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.
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.
Dry Fly Fishing
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I got out to fish the Pequest River Trout Conservation Area this week. This area of trout water is open for catch and release fishing before the official opening day, tomorrow April 6. Several other anglers had the same idea as me, and it was quite crowded in the popular easy access pools. I decided to try some water with nobody around it, this decision paid off. I managed to landed this huge breeder brookie. It was over 20 inches and had massive girth on it. He followed my size 6 olive monster bugger through the entire run and nailed it at the last minute.
New Jersey’s trout stream will have plenty of other similar breeder fish as well small 8-9″ guys in it’s trout waters for opening day. Following an article I read in Field & Stream, I will try and focus on these big fish. The key is to know you are going to sacrifice some numbers in order to land your trophy. Commit to the plan and it could pay off. Get away from the crowd and don’t be afraid to explore some areas where there is less angling pressure. Big Fish = Big Fly is in effect. This is no time to try and throw any delicate dry flies. I will be using larger streamers. If you are worried about numbers, you can drop a small attractor nymph off the tail of the streamer to catch some of the smaller guys. Most off all have fun and get outside with some friends!!!