Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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UT: Great spring fishing on the Green River

Vernal – About 15,000 trout per mile are found in the first
eight miles of the Green River below Flaming Gorge dam.

The large number of trout-and the stunning and breathtaking
scenery you’ll see-make the Green one of the best places in the
country to fish for trout.

And spring is the prefect time to fish it.

Matt McKell, a fisheries biologist with the Utah Division of
Wildlife Resources, says if you come to the Green in the spring,
you won’t have to fight crowds like you do in the summer.

“During summer, the river is used heavily,” McKell says, “not
only by anglers, but also river rafters.”

If you’re a fly angler, another reason to fish the river in
spring are some of the major “hatches” that occur, including the
hatch of mayflies, like the blue-wing olive. Also, depending on the
year, the well-known cicada hatch often happens for a brief period
in late spring or early summer.

McKell says when the cicada hatch happens “the river seems to
boil with trout as they go into a feeding frenzy over the large,
irresistible bugs.”

Trout will willingly take large dry-fly imitations during the
cicada hatch. Late spring is also a great time to fish streamers,
such as woolly buggers and leeches.

Not just for fly anglers

McKell says a common misconception about the Green River is that
you have to be a fly angler to fish it. “While it’s true that
flyfishing is the most popular way to fish the Green,” he says,
“flyfishing is not the only way to fish the river.”

McKell says the Green River does have special fishing
regulations (for example, you may only use artificial flies and
lures), but those regulations are not intended to exclude non-fly

“In other words,” McKell says, “if you prefer fishing with
spinners, jigs or other artificial lures, you can fish the Green
River-just make sure your tackle meets the definition of
‘artificial lure’ in the 2011 Utah Fishing Guidebook.”

The definition is found on page 66 of the guidebook. The free
guidebook is available at

McKell says casting crankbaits is a great way to catch trout in
the river. Cast deep-running crankbaits in slow, deep runs and
shallow runners in shallow, quicker water.

“Hair jigs are a great option, too,” he says. “They can be
especially deadly for rainbows.”

Boat or walk

One way to fish the river is by drift boat-you can bring your
own, rent one from a local outfitter or hire a local guide.

But a boat isn’t required.

You can also hike several miles of riverside trail and fish from
shore, or hike the trails and then wade the shallower areas of the

The seven-mile “Little Hole Trail” parallels the river all the
way from the spillway to Little Hole. Once you reach Little Hole,
you’ll find a couple more miles of trail below it.

“There are lots of ways to get to the fish in the river,” McKell

Learn more

If you’ve never been to the Green River, don’t let that stop you
from making the trip. “Plenty of help-from local fly shops to
professional guide services to online resources-are available to
get you on the river with the right equipment at the right time,”
McKell says.

Abundant food and lodging are also available in the area.

You can read updated fishing reports for the Green River at

Don’t spread disease

Before stepping into the Green River-or right after stepping out
of the water at the end of the day-don’t forget to clean your boat,
boots, waders and other gear.

Doing so will help ensure that disease, invasive species and
other unwanted organisms aren’t moved from one water body in Utah
to another.


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