Top 5 Reasons to Fly Fish Utah’s Green River

“Stunning Scenery, jaw-dropping views, moments of wonder, combined with trophy fish that combine for 11 records.  Known as America’s most scenic trophy trout destination, Flaming Gorge and the Green River never disappoint.” Below you will find the Top 5 Reasons to Fly Fish the Green River and Flaming Gorge area. 

Reason 5: “Trout Slam”

Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, Lake and Brook Trout are available in the Flaming Gorge area.  Get all five of these Trout/Char species and you have a Super Trout Grand Slam. With a little travel, a Golden Trout is not out of the question. Flaming Gorge Reservoir is known as the best Lake Trout fishery in the lower 48 with 40 plus pounders commonly caught throughout the year. 20 inch Cutthroat can be found in Flaming Gorge and Sheep Creek Lake. Brook Trout are found in a few of the mountain tributaries. The Green holds legendary amounts of Browns and Bows. Catching all five species is possible within a 1 hour drive around the south end of the Gorge. If you’re into more than trout, Flaming Gorge is a fabulous Carp and Smallmouth Bass fishery as well.

Reason 4: “All Year Long”

24/7/365, well maybe not, but almost. I usually settle for about 5 hours in the middle of the winter. In the Summertime, I love night floats and fishing under the Milky Way. The Spring is filled with legendary hatches and the Fall is filled with brilliant colors both above and below. The Green is a tailwater, it’s dam controlled so it can be fished year round. Located in the Uinta Mountain Shadow, the river corridor receives very little rain or snow (about 11 inches per year of precipitation). There isn’t a bad time of year to fish the river. 

Reason 3: “Epic Scenery”

Remember to look up! You gotta miss a few fish due to staring at the scenery. The 1000 foot tall colored walls of Red Canyon are phenomenal. Majestic Ponderosa pines keep watch over the river. Crystal clear water with a hint of emerald completes the perfection. Every turn makes for another postcard shot.

Whether you float the river or take the ‘heel-toe express’ on the Little Hole National Scenic Trail, you’re in for an aesthetic buffet both above and below the surface. Add in a trophy Brown or Rainbow and you have that shot of a lifetime.

Reason 2: “The Streamer Dreamer”

The tug is my drug, but the elixir is the chase.  Watching fish chase down large streamers is my favorite way to probe the depths of the Green. While slamming the banks may be a popular tactic, it is only one of the numerous ways to work a streamer on the Green. Any fish under 10 inches is food and with the average Brown Trout checking in over 16 inches the odds of finding meat eaters are good.

Sculpin, young trout, and whitefish are all temptations Browns and Bows can’t resist. Strip, drift, swing, or jigging are all effective tactics. From 1 foot to 30 feet deep there are fish that ambush. The streamer diversity is epic and unlimited. The Green has a long streamer season as well. Late July through the beginning of March, the meat eaters are on the prowl.

Reason 1: “The Greatest Dry Fly Fishery in the World”

Sight fishing large trout is an everyday occurrence on the Green. Sometime in late January midges will appear. Hatches so thick, the cluster’s are the size of quarters. Midges transition into the legendary BWO hatch. On calm overcast days, it’s not uncommon to see 50 Blue Wings in every square foot. The most staggering view is when a large portion of the 10,000 fish per mile are all rising at the same time. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Blue Wings overlap with the Cicadas in early to mid-May. While less consistent from year to year in quantity, these terrestrials will bring fish from the depths of the river. Cicadas transition into a crazy triple hatch of Caddis, PMD’s and Yellow Sallies. In late June through mid-July it’s not uncommon to have a morning Caddis hatch, mid-morning PMD hatch, an early afternoon buffet of Sallies, and finished off with another wave of evening Caddis. Terrestrials roam the banks from late April to early November making for perplexing decisions for discriminate trout. Tricos make an appearance in August and fall BWO’s make a return in Mid-September through December. The winter is filled with sporadic small BWO and Midge hatches. When it’s all said and done, an angler can catch fish dry flies every day of the year.

Photos and article by Ryan Kelly, check out Ryan’s feed on Instagram @greenriverflyfisher for the latest in fishy content from the Green River. Be sure to check out next time your planning a visit.

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