Tag Archives: drift boat

Spring Rises

If you live in the New York metro area, Trout fishing in the Catskills is a traditional rite of spring. Specifically, many of us head up to “Trout Town USA” or Roscoe, NY on most modern maps. Roscoe has been famous for Trout fishing since the 1800’s when the Ontario and Western Railroad brought people up here to Fly Fish. The first dry fly fishing in America happened on fabled streams in the area. I had been to Roscoe on opening day in order to attend several events including the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum’s, “Catskill Legends Dinner” along with their first cast event. The following day I attended the “Two Headed Trout Dinner,” hosted by the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce. At that event I was the winning bid on a silent auction for a weekend at a guesthouse in Roscoe. All of these events are a fine time and I recommend checking them out next year.

Mark practices casting his new Cabela's Fly Rod on the banks of the West Branch.
Mark practices casting his new Cabela’s Fly Rod on the banks of the West Branch.

The West Branch

This fine stream, starting out in Stamford, NY and running all the way to where it meets the East Branch at Junction Pool in Hancock, NY is one of the best wild Trout fisheries in the State of New York. The river was dammed in the 1960s to create the Cannonsville Reservoir, storing additional water supply for New York City. Though it cost Trout anglers many miles of stream the dam created a steady cold-water release on the Delaware. The East Branch is also dammed to create the Pepacton Reservoir however; the releases from this branch are less consistent because the clean water is more highly valued for drinking purposes.

Always use the rubber coated net to protect the fish's protective coating.
Always use the rubber coated net to protect the fish’s protective coating.

Mark and I secured guide Ray Ottulich through The Beaverkill Angler Fly Shop in Roscoe, NY. We met around 11AM at the shop and motored on up the 17 Quickway to a boat put in on the West Branch. This was the first time I floated an eastern river since my trip with dad up to the Andro in Maine a few falls back. I peaked with excitement at the prospect of floating the West Branch for Trout instead of plying the Main Stem for Smallmouth from shore. Fly Fishing from a drift boat is a superior method of fishing as far as I am concerned.

Seeking the Hatch

The Catskills are renowned for their Dry Fly Fishing; this does not mean that deploying the dry fly is the only way to prospect for Trout. This may sound sacrilege however, I remind you the reader; I convinced Mark a spin fishing only man to hang up the ole bait pole and give Fly Fishing a chance. He did, point of the story, sometimes you need to be open minded about fishing. Prime hatches occur on cloudy days or in the morning and evening, this forces us to go down deep with nymphs or fish streamers in rising water when there is no hatch.

First fish on the dry fly and Fly Rod ever!
First fish on the dry fly and Fly Rod ever!

The fishing reports all indicated March Browns and some Blue Wing Olives at dawn or dusk. Setting out a noon is standard procedure in these parts to ensure that you secure the productive water at dusk when the hatches do go off. I started plying the deepwater edges with a streamer to no avail. Then we all switched over to pheasant tail nymphs in the shallow fast water, where the Rainbow Trout stage to eat the Blue Wing Olives nymphs. Mark managed to hook one repeatedly working a stretch of fast water. This period of time did allow us all to hone in our casting for when the actual bugs started coming off of the water.

Sometimes the captain needs to back row to keep you in productive water.
Sometimes the captain needs to back row to keep you in productive water.

Pods of Fish

The sun began to cast long shadows and the noses of Trout touching the top of the water brightened our smiles. Sporadically at first, you could detect feeding Trout by a feint splash or a glint in the water. Tying on the March Brown and an emerger enticed strikes from wary Trout. A few more missed hook ups and we pulled the boat next to a trailer park, boom Mark hooks his first fish on the Dry, a 15-inch Brown Trout! While Mark was busy fighting his Trout I was busy not landing Trout. For some reason I had a major mental block to actually set a dry fly…very frustrating.

Mark's second fish on a Fly Rod, lucky guy!
Mark’s second fish on a Fly Rod, lucky guy!

We continued our leisurely float down the West Branch, picking up speed through some rapids; unfortunately the bug activity was much lighter than expected. This season has been a strange one, very warm in March followed by a snowstorm on opening weekend that has kept the water very cool and delayed the season. As our boat rounded the Hancock 191 Bridge we again were treated to intermittent rises. Again Mark hooks a 17-inch Brown Trout on the dry fly! Lets talk about beginner’s luck…

Famous Pools

The Beaverkill along with the Willowemoc are two of the only undammed major Catskill streams. All of the other’s have had some sort of influence by man, negative (the Esopus) or positive (the West Branch tail water). The Beaverkill northeast of Roscoe to its source is a pristine valley, is less populated and less industrialized than it was one hundred years ago. The public water is limited, sometimes forcing you to wait your turn, however even on a busy fishing weekend in prime season, glorious lonesome water was found.

