The Glory of Fly Fishing the Green River in Utah

Casting a fly on the Green River's Little Hole is a must-do experience for anglers.
Casting a fly on the Green River's Little Hole is a must-do experience for anglers. Louis Arevalo
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Some outdoor enthusiasts consider fishing the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam a rite of passage. If you are in the Flaming Gorge area and like to fish, even just a little bit, you shouldn’t leave without spending at least one day throwing your line across the blue ribbon waters of the Green River.

Between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the Colorado border, you can access the Green River at three sections. The dam to Little Hole is section A, from Little Hole to Indian Crossing in Browns Park is section B, and from Indian Crossing to the state line, also in Browns Park, is section C. The grade (flow) of the river is highest in section A, moderate in section B, and lowest in C. Similarly, the highest populations of fish are found in A and diminish ever so slightly the farther you get from the dam.

In addition to fishing, the area boasts some excellent hiking trails and campsites. The bottom line: People come here as much to get away from it all as they do for the fish.

Little Hole on the Green River is one of the most popular spots to drop a line.
Little Hole on the Green River is one of the most popular spots to drop a line. Louis Arevalo

What Makes It Great

On a typical day, anglers have the chance to hook brown and rainbow trout along with whitefish. People have been known to reel in carp, a few lucky folks have even landed cutthroat trout. Fishing is limited to lures and artificial flies on this section of the river, and catch and release is the norm, but a limited harvest is allowed. Fish between 13-20 inches must be released. You may keep two fish under 12 inches and one fish over 21 inches, if you are lucky enough.

Little Hole is one of the most well-known spots on the Green River, with a boat ramp is seven miles below the dam that's an ideal spot to hit the river. On foot, you can make your way up and down the scenic canyon to find a perfect spot to cast away. Insect hatches are almost a constant, so be on the lookout for what the fish are eating. Scuds work throughout the year. Blue-winged olive hatches are common in the spring. Cicadas, ants, hoppers, and other dry patterns are good during the summer months.

The Little Hole Trail is a well-used, well-maintained, seven-mile path along the river that runs between the dam and Little Hole. It’s great for fishing access, but it’s also a nice choice for families. So if the kids or significant other are not feeling the angling vibe, they can follow this awesome trail through the grassy banks while you fish. The towering red walls and mature ponderosa pines make a perfect backdrop for seeing river otters in the water and birds of prey soaring high above.

If solitude on the river is what you’re after, you’ll want to make the slow drive down to Browns Park and Indian Crossing Campground. About 24 miles from Dutch John, this idyllic mountain basin offers a completely different vibe than other sections of the Green River. From the campground, follow a trail along the Green River to find a choice spot to cast the line.

In Browns Park, history buffs won't want to miss stopping by the John Jarvie Historic Property for a look back at frontier life in the 19th century. During the summer months, the Bureau of Land Management offers daily tours of the general store, blacksmith shop, stone house, dugout, water wheel, and cemetery.

Fly fishing from a drift boat along the Green River is a magical experience.
Fly fishing from a drift boat along the Green River is a magical experience. Louis Arevalo

What You’ll Remember

It’s hard to forget all the fish that you’ll catch, but even it's harder to forget the scenic landscape in which you caught them. The wildlife, towering red cliffs, ponderosa pines, and grassy shorelines are sure to stay with you long after the fish has been fried. Whether you wade in from the shores or drift the Green River in a boat, These magical waters aren't to be missed.

Who’s Going To Love It

For anyone who fishes, this is a must-do. Solitude seekers will love it too. Or bring along the whole family, as the area works is sure to please all ages.

Directions, Parking, and Regulations

Fishermen can drive directly to Little Hole and then hike up or downstream to some great fishing holes. Many also opt to put in just below the Flying Gorge Dam and float the seven miles down to Little Hole, which is the first takeout spot along the river. Indian Crossing Campground is 24 miles below the dam.

Permits are not required for private boaters from the Flaming Gorge Dam to the Crook Campground and takeout. For river flow information, visit the park service website or call 435-885-3106.

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