One Fly. One Day. Green River.

Travis Gillespie caught the most fish (22), using a small brown ant pattern.

by Randy Scholfield

Dutch John, Utah— Fly anglers often have their vests crammed with fly boxes full of every imaginable size and pattern when spending a day on the water. But what happens when you’re forced to choose a single fly for the entire day?

That was the challenge at Trout Unlimited’s sixth annual Utah Single Fly tournament held Friday, Sept. 19 on the legendary Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam, where 11 teams of four anglers each (and 20 guides) competed for bragging rights and a chance to give a boost to TU’s trout habitat and river conservation work in Utah.

“The goal is for everyone to have fun—and we do. Fishing the Green is a dream come true for many anglers,” said Dave Kumlien, event coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “But the Single Fly also raises money for worthy conservation programs that improve fishing opportunities for Utah anglers. It’s important to give back to these special places—that gives everyone at the tournament a good feeling, too.”

The basic rules: Each angler gets to choose one fly for the day—and if you lose it, you’re finished. Each team is scored on how many trout they catch and release, with additional points based on two measured fish and bonus points for trophy trout of 20 inches or larger.

The beautiful Green River is always the star of the event, and this year was no different, with the crystal-clear waters brimming with healthy browns and rainbows.

The fishing for this year’s Single Fly was challenging. Hatches were sporadic and the weather bright and sunny. Still, patient and perseverant anglers found some willing fish here and there with the most productive technique being fishing the dry fly.  The best dry fly pattern was the ant, and the top angler, Travis Gillespie, used a brown ant pattern to catch and release 22 Green River trout. 

The goal of the event was to raise $50,000 to benefit TU’s conservation projects in Utah. TU is currently working across Utah on to remove obstacles and reconnect stretches of rivers to allow trout to freely move from mainstem reaches into small tributaries, which serve as important spawning and rearing habitat. TU also is spearheading a campaign to protect the Green, which has been threatened by the Million pipeline proposal and other water development schemes.

“This event reflects who we are as an organization,” said Kumlien. “Trout Unlimited is made up of grassroots anglers who like to have fun fishing and also want to preserve some of our best places—like the Green—for future generations of anglers.”

For more information about next year’s event, contact Dave Kumlien at


2014 Utah Single Fly Results

Among the award highlights:

The First Place Team was Edge Homes (Herb Patterson, Spencer Higa, Travis Gillespie, and Jed Stewart) with 184 combined points. They were guided by Ben Somsen and Dave Dibblee.

In the award for Largest Trout, Calvin Hazelwood of the Wyoming Bucking Fish team won with a trout of 20 inches among a large group of anglers who managed to catch 20-inchers. 

Travis Gillespie of Edge Homes caught the most trout, landing 22 fish during the day.

Mike Jensen nabbed the Bird Dog award (best fly save) for continuing to fish after breaking his rod three times—he continued to fish with just the rod tip.  The “gods of fishing” continued to watch over Mike as the $20 raffle ticket he purchased was drawn as a winner. Mike won a 9-foot, 5 weight Mystic fly rod, a Ross reel and Cortland line, an LL Bean vest, a beautiful fly-fishing photo, and two TU fishing shirts.

Lance Egan of the Cabelas team won the dubious honor of Biggest Loser by breaking off his fly earlier than anyone, at 9:45 a.m. Lance has won top angler in three previous Utah Single Fly events, and when presented with the “Biggest Loser” award, took the mike and announced that he was “4 for 4.”  Lance works for Cabelas and is an international fly fishing competitor of note. TU was fortunate to have Cabelas make a $2,500 donation of merchandise to the 2014 UTSF and enter a team. 

The Bomar Tipton Award (for the guide with the most points for his boat) went to Dave Dibblee, who guided the Edge Homes team to a top team score of 184. Dave’s father Bob Dibblee, former president of the Utah TU Council and Park City team member, presented his son Dave with the award.

Randy Scholfield is TU's communications director for the Southwest region.



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