A Wild Brown Trout from the Beaverkill River.
A Wild Brown Trout from the Beaverkill River.

Saturday was a cloudy day with a bit of humidity and intermittent sprinkles. Perfect weather for a Blue Wing Olive hatch and we were treated to one. Arriving at a secluded though popular pool in the upper Beaverkil we were treated to an empty parking area. I quickly tied on some Blue Wing Olives I had purchases twenty minutes before and the fish were keyed on. Again, I had a lot of action but they fish kept getting a clean release.

Things to Do

Combined the towns of Roscoe and Rockland have plenty of entertainment for anglers when they are not on the river. Rockland has three great establishments we stopped in the Trout Town Brewery, the Rockland House and the Courtyard Tavern. Roscoe has a the popular diner aptly named the Roscoe Diner along with a bistro and a Pizza place. There are five fishing outfitters (fly or spin) in this town and some nice cabins for rent throughout. We are looking forward to the next summer adventure up this way, which will likely be a camping trip.

The Trout Town Brewery in all of her glory.
The Trout Town Brewery in all of her glory.

 

The Sporting Lifestyle

Turning 30

Last week, I turned 30; it is a point in life that I never believed would occur, especially looking back to the college years when I was eagerly awaiting my 21st birthday. These days, 30 years is indicative of actual adulthood. Much like boiling a frog, the number creeps up slowly and all of the sudden its there.

Taking it all in and surveying the water.
Taking it all in and surveying the water.

Be that as it may, up to this point I have had a great run and I am going to hammer down for an even better decade to follow it up. In the last ten years, I learned to fly fish, went pheasant hunting for the first time, bought a piece of land, graduated from Business School, landed a job I enjoy, won my first municipal election, travelled around the USA, met countless new friends and shared quality time with my family.

Family ski pic, Brenton, father and myself.
Family ski pic, Brenton, father and myself.

Anyway, my brother, father and the crew assembled in Park City, Utah to celebrate this milestone with me. Park City is one of my favorite places in the world: great skiing, fly-fishing, good bars and friendly people. There is no better way to spend your birthday than with family, friends and doing the sports you love.

Last night group pic, Mark, Tawnie, me, Jourdan, Brandon, Brenton and father.
Last night group pic, Mark, Tawnie, me, Jourdan, Brandon, Brenton and father.

30th Birthday Party

The actual date was Thursday, January 23rd. Like the adult that I now am, I worked and attended a township budget meeting. Another indicator of turning 30 is that you don’t need to go out on your birthday. We saved all the energy for the Friday evening plane ride out to Salt Lake and the bars in Park City. Adding fuel to the fire, we arrived just prior to the last night of the Sundance Film Festival. This was to be a multi-night event of whiskey-fueled entertainment.

Its like Luke Bryan says, "Drink a beer."
Its like Luke Bryan says, “Drink a beer.”

Skiing/ Snowboarding

Saturday we skied the Canyons. It was Nicole’s official first time skiing. Due to the previous evening’s festivities, it took the crew a while to get moving. Once up and about, I gave skiing a whirl, something I have not done since my college days. To my excitement, skiing is much like riding a bike; it is not something that is easily forgotten. After ten runs, Nicole and Mark had had enough and Brandon had a pitcher of hoppy goodness waiting at the warming station. I would have preferred to ski more but I was out voted. We went home, made delicious baked Ziti and headed out to Main Street for the last day of the film festival.

Nicole contemplates the mountain.
Nicole contemplates the mountain.

Sunday we switched up and skied Park City Mountain Resort. It was another clear, warm January day. I set Nicole up on some nice groomers off of King Con lift and gave some quick pointers. As Brenton said, “What’s the difference between a ski instructor and a student; one day.” After finishing up at Park City, Brenton drove us out to Dutch John for the second part of the festivities.

Carving some turns at the Canyons.
Carving some turns at the Canyons.

