The Green River Below Flaming Gorge Is Where They Coined The Word Epic

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All Photos by Tim Romano

All Photos by Tim Romano

by Johnny Spillane, photos by Tim Romano

If you have never fished the Green River below Flaming Gorge, its time to check it out.

Romano-6059Located in the northeast corner of Utah, the Green River is one of the premier tailwaters in the country. The river flows through a beautiful red rock canyon with towering cliffs suspended high above the water and with close to 13,000 fish per mile its hard to have a bad day.  The Green is best appreciated from a boat, but wade fisherman can also equally enjoy the river from the shore. There are three main sections of this tailwater.  The A, B and C sections are separated by mere miles, but can fish very different depending on the time of year and Ill go through each section independently.

The A Section.

Romano-6968At 7 miles in length this is a true tailwater, with consistent flows and gin clear cold water, bug life is a little limited in its diversity but the fish are always active.  Midges, Baetis and Caddis are the primary insects but due to the arid climate, there are always a plethora of terrestrials in the summer. The Baetis hatches in the spring is both world famous and frustrating at the same time.

Romano-7496The river can be blanketed with bugs and it looks like its boiling with all the fish on the surface, but the fish are ultra picky. Going smaller with your tippet is always a good bet and switching from a dun to a cripple can sometimes be the ticket.  About the second to third week of May we start seeing Cicadas.  In my opinion, this is the best fishing in the country.  50 fish days can be the norm and 100 fish days happen from time to time.  This is dry fly fishing at its pinnacle. Big bugs and big angry fish smack these monster terrestrials with a recklessness that will make your heart race. Having said that, cold weather and rain will put them down so look for multiple day of hot, sunny weather.

If your planning on floating this section on your own, there are a few things to keep in mind.  

Romano-8149There is not a lot of whitewater, but there are two rapids in particular to pay attention to.  Bridge rapid, about 3 miles in, is very easy as long as you go right.  If you go left, your going to lose your boat.  Don’t do left.   Mother-in-Law rapid is about five miles down and has one big rock that’s easy to avoid if your paying attention but a few boats are pinned on it every year, so make sure to ask the fly shop staff for detailed instructions.

The B Section


The B section of the Green is my favorite, 11 miles of river that starts in a huge canyon and gradually descends to open terrain, this section of the river offers it all.  In the upper miles, it is simialir to the A section but as you get lower it widens and slows.


The fish are generally a bit bigger, a bit fewer and a bit less critical of your presentation. When the A section is packed with recreational floaters, guides and weekend warriors, the B section is a great way to get away from the crowds.  The shuttle is a pain in the ass, but the effort is almost always worth it.  As with the A section, it is an easy section to row with one exception.  Red Creek rapid, located about 5 miles down is worth taking time to scout.  River left is the easiest way to go, especially at low water. You have to make a couple of easy moves, but you will want to look at it before you run it.


The C section

Romano-2839The C section of the Green holds some monster trout. It does not have the same fish count as the upper sections of the river, but it can provide good terrestrial action all summer long.  The river is wide and slow and working the banks from a boat is your best bet. Try ants, beetles and anything else with foam.  Windy sunny days are your best bet and don’t be surprised if you hook into something that kicks your ass, breaks your line and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened!

Special thanks to Tim Romano for the awesome photos!


Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 7.03.26 PMFor guides, Lodging, fishing reports and more go to Trout Creek Flies 

Tight lines,

Johnny Spillane

Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “The Green River Below Flaming Gorge Is Where They Coined The Word Epic

  1. Watched the video (video tape, remember?) on the Green from Jim & Kelly Watt decades ago. Was amazed by the clarity and the scenery of the Green.
    Hope to fish it one day.

  2. Fished A-B a few years back on a 12 day DIY Westerly Excursion. An absolutely beautiful float trip. Like being on another planet.

    For the DIY guys out there; Utah requires life vests at all times while in a boat, so spend the extra coin and get a Fishing Life vest. Also A-B or B-C is about a 2.5 hour round trip shuttle. Use the local fly shops for shuttle.

  3. I fished with Trout Creek a while back and they do not disappoint as the shop is loaded with great gear and a knowledgably staff. Beautiful waters and tons of fish make this trek to the Green a must do on the bucket list !

  4. Just fished this river last week. Plenty of caddis this time of the year. Fishing was outstanding, but no where near 50-100 fish day as noted. Does a full moon have an affect on fish feeding during the day? Still a fantastic and memorable fishery to this date.

  5. I have been fishing the Green every year for a week since 1988. There is always good fishing sometimes great. I have gone with Trout Creek the whole time. Excellent group of guides. We are headed there Friday for our yearly trip. We quit coming in May because they always seemed to know when we got there and had their flush of very high water. Super place to fish very visual lots of chances to watch fish and learn.

  6. Actually the A to B ( Damn to Little Hole) is only about a 30 to 45 minute shuttle. The B to C is a couple hours at best.

  7. Being a Utah resident I’ve had many an opportunity to fish the Green, and it can be as advertised in this article. However, the summertime weekend crowds on the A Section can be insane and are best avoided. For that matter, weekend crowds most anytime of year will have you dodging boats all day and ‘angling’ for that sweet spot to cast to risers. The B and C are wonderful alternatives and you can sleep out on the river for a multi-day trip. Worth the awful shuttle (both length and cost).

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