Time: 4:00PM – 7:00PM
Location: One mile below dam
Fish Landed: 1
I went a whole day without rain on Friday on the South Fork of the White River so perhaps the weather was clearing. Not a chance. I woke up several times during Friday night to the sound of thunder, the flashes of lightning, and the sound of rain pounding on the roof of the tent. It was still raining when I awoke so I skipped making breakfast and reorganized the car to isolate all the belongings that I didn’t want to get wet on the passenger seat, and then rolled up the tent and tablecloth and tossed in the back of the Santa Fe. Once again I was thankful for the tent pad.
I drove to Meeker and bought some pliers that enabled me to remove the reel from my Orvis rod. Somehow in the course of fishing on Friday the reel seat had become wedged so tightly that I couldn’t twist it with my fingers and needed the added leverage of a tool. In addition the first two sections of the rod were connected and I was unable to separate them thus adding worries over breaking the exposed rod in the back of the car.
Next I stopped at a supermarket and purchased some lunch meat and ice and then found a nice breakfast cafe and consumed a hearty breakfast and called Jane since I was in cell range for the first time in three days. Jane informed me of all the tragic flooding in Denver and along the front range, and I was no longer feeling sorry for suffering with a bit of rain on my tent. After breakfast I drove to Vernal, Utah and ate lunch there before proceeding on to Flaming Gorge where I checked out the Deer Run and Firefighter Memorial Campgrounds. The weather continued to look threatening so I decided to book a room at the Flaming Gorge Resort for Saturday night, but planned to camp again at the Firefighter Memorial on Sunday night.
After reserving a room I wandered over to the fly shop and purchased a new dispenser of floatant and a Utah fishing license and then headed to the parking area below Flaming Gorge Dam. I was pleased to avoid the day use fee of $5 by placing my Senior Pass on the dashboard as instructed by the sign. After putting on my waders and assembling my Loomis 5 weight rod I hiked down the Little Hole Trail for a mile. I carried my Adida pullover and raincoat, but it only rained lightly and was actually very pleasant for most of my time on the Green River on Saturday. In fact is was very quiet and I didn’t encounter another fisherman until on the way back at the end of the evening.
I began fishing with a caddis but it seemed futile in this huge wide river so I switched to the Chernobyl ant trailing a beadhead bright green caddis, but these flies provoked no response. I chose the caddis because it was mentioned several times on the white board in the fly shop as a fly that was producing. After spending a half hour or more flailing away and blind casting, I discovered that I could spot fish by walking slowly along the shore and staring at the water, and this is how I occupied my fishing time for most of the remainder of the evening.
Initially I failed on a couple nice sighted fish and spooked a few that I didn’t see soon enough along the edge, but then I noticed one next to a large submerged rock. After a few casts the brown rose and sucked in my caddis in an exciting visual display fifteen feet away. The brown went into a vigorous head shaking and diving routine, but I was able to maintain contact and landed and photographed a fine fish in excess of 15 inches. After this exciting experience my optimism was renewed, and I continued sight fishing but failed to land any more fish. I probably sighted ten fish in total, but could only tempt the one just described to eat my fly. In addition to the caddis I tried a black parachute ant and a predator beetle and then added a hard body ant as a dropper off the beetle. Judging from tail twitches and body movement, several fish noticed the flies but they were rejected.
Three hours of fishing yielded only one fish, but it was a nice one. Stalking large fish in clear water and sight fishing certainly held my interest because I could see my target, and I was challenged to develop strategies for positioning, casting and fly choice.
After hiking back on the Little Hole Trail I returned to Flaming Gorge Resort, obtained my room key, and had a nice dinner at the Flaming Gorge Restaurant next to the fly shop. Sleeping in a warm dry bed was certainly an enjoyable luxury on Saturday night.