 Green River Float

The cold scenery
The cold scenery

Brenton presented me with a guided fishing trip with Doug Robert’s Old Moe Guide Service as a gift for the big three zero. On Sunday evening, we packed up the Yukon XLT, hitched up to the Clacka, and proceeded to drive the three plus hours out to Dutch John. Due to the change of management at Spring Creek Guest Ranch, we were unable to stay at our normal location. Instead we camped out at the Shire Lite Units at Flaming Gorge Recreation Services (The old Conoco at the corner of UT 191 and South Boulevard).

Drift boat packed and ready to go for next time.
Drift boat packed and ready to go for next time.

For breakfast we met up with Rachel, AJ and their family at the breakfast counter.  You may recall Rachel, AJ and family from our summer adventures at Spring Creek Guest Ranch. We have been out to Dutch John so many times now, you develop a core group of people you drop in and say hello to.

German Brown fish mouth
German Brown fish mouth

Doug arrived at the agreed time, 9AM, to get out on the water, however, we were not yet finished with breakfast. A “large” crowd during the offseason is unexpected in this remote part of the USA, so we weren’t too worried about a later start time. We finally finished eating around 10AM and drove over to the Flaming Gorge Dam boat launch. Father and I hopped in the boat with Doug; Brenton piloted the Clacka for Mark and Tall Boy (Matt). Doug’s boat launched first, followed by Brenton and AJ’s Hyde boat pulled up the rear.

Drifting, Brenton, Matt and Mark
Drifting, Brenton, Matt and Mark

Tale of Two Boats

Father and son with the Old Moe boat.
Father and son with the Old Moe boat.

Immediately upon getting the boat in the water, I cast out the egg pattern with thingamabobber rigged up. Doug was readying a nymph rig for father; suddenly my indicator was sucked under the water. I pulled back and set the hook, line tore off of the reel until I regained control. The fight was on! The fish flashed its broad side to us; a crisp red line crossed it laterally, indicating it was a Rainbow. As I coerced the bow to come toward the boat, its size became apparent. As all things in life, the moment was ephemeral. As fast as this fish hit, as hard as it fought, it unbuttoned from the hook as Doug was reaching for the net. I remain unable to break the 20-inch Trout mark on Utah’s Green River.

The Rainbow that did not get away.
The Rainbow that did not get away.

After this boat ramp excitement, we pushed off, amped for a day of fishing, notwithstanding the cold and slight snowfall. The takes were subtle and required an eagle eye on the indicator even going as far as to follow your egg pattern in the water by eye. The hungry Trout rose slowly to the egg pattern if you placed the indicator a tad out of the fast water. Becoming familiar with the slow takes and action required to set the hook resulted in consistent Trout to the boat.

German Brown hanging out in my hands.
German Brown hanging out in my hands.

The fishing tapered off around the lunch hour and we pulled aside for some delicious chicken sandwiches. A thing to keep in mind while winter drift boat fishing, there is no such thing as too many clothes. The wind kicks up hard, especially in the bottom of the A section.

Dark Rainbow
Dark Rainbow

The Others

Pushing down the Green about half an hour behind us was the second part of the group. Every now and again we glanced back and viewed the Clacka about a hole behind us. This was Mark’s maiden voyage on a drift boat; he has been regaled with tales of Utah’s Green river but never fished it himself.  Reports of moderate success flowed from the boat though not fishing the egg pattern worked as a handicap.

Colorful Rainbow
Colorful Rainbow

Final Fish

Father's final Bow Monster.
Father’s final Bow Monster.

As anticipated, while the day wound down, the wind intensity picked up. Even so, at the bottom of the A section, it always pays to keep your hook in the water. Big fish reside in these parts and as they say, “Can’t catch a fish if your hook is not in the water.” Sure enough, as we drifted Catwalk Shoals, the action heated up. Father put his largest German Brown and Rainbow on the board for the day!

Father's Final German
The Last German
Packing up the boat, me, father, Brenton and Mark.
Packing up the boat, me, father, Brenton and Mark.

Bluebird Final Day

The last full day is always the most fun, after getting all the rust off my winter sports skill set; I only had one day left! The team had partied, skied, fished, partied some more and now the epic time was drawing to a close. Mark, Brandon and Nicole opted to take the Yukon out to Antelope Island. This freed Brenton, father and myself to spend the whole day snowboarding on the mountain!

View from the chairlift.
View from the chairlift.

We hit most of the groomers at Park City that I like and even got into some trees. The snow conditions remained the same as previous week so the only available coverage was a bit icy in the shade and all right in the sun. Dad was able to do a few mogul runs. Thus far this year Utah’s snow cover was at 60% +/- of normal (they have since received snow). Anyway, for the sake of better fishing this summer, I hope they get some substantial snowfall in February.

