The Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a world class trout fishery known in fly fishing circles as one of the most desirable destinations in America. Not widely publicized is the ninety-one mile long reservoir above the dam, which is strikingly beautiful and an extremely prolific fishery. The canyon is made up of red rock cliffs that soar thousands of feet above lake level. These steep walls are dotted by Pinyon Pine and Juniper forests, accented by Aspen groves and Cottonwoods. Soaring Bald Eagles and Ospreys are a common sight, along with mule deer and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. The water is crystal clear, with numerous waterfalls at the creek inlets. Capt. Mike specializes in stalking and sight fishing four main species of fish from his flats skiff. Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow and Mackinaw Trout are available in large numbers, and monster Carp cruise the miles of white sand flats. This is exciting fishing and nicely compliments a day or two of traditional float fishing on the Green River below the Dam.
The 2016 summer season was a wake up call, to say the least. I have been fishing the Green River and the lake for over thirty years. Every season, the most predictable event is the emergence of the iconic Cicada. However, this spring, for some reason, the big bugs that make the top water fishing so spectacular just didn’t show up. It was a major disappointment for everyone. The lake came up so fast in May that the outflow releases were maintained at a rate of 9200 cfs for a period of about five weeks. The river below the dam became a boiling, high water nightmare. A number of boats capsized in Red Creek Rapid and the fishing turned to bottom dredging with nymphs.
The reservoir held up, but the usual topwater bite was spotty. The surface water temps rose so quickly, the fish dropped out before the few big bugs had established themselves. Good smallies and rainbows were landed, but deep water patterns were required. We had all gotten slightly spoiled, I guess.
This year, steps have been taken to mitigate the dam releases, and if the bugs hatch as usual, I am confident that the top water fishing will return to normal. Dates for the 2017 season will be filling up fast, starting in mid-May. Call Mike at 602-617-9735 or email@example.com.