Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Green River In Utah
The Green River Tailwater below Flaming Gorge Dam is
one of the top tailwater fly fishing destinations in the
West. It is located in a remote area of Northeastern Utah
but it is fairly close to Salt Lake City. The river has a
very good population of brown, rainbow and cutthroat
trout. Fly Fishing the Green River in Utah is a completely
different experience than fishing it in Wyoming.
The Flaming Gorge Dam is something to behold itself. It
is about 300 feet high which means the bottom
discharge of water is always cold. Below the dam the
scenery is spectacular. The Green River flows through a
very Red Canyon.
There is an eleven mile long trail that follows along one
side of the river in the Red Rock Canyon. You can fish
along the bank the entire way but wading is very limited
even during periods of low water. The river is best fished
from a drift boat. The water consist of deep pools with
fast moving water between fast water runs and riffles.
There are three main sections broken up such that each
one can be a separate drift boat trip. There are launch
and take out areas at each of the three locations. By far
the most popular section is the one just below the dam..
The first section is called section "A" and is about seven
miles long. The reason is popular is two fold. It has the
largest population of trout and it is the most scenic
section. It is enclosed by the canyon walls.
Section two or section "B" as some call it, is about nine
miles long and contains some very large trout. Part of it
is in the canyon and part of it flows through more open
The lower section, called section "C", is about 12 miles
long and has several launch ramps. It is the least fished
section but still provides some great fly fishing
Fly fishing the Green River in Utah is quite different from
most fly fishing destinations. After fishing the canyon,
anglers have a common word used to describe their
adventure - beauty. They can't get over the beauty of
the canyon and the clear water.
There's no shortage of wildlife along the river. Bighorn
sheep, mountain goats, moose, mule deer, black bear,
beavers, muskrat, bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey
and others animals and birds also add to the value of a
Green River fishing trip.
Another feature of fly fishing the Green River is that it
can be fished year-round. The water temperature of the
discharge stays about the same throughout the year.
This offers anglers an opportunity to fish when most of
the other trout streams in the western states are closed.
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
You can fish the river year-round provided
you can get there. The roads are
sometimes closed during bad weather days.
The fishing can be good during the winter
since the water stays a constant
Springtime is an excellent time to fish the
Fly Fishing Guide to the Green River,
Flaming Gorge in Utah
Fly fishing the Green River below Flaming
Gorge depends on the season and flows.
They vary by season but are basically stable
each day.The river is basically divided into
three sections, mainly because of the access
areas and put in's and take out's. The first
section, which is about 7 miles long called
section A by some, is the most popular and it
carries the largest population of trout. Its
entirely within the Red Canyon. The second
section, called section B is about 9 miles
long. It doesn't have quite the population of
the upper section but still has plenty of trout
and some very large ones. About half of this
section is within the Red canyon. The third
section, or section C, is about 12 miles long
with several launch ramps. It is the least
popular section and hold the least fish per
mile but is still good fishing water. There is
one notable tributary, the Red Creek, and it
flows into the Green River with muddy water
at times, making the lower section unfishable
when this occurs.
The upper part of Section A is generally flat
and deep with mostly a smooth surface but it
also has some areas of class 11 and 111
rapids. It's almost always extremely clear. It
has mostly rainbows but also browns,
cutthroat and some hybrids.
The lower part of section A, has some
good wading water with some pocket water
and shallow riffles. It also has some rapids.
Section B is dominated by browns with
fewer rainbows, cutthroats and some
hybrids. It runs from Little Hole to Indian
Crossing at Brown's Park. The canyon
widens out and the water slows slow some.
This is where Red Creek enters which can
muddy the water after a heavy rain. This
section contains some class 111 rapids.
This is a good area to wade with some
pocket water and some flats.
Section C may hold the largest fish but the
fishing is considered inconsistent. It loses
it's canyon and the surrounding terrain
levels out, making windy day as big factor in
fishing this area. It's easy to wade this
section and it also makes for a comfortable
float with less traffic and pressure from
Green River (Flaming Gorge)
Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Green River and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call.
We not only will help you with selections,
you will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies,
92% of the thousands of our customers will
use nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
Tailwaters get their aquatic insects from the
original stream or river that was damed. In
this case, the Flaming Gorge Dam formed a
large reservoir that lies in both Utah and
Wyoming. The discharge is from the cold
water in the bottom of the lake. That
changed some of the aquatic insects in the
stream below the dam from that of what
once lived in a warmer river for most of the
year. Even so, the Green River has a
unique and diverse aquatic insect
population. The hatches change depending
on the distance you are fishing below the
Most of the insects are midges and scuds.