Father got tight with the tree.
Father got tight with the tree.

We concluded the sporting lifestyle birthday with dinner and beers at Red Rocks Brewery in New Park by our condo. The next day we boarded the plane and flew uneventfully, and unwillingly, back to New Jersey.

Rod bending action.
Rod bending action.

Coming Up: More Ice Fishing

Summer 2013

This past summer I was fortunate enough to get a drift boat. If you have never fished from one before, it’s a whole new addiction. Just seeing the river standing on a boat is incredible. Rowing the boat down the river and putting your friends into fish is just as good as hooking into the fish yourself. These are the highlights of my summer in photographs.

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The world is a wonderful place and this is some kind of life.

Green River Summers

This Trout is happy to be back in his environment.
This Trout is happy to be back in his environment.

As you travel this great big country of ours, you start to locate noteworthy places with the power to draw you back. Eventually, as you have visited enough destinations, you will return to the awesome places you have been to before. Utah’s Green River and the surrounding area is one such location. The Trout fishing is great, the people are amazing and the scenery is unparalleled.

Brown Trout Jaw
Brown Trout Jaw
This Bow removed the Skunk smell from our boat.
This Bow removed the Skunk smell from our boat.

Dry Fly Fishing

Brenton holding is 19+ Rainbow Trout slab.
Brenton holding is 19+ Rainbow Trout slab.

The Green River is the only drift boat floatable river in the state of Utah; it is also one of the best dry fly fishing rivers in America. Catching a Trout on the dry fly an exhilarating experience. The best analogy I can give for rippin’ lips on the dry from a boat is, “video game fishing.” There is great pressure and excitement as the oarsman guides the angler into a fine drift. At that point the stress is on the angler, throw the presentation out with enough force to defy the wind but lay it down gently enough to prevent the fly from drowning. Add in a proper mend and you will have a serviceable drift. This drift it is likely to trigger a hungry Trout’s instincts, s/he will emerge from the deep to inspect the tempting offer. The angler will retain a vivid memory of every strike. The wide-open mouth emerging from the deep as you wait to set the hook just right.

Chunky Brown
Chunky Brown

On the Green River, certain terrestrial patterns just work. For example, the hopper, an ant, a cicada or the Mormon Cricket are all tried and true, success is always dependent on the time of the year. In addition to these patterns, we were finding strong Midge and Caddis hatches during our five wonderful days.

Chris, George and Brenton after a long day of catching fish.
Chris, George and Brenton after a long day of catching fish.

The Guides

Brenton recently became the proud owner of the Clacka Eddy, and amazing, light and comfortable drift boat. He was kind enough to let Matt and I take the boat down the A section, when mom/ dad and Brenton/ Jourdan were with their guides.

Mom, Dad and Gene on the boat.
Mom, Dad and Gene on the boat.

The first time the family headed out to the Green River, four years ago, we made the mistake of not using a guide and attempting to walk the river. Floating the Green is the best way to fish and explore the river. You will catch fish from the shore though it is nowhere near as effectively as from the drift boat.

Gene rows Chris and Brenton into some fish.
Gene rows Chris and Brenton into some fish.

Three years ago, through Trout Creek Flies, we stumbled upon Gene Gautieri, we have used him every year since. The next year he introduced us to Nick Jackson a new guide who has worked in both Alaska and Argentina. Nick and Gene both are infinitely patient with the less gifted of us Fly Fishing enthusiasts, while willing and able to set you up for difficult drifts and challenging casts when you get your rhythm together.

Father and Nick posing with a birthday fish.
Father and Nick posing with a birthday fish.

The River

I forgot to take my flippers off at lunch, walking like a duck.
I forgot to take my flippers off at lunch, walking like a duck.

In the past year, Utah received a relatively normal snowfall as opposed to the previous year that witnessed a drought. When we first started Fly Fishing the Green River we lived through some high water years that even did damage to the walking trail along the river. During the summer the flow and temperature of the Green River are tightly controlled through the Flaming Gorge Dam. This regulation is what makes the Green a superb tail water fishery.

The family after a tasty lunch provided by Nick and Gene.
The family after a tasty lunch provided by Nick and Gene.

The floatable sections are broken into the A, B and C. Here at MKFF we have cataloged several float trips down the river. This trip we concentrated on the A section due to sporadic evening thunderstorms that washed out Red Creek. The B below Red Creek and the entire C section was cloudy throughout the entire trip.

