100 Best: Green River, Flaming Gorge
Location: Northeast Utah
Type of stream: Tailwater
Angling methods: Fly, Spin
Species: Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroat
Supporting Services: Dutch John
Short take: Consistent, yes, but don’t count your bugs before they’re hatched
Handicapped Access: Yes, Little Hole
Closest TU Chapter: High Desert Anglers
A lovely 502 foot tall thin concrete arch, Flaming Gorge Dam relies on water pressure from its 90-mile long impoundment of the Green River to keep it in place. Thanks to intakes at multiple depths up stream and a commitment to manage tailwater temperatures in the 40°F to 55°F range, Flaming Gorge on the Green is a world renowned brown, rainbow, and cutthroat fishery.
Almost as dark a green as a bottle for cabernet, for 7.2 miles from the toe of the graceful dam to Little Hole, known as Section A or Red Canyon, the river called the aquarium. It’s so clear you can see 30 pound plus rainbows cruising in depths hard to reach with fly tackle. Nine sets of rapids, none of them much of a challenge to experienced boatmen, break up this run. Most anglers float it because fishing the rapids and rising fish in mid-stream is impossible from the bank. That said, the Little Hole National Recreation Trail follows the north bank from the day use area of the same name.
Downstream, the walls of the canyon give way to rolling terrain with occasional mesas and short stretches of gorge. Trails shadow the river most of the way. The lower end of the middle section of the river can be reached from Indian Crossing. Less than half a mile downstream, lies the first bridge to cross the river below the dam. Unlike in Red Canyon, this is brown trout water. Sediment laden inflows from Red Creek, about five miles downstream from Little Hole are likely to discolor the river.
Most anglers focus on the upper sections, and forego to their disadvantage floats on the 15-mile run from Indian Crossing to the boat ramp at Swinging Bridge. This is great water to fish from a kayak or pontoon boat.