Time: 10:00AM – 1:30PM
Location: One mile downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam
Fish Landed: 1
As I mentioned on my 7/24/14 post, I decided to fish to sighted fish on Friday since blind prospecting delivered only one fish in 2.5 hours albeit a very nice rainbow trout. Friday was forecast to be another hot day with high temperatures in the 90’s, so we had a quick breakfast of oatmeal at the campsite, and then I took the Santa Fe and drove to the parking lot high above the boat launch just below the dam. Jane decided to stay behind as she made a concerted effort to avoid more snake encounters.
I used my senior pass to cover the day use fee, and pulled on my waders and rigged my rod and began my descent of the steep Little Hole Trail to the Green River. There were quite a few rafts and boats lined up at the launch ramp already at 9:30AM, but I decided to hike for twenty minutes or so to get away from the launch traffic. As I walked along on the trail a steady procession of rafts floated by, and many rafters were laughing and shrieking as heated water fights commenced. I was very curious to know whether these youthful rafters could maintain their feverish pace for the entire seven mile float to Little Hole.
After I hiked for 20 minutes I reached a nice area where a wide eddy of slow moving water presented three visible fish that were facing downstream. I picked out landmarks across from the positions of the observed fish and then waded upstream and began making casts to the areas where the fish held. Unfortunately each of the three fish scattered when I presented a fly in front of them.
After I spooked the three fish at the start of my fishing day, I noticed several rises just off the main current seam that fed the huge pool and eddy. Upon seeing this welcome surface activity, I moved upstream a bit and began shooting long 30-40 foot downstream casts to the area of the rises. Finally on the tenth long cast a fish bulged and engulfed the size 12 gray stimulator with a zebra midge dropper. I set the hook and a strong battle ensued, but I was finally able to land a sixteen inch brown trout. I attempted to photograph my prize catch, but as I was gripping the fish to hold for the camera, I slipped from the slimy square rock I was standing on, and this momentary diversion allowed the brown to squirm free.
I was hopeful that this experience was a harbinger of a morning of casting to rising fish, but that was not the case. I resumed sight fishing in the manner described earlier. I walked the path and looked for fish and then dropped down to the water and cast to visible targets. For the most part these fish were in slow moving deep pools above dense aquatic weeds, and they were quite wary. Generally these fish were not risers, but I attempted to target fish that were close to the surface and avoided fish that were hugging the bottom. Adding to the difficulty was the warm air temperature, the cloudless sky, and the constant commotion created by passing water enthusiasts.
After landing the gorgeous brown trout I moved upstream a bit and stumbled across two fish that were once again facing downstream in an eddy. I worked these fish for quite a while as the brown trout closest to shore rose occasionally and sipped something small from the surface. During this time there were some strong gusts of wind, so I hypothesized that the brown was sipping ants that were blasted into the river. I switched my stimulator for a parachute ant and made a nice presentation in front of the fish. I held my breath as the brown finned up to the surface in a leisurely manner and pressed its nose against the fly and then returned to its holding spot. Once again my parachute ant had been refused!
A second fish was further out in deeper water, and it circled in a small pool, but I was never able to generate even a refusal from this fish despite repeated casts. After spending half an hour on these obstinate targets, I turned around and scanned the water upstream, and I was surprised to see a splashy rise 25 feet above me and eight feet out from the bank. The parachute ant was too small to see, so I returned to the gray stimulator and zebra midge and dropped several casts in the vicinity of the rise. On the third drift I was surprised to see a swirl and instantly set the hook and felt the weight of a fish. The penetration of the hook point caused a nice rainbow to leap entirely out of the river, but before it splashed back down the fly came free, and I was once again frustrated in my attempt to land a nice Green River trout. I’ll never know for sure, but I’m convinced that this fish grabbed the tiny zebra midge because it didn’t feel like my fly had much penetration in the lip of the fish.
Once again I slowly walked upstream on the Little Hole Trail and gazed into the water with my polarized sunglasses, and again I approached an eddy with several fish facing downstream but into the reversing current. Initially I spotted two fish, but as I stared into the water I eventually saw at least five trout in the 13-17 inch range. History repeats itself, and I suppose this explains why these fish also ignored my offerings. During the early afternoon time period more frequent episodes of strong wind gusts hampered my ability to look beneath the surface of the water, so I once again decided to change tactics.
I was using my Scott six weight rod, and I’d placed the spool containing a sink tip line in my backpack, so I removed my floating line and loaded the sinking tip. For the last half hour on Friday I experimented with a damsel fly nymph and a conehead sculpzilla, but this tactic unfortunately also failed to excite any trout. I finally hooked the sculpzilla in my rod guide and walked back to the boat launch and then slowly hiked the steep trail back to the parking lot. Once again I landed one nice fish in 3.5 hours of fishing, and the Green River was proving to be a challenging river in late July. I vowed to never return to the Green unless I was drifting the river or wade fishing early in the season when the blue winged olives cause a feeding frenzy.