Rainbow in the Hawg Trough
Rainbow in the Hawg Trough

I had always associated the A section with fishing weighted nymph rigs using an indicator.  Nick worked with Brenton and I to transfer some serious knowledge about fishing the A section with a dry fly. In the four days of guided Fly Fishing adventure Gene was able to impart some of his vast knowledge of the Green River on us!

19.25 inch Brown in the Hawg Trough.
19.25 inch Brown in the Hawg Trough.

It’s in the hole!

The fourth Green River Expedition coincided with father’s 57th birthday and as anticipated there were some good family moments. This includes, though not limited to, the finishing of a bottle of Patron with our friends at Spring Creek Guest Ranch, the entire family having a fish on in two separate drift boats and father shouting, “Its in the hole!” for every fish he hooked.

Mom posing with a Rainbow.
Mom posing with a Rainbow.

Spring Creek Ranch

There are both places and people that stay familiar even when you leave for a time; one of those unique destinations is the Spring Creek Ranch. Rachael and AJ manage the place with Grandmother Pat and their three children. We have come back for the fourth year in a row, each time we depart it is sad but when we return, it is as if we never left.

The Kuhns, Nick, Gene and the family at Spring Creek.
The Kuhns, Nick, Tall Boy, Gene and the family at Spring Creek.

Go West Young Man

The call of the American West is strong, every time I go out there it becomes more difficult to leave. I catch more fish and meet more great people, living and loving life in a way that has been lost to mainstream America. The Trout are large, the land is vast and the rivers are clean and cool.

Stop here in Laramie for Prime Rib or Chicken Fried Steak.
Stop here in Laramie for Prime Rib or Chicken Fried Steak.

Until November…

Jourdan When is your tee Time?
Jourdan When is your tee Time?

Livin’ The Dream

On The Green

Roadside America – The Road to Rock Springs, WY

If your idea of a fantastic fly-fishing trip includes inspirational scenery, an abundance of trout, and delicious home cooked meals every evening, then a trip to Utah’s Green River, should be your next destination Fly Fishing adventure. Our family was able to coordinate our vacations, enabling us to all meet at the Spring Creek Guest Ranch, located on the Utah-Wyoming border. This has become an annual road trip for us for the past three years. The three of us: Lisa, Christopher, and my self, will drive continuously for 28 hours, to reach our destination at the Spring Creek Ranch. My other son: Brenton and his girlfriend Jourdan will rendezvous with us at the Ranch. This year, their fly-fishing friend: Matt also came along to enjoy the fishing on the Green River.

The Family Enjoys A Beer Together

Technology has made the trip very comfortable for us. For example, our GMC Yukon has satellite radio, On-Star navigation, DVD player, and comfortable seating. In addition, Christopher and Lisa now have smart phones. Christopher was able to conduct business over his phone, Lisa was able to take care of issues that needed to be addressed while we were away, and they were both able to view Netflix movies on their phones as well. The only information I received on my phone was that our data level was being drained, the current level was at 10%, and that I better update it soon.

Roadside Signage About Wyoming’s Abundance of Stock Animals

Once we had arrived at the Spring Creek Ranch, we met our hosts: AJ, Rachael, and Pat. The Ranch is very rustic with comfortable cabins, rooms, magnificent scenery, and delicious food. As major groceries are roughly 60 miles away, it’s wise that anyone interested in staying here contact Rachael beforehand and discuss what types of food you would care to have. This will allow Rachael to prepare her shopping list before she heads out to the store. In addition, I recommend acquiring a river guide a few months prior to the trip to enhance your fly-fishing experience on the Green River. Once again we made arrangements with Trout Creek Flies (435) 885-3355, to book Gene Gautieri as our river guide. Gene may also be contacted at skifish@siska.com. This year due to scheduling conflicts, Gene would only be able to guide for us on our first day on the river. However, he recommended his protege: Nick Jackson, to be our guide for the remaining dates. Nick is also a fantastic guide; he began his career as a river guide in Alaska at the age of 18. He now guides on the Green River in the summer and during the winter months in Chile.

