the fish fast to reduce the stress you inflict on them,
but I really didn't understand her point, since I believed that not handling the trout was the best way to catch and release.
I also got one great nibble on my line when I alternated casting to a huge rock in the middle of the river. I threw a pale morning dun about 40 feet to just in front of the rock and let it drift in on the current. My dun was accompanied by several real flies at that point and mine seemed to fit in perfectly. Then a trout rose and slurped my fly just as it was hitting the edge of the rock. I didn't hesitate to set the hook because the fly was so far away, but I yanked the hook out of his mouth anyway. Darn it!! I saw a lot of people catching fish with nymphs, but I stubbornly refused to resort to nymphing, especially since there were rising fish somewhere all day long.
For my last day on the river, I decided to hike down into the "B" section down river from Little Hole. I walked along the river for a little while until I came to a steep trail up a rocky bluff. I hiked up the bluff for about 10 minutes, but since I was alone and didn't know where I was going, I turned back and fished a side stream coming off the main river, which formed a semi circle before rejoining the river. I looked around and saw a rising fish in the
current, so I snuck around in back of him, and starting throwing flies at him. It was another battle: me and that particular fish. I hand tied a special leader for the occasion since my knotless leader had gotten so short. I added a length of 3x, 5x, and a long section of 6x fluorocarbon tippet, and it was so windy, I could never tell where my tiny fly was landing. I tried a bunch of different flies, and finally had a sparkle dun on my tippet. My strategy was to cast to the fish, and when he rose I would
try to set the hook since I didn't know where my fly was. After about an hour, whamo! I set the hook and felt him on the end of my line, so the fight was on. Immediately, I realized that he was a strong fish, so I put him on my reel and adjusted my drag as light as possible so he wouldn't snap my tippet. When he exploded out of the water and shook his head trying to get
free, I could see it was a big fat brown trout, so I used some of the stuff I recently read in Lefty Kreh's Advanced Flyfishing book. When he jumped out of the water, I gave him slack so a well timed head shake wouldn't snap my tippet; and to tire
him, I put the rod pressure low and to the side of his head
alternating back and forth instead of straight up in the air.
Slowly, the brown trout came down stream to me, but he wasn't done yet as he continued on by me, and there was a problem when he fought down current of me. Lefty says that a
fish can rest when he is down current so you need to follow him and keep turning his head from side to side, so I moved downstream with him crashing through the once placid side stream. Finally, the fish pulled me to the edge of the main river and the deeper, swiftly moving water. I was worried
about him getting into the main current since the bluff I had hiked up earlier cut into the river just down stream, but as I battled his head back and forth while he hung in the water just near the edge of the swift, deep current, I knew my tippet was about to snap, so I had to let up the pressure, and when I did he drifted backwards into the main current taking line off my spool as he went. Then I really had to scramble as I waded the
rocky water along the bluff and scrambled up and over some big rocks. The brown trout dragged me 100 yards down river, and it took about 10-15 minutes before he gave up. As I pulled him into shore, I could see his battle marks: he had white, jagged scars on his large head, maybe from a narrow escape with an eagle, but more likely from encounters with anglers. Then I learned what the lady was talking about the previous day. You can't land a fighting fish without a net because they constantly shake their head, so you have to wait until they are practically dead before you can get your hemos on the hook. Even then, on my third try with the fish, he shook his head and out came the hook, and as I watched he sunk to the bottom in 3 feet of water. Uh oh! I quickly dropped my rod on the rocks, and plunged in after him. I lifted him up, and like Lefty says to do, I held him by the tail
and slid him back and forth in the water to force water into his gills, and in a few seconds, he darted away. Wow! My first real Green River fish!
I was soaking wet, and it was windy and cold, so I needed to dry out. The pockets on my vest were filled with water, so I unloaded my fly boxes, which were all wet, and let them dry in the sun. I also took off my windbreaker and my fleece top and squeezed the water out of the sleeves. While my things were drying, I took stock of my surroundings, and scrambled up a large rock to see what was down river. Spread out below me was an emerald green lagoon with a rising fish at the far end, so I grabbed my rod and started casting to the fish. I was up so high and since the wind was behind me, I could easily cast the
60 feet to the fish. After about ten minutes, he rose and took my fly. I set the hook, and to my amazement, I had another fish on my line. He didn't fight very hard, but I had a problem because I was 30 feet above the water. How was I going to land him?!! I tried to downclimb the other side of the big rock, but I couldn't get down to the water. I eventually had to drag the fish upstream through the current to a little niche in the rock. I
didn't even see what kind of trout it was since he snapped my tippet with a head shake as I was trying to get the hook out of his mouth, and I had been so preoccupied with trying to land him. It was another trout about 16-18 inches long.
I gathered up my stuff and headed back upstream to my backpack that I left on the bank, and by that time a mayfly hatch was on, and the fish were furiously rising everywhere. In a few minutes, I caught another fish about the same size as the first two. He only fought a little bit, and he snapped my tippet when I was trying to get the hook out. I guess I need a net after
all! After a few more casts, another fish bent my rod. He felt strong, so I put him on the reel, and just as I finished doing that, he turned and, like a bullet, shot by me downstream and into the fast water of the main stream. Here we go again I thought, but in an instant he was gone. He had a black back, so I think he might have been a rainbow. I had one more fish that got away a few minutes later, and then after about an hour with no more bites, I called it a day, and so ended my trip.
Some memorable sights: with the late afternoon sun glinting of the glassy surface glancing upstream and seeing a large trout rocket out of the water and jump 4 feet in the air; seeing another trout tail walk 50 feet across the water as if he was trying to spit out a hook but no angler was around; while wading in thigh deep fast moving water, having a 17 inch trout swim up and rest 4 inches from my knee in the vortex created by my legs.
(Note: since my trip I stopped using fluorocarbon tippet for environmental reasons. One of my local fly shops won't sell it after performing tests on how it breaks down compared to monofilament, and the local Green River shop carries it but discourages anglers from buying it.)
Last edited by newbiefish; 05-14-2002 at 11:29 PM.
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