There are also some mayflies, stoneflies
and caddisflies. Over the years, there have
been more and more of these. The first
mayfly and the most abundant mayfly is the
Blue-winged Olive. They start to hatch in
late March and peak in late April and early
May. The hatch ends in late May. These are
bi-brooded and hatch again in September,
October and early November.
Pale Morning Duns hatch start hatching in
June and last on into mid August. Tricos
hatch in late July, August and September,
mostly in the lower section of the river.
Little Winter Stoneflies start showing up in
March and last into the first of May. Golden
Stonflies hatch in June and last into mid
July. Little Yellow Stoneflies are also
present. They start hatching in June and
last well into August. These are called
Yellow Sallies by most anglers.
American Grannoms, or Little Black Caddis,
start hatching in April. There are more than
one species and the hatch last on into
August, depending on the section of the
river you are fishing. It isn't normally a heavy
hatch except for a short period of time in
Scuds and sowbugs are among the most
plentiful trout foods found in the tailwater.
Trout feed on them year-round.
Minnows, baitfish and sculpin are in all
sections of the Green River. Streamers are
effective all year on the Green River, but
especially during the fall spawning time of
the brown trout which peaks in November.
Craneflies start appearing in April and last
for at least six months. We have imitations
of their larvae and the adults.
The terrestrial insects along the banks of
the Green River tailwater consist mostly of
beetles, crickets, grass hoppers, Mormon
Crickets, ants and Cicadas. The Cicadas
hatch begins in the middle of May most
years and stretches well into June.
Grasshoppers, ants and beetles start
showing up along the banks in late June.
Trout can be caught on imitations of them
on into early October.
We recommend our "Perfect Flies", not only
because they are the most realistic of all
the insects and other trout food, but also
because they are the most effective flies to
use to catch trout. Our canefly, scuds,
sowbugs imitations are far superior to any.
Our caddisflies, such as the Great Gray
Spotted Sedge, are unique to the species
and perform far better than generic
caddisfly imitations. If you haven't already
tried "Perfect Flies", then we certainly hope
you will do so. We are confident that you
will find them very effective on the Green
Spotted Sedges will show up in April and
last all the way to September. The hatch
peaks in July. Their Little Sisters are also
present. They start hatching in May and
last until August. Green Sedges are fairly
plentiful. They start hatching in July and
last on into the first of October. Trout can
be taken on imitations of their larvae, or the
Green Rock Worm, year-round. You will
find some Great Gray Spotted Sedges on
the lower river in July and August.
Summertime can be crowded with
non-anglers especially on weekends but the
fishing can be okay along the banks.
The autumn season is an excellent time to
fish the tailwater.
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The river is in good
shape in all sections, a, b and c.
Our customers are catching trout
and in good numbers and sizes.
For some reason, this past week
has been better. We are
wondering why because the
conditions seem to be almost
identical. The brown trout are
taking the Brown sculpin streamers
very well. They are nearing the
pre-spawn stage. Keep track of the
latest information by clicking the
above link to our Green River
Map of Green River
Fishing Report Headline Archive:
Click Here For the Current Green River Fishing Report
10/13/15 It doesn't get any better than this. Good stream flows and great fall weather equals
good fly fishing opportunity. Few anglers fishing doesn't hurt. Other than midges, streamers
and aquatic worms are catching trout. Scuds will always catch trout.
10/20/15 It is turning much cooler on the Green tailwater, but that makes little difference in
water temperature. It does affect the sections B and C to some extent. Aquatic worms seem
to be the ticket at this time, but midges and little BWO nymphs are working as well.
Remember, there are three basic areas that are different in respect to the food available for
the trout to eat. The insects and/or other foods change as you go downstream, so there's
no one way to fish the river.
10/27/15 Anglers have been doing well on the brown trout lately and continuing to do better
fishing the middle and lower sections of the Green. Aquatic worms are working well along
with scuds. Our Brown Sculpin is working great on the brown trout as well as the rainbows.
The flows have continued to average a little higher than normal.
11/03/15 The weather is finally getting a little colder and there is some snow in the forecast
for a change. It will have little to no effect on the water and/or the trout, but it will the anglers
fishing for them. Midges and small BWOs are still the main insects to imitate as usual.
Streamers, especially the Brown Sculpin, are working as well or better than anything. They
work best under low light situations.
11/10/15 The weather has finally turned a little chilly. There is snow in the forecast for
today, but clearing by morning. That only affect the fishers, not the fish. The colder weather
can have some affect on the water temperature in the B and C sections, but very little in
section A. It is midges and more midges, in so far as the flies you need to use. Streamers
like the Brown Sculpin should continue to work.