Nick Controls the Boat

Day One

Jourdan’s step dad: Scott was also a river guide in his younger days, and has two drift boats. One of which he allows Brenton to utilize. Brenton also has a pontoon boat that he brought along this year as well.  The original plan this year was to have Brenton fish with Gene, as Brenton has acted as our guide the past few years, and we wanted him to be the client for a change. As a surprise to both Lisa and myself, the kids informed us that Gene would be guiding for us instead. As soon as we began casting on the river Lisa was on fire, catching nice full-bodied, 12-17 inch Rainbow and Brown Trout. She was out fishing me at a rate of 6 to 1. I enjoyed watching her laugh, smiling, and enjoying herself, as she does so much for our family all year long

Lisa Rainbow Trout

Day 2

The second day, Christopher and Jourdan fished with our guide Nick. Lisa and myself fished with Brenton in “Larry” the Lavro drift boat on the B section of the Green River.  Matt was on the pontoon boat for his first time. Once Matt became familiar on how to navigate the boat, he did quite well, landing in some nice sized Rainbow’s and Brown Trout. For Lisa and myself, the fishing was a little slow, as we are inexperienced in casting with a steady breeze blowing at us. Brenton was having some luck when he would pull the boat to shore and fish from the river’s edge. While Brenton was fishing, we pulled out the new portable grill to cook up some hotdogs, when we discovered an unpleasant surprise. The igniter switch was broken and we had no matches! However, we did have bread and a bag of Doritos, so we put Doritos chips between the bread and had Doritos sandwiches. All of us could not wait until we got back to the Ranch and had Rachael’s homemade pizza! Near the end of the day, with approximately a half-mile to travel before we reached our exit point at Indian Crossing, we started to pull in some nice 16 and 17 inch Rainbow Trout. This made us forgot about the sparse lunch we had. Once off the river, it was back to the Ranch, for some great homemade pizza that Rachael and Pat had prepared!

The Pasture, Three Corners in the Background

Christopher and Jourdan had a good day on the A section of the river, with Nick as their guide. They had invited Nick back to dinner at the Ranch, and this was the first time that we had the opportunity to meet Nick, and he is a very nice individual. It was interesting to hear about his guiding experiences in Alaska, Green River, and in Chile. As always, Rachael had prepared a fantastic meal, and even though we were all thoroughly stuffed, there was still enough room for Pat’s delicious Margarita pie!

Day Three

Our third day on the river began with all of us awaking to a crisp, welcomed coolness in the air, after enduring an extraordinarily hot summer back in New Jersey. We met Nick at Trout Creek, and we all agreed to fish the A section of the river, as this would allow Lisa and myself to practice our casting along with catching some trout. Nick exemplifies all the tireless energy of youth, with his insistence to continuously row back up the river to catch a good drift, where he knows trout to be lurking. Again, Lisa was on fire and was landing many Rainbow and Brown Trout. During the middle of the day, Lisa hooked into a real fighter! Her rod was bending with the trout trying to go deep in the water. Nick coached Lisa, instructing her to let the fish take the line. I had never seen a fish pull all the line out of a fly rod before! Nick expertly guided Lisa into bringing a beautiful full-bodied 19-inch Brown Trout into the net. Lisa played that fish for a good five minutes and her arms were a little tired after the ordeal. I was also ready for a nap after watching her work that fish into the boat! We reluctantly reached the off loading area at around 6 pm.Healthy German Brown

Again, we invited Nick back to the Spring Creek Ranch, where Rachael had prepared her unbelievably delicious, belly-busting ribs! We all sat around enjoying the solitude of the evening, enjoying ribs, drinking 24 ounce Alaskan Amber Ale, and doing shots of Tequila with Rachael’s mom: Pat. Everyone was mellowing out and talking about their experiences on the river for that day.

George Rainbow

As an extra bonus, Rachael informed us that we would be able to stay in our cabin for another night if we cared to. In addition, Nick informed us that his schedule was free the next day as well, and if we wanted to, he would guide for us. Fantastic, we all had another round of Tequila to celebrate our good fortune!

Day 4

The next morning, the weather had changed, and there was light drizzle in the air. Luckily, we had remembered our rain gear and put it on. The weather had changed, and so had my luck, as it was my turn to land some nice trout on the Green! Again, Nick would row back up the river to catch a good drift. During those drifts, Lisa and I were able to land Rainbow, Brown, and German Brown Trout that were not giving up without giving both of us some good fights. Nick pulled along shore to try a different fly setup for Lisa. During that time, I took a few casts while waiting, and then wham; I had hooked a big one by the feel of my fly rod! Nick expertly instructed me on how to guide the trout into the net, as I tried to maneuver the fish away from rocks or other obstacles that the trout was trying to dive under to spit out the fly. What a feel of satisfaction and excitement of being able to land that full-bodied 18-inch Rainbow Trout! Being outdoors, enjoying nature, and the challenges of fly-fishing for a few days in succession, allowed Lisa and myself to enhance our fly-fishing skills. Moreover, the advantage of fishing continuously, allowed us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, enabling us to land fish that we were losing in the beginning of our trip.

