Fly Fishing the Mighty Green River

Fly Fishing the Mighty Green River

By Mikey Barrus
July 17, 2017

Thanks to Mend Fly Fishing for contributing to this article.

WARNING: The mighty Green River will spoil you as a fly fisherman.

This river is flat-out amazing. If you’ve never fished it you’d better put it on your bucket list. The only drawback to fly fishing this river is that you’re so zoned in on catching massive, plentiful trout that you miss out on the amazing scenery around you. If you take a minute to stop and look around every now and then, you may see some giant river otters, some pterodactyl-like great blue herons or an Osprey swooping down to snag one one of your fish out of the river. Aside from the wildlife, you are surrounded by enormous red rock cliffs, ponderosa pines and meandering channels lined with willows.

Enticed yet? We haven’t even gotten to the fishing aspect of it! The Green is considered one of the best tailwater fisheries in North America. Listed below are a few other things you ought to know about the Green River.

Know your ABC’s

The Green River is divided up into three sections, and a young Michael Jackson will help you remember their names. The A section begins directly below the Flaming Gorge Dam and goes on for seven miles. The B section begins where the A section ends and runs nine miles. The C section begins where the B section ends at the John Jarvie Ranch and flows for about 14 miles with several take out points along the way if you’re floating the river.

Trout Mecca

The A section holds the most fish — over 100,000 trout! — and because of the clear water, it’s as if you’re looking into an aquarium. The fish on the B section are a little less plentiful but their average size tends to be a bit bigger than those on the A section. That trend continues on the C section. There are many fewer trout, but that is where you will have the chance to catch something trophy-sized.

Wading fisherman

The A section is for you. There is a trail that runs the entire seven miles of the river, allowing you to access countless “honey holes.” It can get you into areas that guides cannot get to in a drift boat. The B section has a trail that follows the river about four miles down from Little Hole (the end of the A section). There is much less traffic on the B section and several deep pools, shallow shelves and back-eddies provide for some excellent fishing.

The crowds

The A section is more crowded than any other part of the river due to the extraordinary scenery. Don’t fret though, the fish are used to the crowds and aren’t typically spooked by the rafts and kayakers. The B section is much less crowded since you have to drive about an hour to get to it, so if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and experience some amazing fishing then this is where you should go. If even a few people is too many, go to the quiet C section and catch a hog of a trout.

Dry fly paradise

The Green River has some of the best dry fly fishing in the world! It is not uncommon to fish a size 8 dry fly and have a massive trout come to the surface to gulp it down. For those of you who may not understand what that means, most rivers have bugs that are pretty small that trout eat (think of a chicken nugget); the Green has massive bugs that the fish feast on (think cheeseburger). Nothing compares to watching a fish come up to the surface to eat a cheeseburger fly that big!

If you’ve read this far and still aren’t planning a trip to the Green, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on what makes for world-class fly fishing. Or maybe you’re just worried that once you go Green, you’ll never be able to go back to your old favorite rivers. It’s a reasonable fear. Whatever you choose, you’ll know where to find me.


Mikey Barrus