11/17/15 Stream flows have been up lately due to rain/snow in the headwaters above the
lake. They should stabilize back to normal levels for this time of the season very soon. We
didn't get any reports from anyone fishing the past week, but it should have been decent.
Blue-winged olives in two sizes are still hatching and of course, there's plenty of midge
hatches going on. The hot fly has been the Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin streamer.
11/24/15 We did get one good report from a customer fishing this past week. The river is in
good shape and just a couple of degrees colder. Midges seem to be working best at this
time but that is relatively normal for this time of the season. Fish the larva fly on the bottom
and the pupa imitations up the tippet about 12 to 16 inches. The Brown Sculpin streamer fly
has also produced very well.
11/01/15The air and water temperature on the Green river tailwater is colder than it has
been. This is normal, of course. It does mean you best odds of success is fishing midges.
Some of the guide use aquatic worm imitations successfully. We always recommend fishing
the midge larva and pupa in tandem, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa up the tippet
about a food. There is also a lot of small BWO nymphs in the river.
12/08/15 We recommend fishing the upper section or section "A" at this time. Midges and
aquatic worms are working the best. Little BWO nymphs, size 20 and 18, will also work good.
Under low light conditions, the Brown and White Belly Sculpin Streamers has been working
good. Most anglers are fishing the midge nymphs and larva in tandem using strike
indicators. Just keep the larva as near the bottom as possible without hanging.
12/15/15 It has turned cold in Green River country. There is a winter storm warning in effect
through tomorrow. You may want to wait a day or two about fishing. The water temperature
will not be affected in the section A or upper part of the river. It will stay about the same
temperature. The anglers fishing will be affected. Conditions will improve later this week.
12/22/15 There is a winter storm warning in effect at this time and the roads could be a
problem. Otherwise, fishing should be good. Midges and San Juan Worms should continue
to be the main flies to focus on. Streamers should also work good with all the cloud cover.
Most of the action has been in the A section. The discharges have average a high level and
will most likely continue being high at times.
12/29/15 The weather is finally turning cold in Green River country. It has been a warm fall
but in this case, the weather affect the fishers far more than the fish. The water temperature
is Sections B and C can be affected. We think section A is the best right now. Midges and
aquatic worms are the choice flies. There has been a lot of rain upstream so you need to
watch the discharges.
01/05/16 As mentioned in the fishing report linked above, the weather is warming back up a
little. This will make it much better on the anglers fishing but won't affect the trout. Midges,
aquatic worms, scuds and little BWO nymphs will represent most of the food you should be
imitating. Of those, midges are the most important in our opinion. Fish the pupa and larva in
tandem with the larva the bottom fly.
01/12/16 The Green River is one of the most popular fly fishing destinations in the nation
during the winter months. One reason is, the temperature of the water coming from the
bottom discharge is always the same temperature. You do want to fish the "A" or upper
section of the river near the dam. The further you fish downstream, the colder the water will
get. Midges are still the most productive flies.
01/19/16 This probably reads like the same old advice, but the closer you fish to the dam,
the warmer the water is. That means section A should be the first choice. Midges, fished in
tandem, with the pupa the top fly and the larva the bottom fly, is the setup that is working
best. Winter stonefly nymphs also produce well.
01/26/16 The weather looks pretty good but there is a chance of rain or snow on Saturday.
Aquatic worms will work most of the time, but midges will always work. Cream and Red (or
blood midges) are working well with the larva and pupa imitations fished in tandem. When
you see midge clusters on the surface, fish the adults.
02/02/16 The weather is turning much colder this coming week but that has little to no effect
on the trout, only the anglers fishing for them. We do recommend you fish section A and
near the dam. That is where you will find the warmest water. The river is pulsing, so be sure
to check the discharge schedule and river levels. Midges, aquatic worms and little BWO
nymphs are still the main insects to imitate.
02/09/16 The weather is going to be a little warmer than last week's deep freeze. That will
make it a little more comfortable for those fishing. The best section will still be the A section
because it has slightly warmer water coming fro the bottom discharge. They are pulsing the
discharges. Streamers are good flies to use on the higher discharges. Midges are the best
on the low discharges.
02/16/16 The warmer weather, although still not warm, is going to bring the water
temperature up a couple of degrees in the middle and lower sections of the river. That can
make a big difference. Midges and aquatic worms are still the most important insects to
imitate. Around the first of March, you will begin to see more light green midges than creams.
02/23/16 The discharges continue to pulse up and down. Midges, creams, reds, light
greens, fish with the pupa the top fly and the larva the bottom fly continues to work. Aquatic
worms are also working good. It is snowing today but will be clear for the next week.