George on the River

As with everything in life, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately, the memories remain on.  The sun had begun to lower in the sky, and our boat-landing site had come into view. Both of us wanted to land just one more trout before we ended the trip. Nick obliged us by rowing back up river to catch a few more drifts. Nick’s hard work was not wasted, as Lisa and myself were both able to land another trout before we docked the boat.  That evening, both Nick and Gene came back to the Spring Creek Ranch for one final feast prepared by Rachael and Pat. More fish stories were told, Alaskan Ale consumed, and shots of Tequila downed, creating memories that will be re-told for years to come.

Lisa Brown Trout

The next morning we sadly said our goodbyes to Rachael, Pat, and AJ. Hopefully, they will still be operating the Spring Creek ranch for a few more years. We then traveled to Park City, Utah, to spend a day in the old mining town, which is now a world-class ski destination. We did some sightseeing, shopping, and visited Trout Bums, for some fly-fishing gear. The following morning, we began our long journey home. Not long into the ride home, we began talking about our fishing adventure, and ultimately, began planning next year’s family fly-fishing trip.

Memories of Legendary Trout in Red Walled Canyons

Lapping the C – Green River

Enjoying Our Moment, Swinging Bridge, Browns Park

“We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls ride over the river, we know not. Ah, well! We may conjecture many things.”

—John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell Likely Was One of the First White Men To See This View, 1869

A Storied History

In the spirit of 236 years of glory, I’m going to tell you a bit about ‘Merica and our Green River.  The river valley was originally inhabited by the Fremont culture, a people flourishing from the 7th century to the 13thcentury; their work can be viewed in rock art and cave overhangs. Eventually, the Shoshone and Ute peoples colonized the area for nomadic hunting purposes. While visited by the Spaniards and various trappers, the region remained unexplored. John C Fremont, legendary explorer, US Senator, and founder of the Republican Party, led an expedition into the region.

Modern Day View, Preserved Portion of Jarvie Ranch

The first complete expedition was led by John Wesley Powell in 1869, the second was in 1871; most of the nomenclature of the region was assigned on these trips. Powell’s expeditions were not without controversy.  Starting off in 1869 with 10 men and large gear carrying boats, they completed the expedition with 6 men. Four walked off, one successfully started a family in Vernal, Utah; the other three were possibly executed by Mormon Settlers. The Mormon Settlers claimed it was local Native American Indians. The true fate is still shrouded in mystery. Read the full account here.

Graves Visible From Road To Jarvie Ranch

Now for my favorite part of this story, The John Jarvie Ranch, founded in 1880 by an educated man of Scottish decent at Brown’s Hole. Located conveniently on the Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming border, Jarvie had significant mining and cattle interests. He distilled and sold Whiskey, while managing a general store, post office, blacksmith shop, and ferry. Jarvie made acquaintance with several notorious outlaws including: Matt Warner, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid. His ranch was a perfect location to hide out after a hard year of rustling cattle.

Christopher, First Fish On The Green, 2012

A Section

This 7-mile stretch of river commences at the boat launch under Flaming Gorge Dam, traveling through a red walled canyon down to Little Hole. This float is known for its aquarium feel, you can see the fish swimming below you in the crystal clear water. Also note, this section has the highest presence of rafters, though the Trout don’t seem to mind too much.

Brenton’s Day 1 German Brown Caught On A Section

On this stretch, we used a couple of tactics resulting in Fish On! The deep pools and seems of this section are ideal for nymph rigs. Brenton developed his rendition of a bead head Pheasant Tail and some small Midges, size 16 and 18.

German Brown Makes Its Hogan’s Heroes Style Escape
Dead Sculpin From Trout Stomach

B Section

Below Little Hole, the river widens and the canyon walls lower, allowing for new angling opportunities. Furthermore, on the B, you can start to throw the Hopper Dropper combo along the shorelines and back eddies. Making this section even more enjoyable is the variety of primitive camping opportunities along the river. Halfway down, drifters will encounter Red Creek Rapids, a Class 3 section on the river.  Upstream of Red Creek Rapids, is a long deep pool; fish activity is slow through here. We were able to coax some follows with articulated streamers.

B Section German Brown, Hopper on Grasshopper Island
A Trout’s Vantage Point

Lapping the C Section

Fish On! Indian Crossing Before Setting Out

Now onto the true wilderness fishing expedition! The Green River, for management and discussion purposes, is divided into the three distinct sections. The C-section is by far the longest and most desolate section of the Utah Green River; it winds 12 miles through a desert valley, terminating in the high walled Swallow Canyon. In the later part of summer, this section is renowned for its Hopper fishing.

Matt’s C Section Rainbow, Fooled By Nymph Rig Out

Day 1

This is our third day of living the dream, camping outside, fishing all day, every day. Having paid for a shuttle from Trout Creek Fly every day to this point, it was now our turn to use pedal power. To float the C, the preferred entry point is at Indian Crossing. It is also an option to use Taylor Flats, however, this will cost you a prime section of top water. Upon leaving the boat and gear at Indian Crossing; Brenton threw his Trek Navigator bicycle into “Toaster,” and drove the trailer to Swallow Canyon boat ramp. In my estimate, it takes about an hour to pedal back to Indian Crossing from that point, the road is shorter than the river here.

Brenton’s C Section Front Flip

Day 2

Hopper action picked up on day 2, everyone landed a fish on a Hopper. Matt took the crown with a 20-inch German Brown. All was well, except the sunscreen started to run low, for trips on this section of the river, I suggest ample quantities of sunscreen and gloves for your hands. Swallow Canyon was markedly unproductive; we attributed this to the low water situation.

Matt’s C Section 20 Inch Brown, Fooled By Hopper

Day 3

Fish were keyed into Yellow Sallies on the portion of river between Indian Crossing and Taylor Flats. Unaccustomed and out of practice on the dry, I missed almost every fish. There was redemption for Matt, and just as the weather changed for a thunderstorm, the Rainbows drilled in on Yellow Sallies and Triple Doubles.

Where The Eagle Flies

As I already mentioned, thunderstorms rolled in, and it was our last day on the river. In the distance, we witnessed a lightning strike. Then, there was a wispy spindle of smoke rising in the air! Brenton called the Forest Fire Service and reported it, luckily for us; the fire was over on a mountain ridge in Colorado. Needless to say, as the smell of distant smoke filled the air, we hurried up to the boat launch, packed our gear, and got the hell out of dodge.

Forest Fire Sparked By Lightning In The Distance

Threats to the Future

The Green River is one of the Blue Ribbon Fisheries in the American West. Technically, a tributary of the Colorado River; an error of history, due to Colorado having more political sway when the Colorado River Compact was signed. There is currently a speculative project proposed to build a pipeline, in order to transport Flaming Gorge water to the Front Range of Colorado.MKFF opposes this project, as it will damage the local economies, the environment, and Trout fishing. The residents of the Front Range should adopt new water conservation measures, in lieu of attempting to use even more water in the semi-arid region.

GBH – Nature’s True Fisherman

All of the Pics Here!

Part 1 – This Is Our First Rodeo

Part 2 – Prospecting Big Trout – Small Streams

Going Green For Twenty Twelve

Great food and service with a smile at Spring Creek Guest Ranch

Rumor had it the fishing was good on the Green River in late March.  Therefore, a weekend trip had to be made to assess the situation for myself.  An A and B trip was the plan and we took off after work on Sunday to get on the river first thing Monday morning.  Instead of camping that first night, we got a room at the Spring Creek Guest Ranch and stayed in luxury.

There’s something awe inspiring about rivers large enough to take a drift boat down that gets you every time.  Especially one with such a robust history of exploration as the Green River.  Although the river is nothing like it looked like in the 1800’s, mans’ impact has made the Green River below Flaming Gorge one of the most prolific trout fisheries in the United States.

Ted and Aaron stopping to fish an eddy
Healthy brown
Ted showing us how its done

After copious quantities of alcohol and several fish, day one had to come to a close.  Beautiful weather and the most ridiculous midge hatch I had ever seen we’re some of the highlights of the day.  Below are some from the night and the following day.

Jefe taking it all in by the fire
Best dinner on the river I've ever had
Best breakfast I've ever had on a river trip all thanks to Ted
Aaron getting prepared for Day 2
Jefe examining Matt's catch
Day 2 also had a pretty incredible midge hatch

Matt admiring his catch on his hand crafted YUM

All good things have to come to an end

In closing, the rumors aren’t true and you probably shouldn’t come here.