03/01/16 The weather is going to be nice and warm and a good time to fish the Green River
tailwater. Midges will still be the main insect to imitate but trout are being caught on aquatic
worms and little Blue-winged olive nymphs. Sculpin streamers are also working good.
03/08/16 Conditions are great for fly fishing the Green river tailwater. The discharges and
stream levels are low. Sight fishing is even possible. Midges as always are important but
scuds, little Blue-winged olives, Sculpin and aquatic worms are also important foods to
imitate. We still think section A is the best choice as to where to fish.
03/15/16 Very good condtions continue to exist on the Green and our customers are
reporting that they are catching plenty of trout. Midges, as almost always, are the insect you
should imitate and the Light Greens are being to show up some. Most of them are still
Cream midges and the size 22 is working the best. The warmer weather has made it more
comfortable on anglers but has affected the water and/or trout very little.
03/22/16 We got some reports from anglers fishing this past week that didn't do well at all
and reported none of the guides were catching any trout. The problem is no one seems to
know why. Conditions appeared to be fine. We think this is just a matter of time with the right
people fishing or at least that is our best guess.
03/29/16 The reports are better than last week, with two customers walking and wading
reporting catching some nice trout. Fish the uppermost section "A". The lower two sections
have not been doing well for some reason. MIdges, sculpin streamers, early and late, and
small BWO nymphs are producing well. Light snow is forecast through tomorrow.
04/07/16 The weather is going to get a little warmer as the week goes by. There is a little
snow falling today but no other precipitation should take place until Saturday, when there is
a slight chance of rain. Sculpin streamers are working early and late. Aquatic worms are
working good and so are light Green midge larva and pupa fished in tandem.
04/12/16 It seems like there is a lag in the great reports we normally give for the Green
River but not really. When fishing is considered poor, it is usually better than most anywhere
else in the nation. Trout are being caught but just not in high numbers. Two customers of
ours reported decent catches but were not impressed. The guides that normally fish there
have also been complaining.
04/19/16 The Green is fishing as good as it has in the last couple of month. The water is
almost the same temperature except the middle and lower sections are warming up some.
They are producing trout for the first time in a few weeks that compares with section A.
Midges, but a lot more of them light green than reds or creams, are still the main food to
04/26/16 We received some good reports this past week form the Green and some fish
were caught in the middle and lower sections of the river. it is going to be colder this coming
week with lots of rain and snow, and we think the section "A" will be the best section as it
usually has been the past two months. Aquatic worms, and light Green midge larva and
pupa have been working good.
05/03/16 A customer caught a lot of trout this past week and some even on the surface in
spite of the cooler weather. That was in section "B" and on Blue-winged olive duns. Those
mayflies like cloudy weather and will hatch on some of the worst days. There are also a lot
of midges with more light greens showing up. Streamers, like our White Belly Sculpin work
great in low light conditions.
05/10/16 I think I have used this expression before, but never the less, this tailwater is
weather=proof. The weather doesn't seem to affect it much at all. It affect the anglers
fishing, but the trout stay happy all the time and eat all the time. There will be a few more
hatching beginning in the near future, but for now, it is midges and more midges.
05/17/16 Many think you can't fish the Green tailwater without a boat. That's not correct.
Some think a guide is necessary. That isn't correct. You won't get lost. Many think it is highly
technical fly fishing. It isn't. Many don't like the crowded conditions. It is rarely crowded and
when it is, it makes little difference.
05/23/16 The discharges and stream levels remain very low. It is a good time to wade and
fish the Green river. Anglers are catching trout in all three sections of the river. Blue-winged
olives and midges continue to hatch good. Rainbows are spawning in some sections, so
please avoid their redds.
05/31/16 All three sections have been producing trout. The bright skies usually cause some
problems with generic flies. The more realistic the fly, the better your odds of success. The
trout get a good look at it in the low, clear water with the bright skies. You need to make
longer than normal presentations as well. Stream levels and discharges are low.
06/07/16 The stream levels is very high due to very high discharges. They have to keep
lowering the lake to handle the large amount of runoff water from the upper Green river and
its tributaries. This may continue for a while, but you never know. You just have to keep
checking the levels.
06/14/16 The discharges are extremely high and the resulting stream levels high. In addition
to that, the area is under a flood warning at least everyday through Friday. There is unlikely
to be any fly fishing options this coming week. You will just have to keep checking back with
06/20/16 The discharges are still very high, high enough to continue the flood advisory
below the dam. This will continue most of the coming week. They have to get the lake back
down to normal and it is still being filled with runoff watr from the river and all of its
tributaries. There is no opportunity for fly fishing the river now and it is likely to remain that
way all week. The runoff is getting near the end.
06/27/16 The discharges from the dam are still very high and likely to remain that way for a
few more days. The lake has been being filled with runoff water from the main Green river
and lately, with a lot of rain. There is rain in the forecast everyday for the coming week. Drift
boat anglers can fish but it isn't exactly easy with the fast current. The river is too high to
wade safely in most areas.
07/05/16 The discharges and stream levels are getting about normal. It is still just a little
above normal but fine for the drift boats. Sections A, B and C are in decent shape. Spotted
Sedges, or caddisflies, are hatching. We expect conditions to get even better within the next
few days. We didn't receive any reports from this past week but we have customers who will
be fishing this coming week.
07/12/16 The discharges and stream levels are finally down to a near normal level. This is
going to improve the conditions greatly. Sections A, B, and C should be in good shape this
coming week. We had one good report from the past weekend. There are still some BWO
hatching along with Spooted sedge caddis. Aquatic worms continue to work as well as
07/26/16 The discharges and flows are staying steady. There are lot of Pale Morning duns
hatching. The weather is going to be warmer this coming week but that will effect the upper
part of the river, or section "A". little to none. The lower section could get a little on the warm
side. We received two good reports this past week from customers.
08/02/16 All three sections are in good shape with trout being caught in good numbers by
some anglers and others not doing so good. We recommend the upper two sections. There
are still plenty of little BWOs (non-baetis) hatching and small BWO nymphs will produce
trout for you. Midges and aquatic worms are still doing okay.
08/09/16 Section "A" continues to be the best section to fish but all three are in decent
shape. Aquatic worms, midges and little tiny blue-winged olives are the main aquatic insects
to imitate. We had two good reports from customers this past week. They were using Brown
sculpin streamers in the early mornings and little BWO nymphs most of the day.
08/16/16 As mentioned in the linked report, the tailwater is in good shape and those that
are fishing are catching plenty of trout but that's only a few anglers. The headwaters of most
western streams are in good shape and anglers are favoring them right now. Fish section
"A". Aquatic worms, sculpin streamers like our Matuka patterns, and little BWO nymphs, size
20 and 18 work good.
08/23/16 Not that it makes much difference in the fishing opportunity, but the weather is
remaining cooler than it has been. There's a small chance of rain most days and that means
cloud cover and that does make a difference. Spotted sedge (cadddisflies) and little Sister
caddisflies are hatching good. Aquatic worms and sculpin streamers are also working good.
08/30/16 Our customers are reporting some very good catches for what is normally
reported as the dog days. Midges and scuds have been the main foods to imitate. Cream
and Red or blood midges, with the larva and pupa fished in tandem, has worked very good.
The discharges and stream levels have been good most of the time. Early morning streamer
fishing with out Sculpin patterns is also working good.
09/06/16 We didn't get any reports from customers this past week. Most were fishing the
upper tailwater in Wyoming. The river is in good shape, and trout are being caught in
decent numbers. Mostly midges and aquatic worms are being used but there are still some
size 20 Blue-winged olives hatching along with some small size Spotted sedge caddis and
Little sister caddis in the lower section.
09/13/16 Two good reports from the past week indicates the river has been doing well.
Sculpin streamers did it again. The cloud cover really helps the streamer fishing, otherwise,
fish early and late in the day. There are some larger baetis Blue-winged olives starting to
hatch along with the two species of caddisflies. Normally, scuds work well at this time of the
09/20/16 All three sections of the river are producing trout for the few that are fishing. I
guess school starting and football season as well as hunting season keeps the numbers of
anglers down. It sure has nothing to do with the quality of the fishing. It is usually very good
during the late summer and early fall. Midges, aquatic worms and sculpin streamers are
09/27/16 The river is almost always in good shape unless it is a Spring time flood. Midges
are almost always a sure bet to catch trout. When the "catching" gets tough, tie on a size 22
cream midge larva and pupa imitation in tandem, and hold on. That seems to be the best
setup lately. There are still a few little BWOs showing up but midges and aquatic worms are
the best options.
10/03/16 We dislike reporting it, but the fishing has disappointed most anglers that have
fished for about the past two weeks. Few trout are being caught from the wading section or
by drift boat. A few have been taken on terrestrials and actually, that is usually not a good
sign. Midges and tiny BWOs are hatching but for some reason, the catching has been lousy.
10/11/16 Conditions are much the same as last week but we can report that one customer
did catch several nice rainbows this past week in section "A". The "catching" has been off
according to everyone lately but hopefully, that was short lived. The fish are in a transition
in from summer to winter or fall patterns.