Flaming Green Trifecta

Several years ago I stumbled upon Cap’n Jim at www.fishflaminggorge.com who was apparently pulling giant lake trout out of a reservoir in Eastern Utah.  He booked out almost a year in advance so I signed up for his waiting list.  Early this spring he had a cancellation for a Sunday in May, and I bit.  I wrangled Steve-o into this plan and we decided to merge it with two days fly fishing on the Green.  A bit of his specialty and a bit of mine, the adventure was on.

We took off Friday morning heading east and found surprisingly wintry conditions in the high country.  I could tell right away these were perfect conditions for the novice fly fisherman…

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We arrived at Little Hole in the early afternoon.  One nice thing about fly fishing is the leisurely timing – with hatches routinely occurring in the afternoon the morning rush is non existent.  We wadered up and headed upstream.

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It was pretty apparent why this was a good time to be on the river.   IMG_5933a

Steve pulled in fish on dry flies with ease.  I worked on my casting but couldn’t tempt any fish.  As a traditional tackle fisherman I’ve often laughed at fly fisherman standing on a tiny stream where they might be able to spear or simply grab a trout.  This was not that, but standing knee deep in the river casting unsuccessfully at 5 trout feeding voraciously was humbling.

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That evening we pulled into one of Steve’s semi secret camp spots.  It fit the bill perfectly and we got to work setting up camp and cooking some dinner.

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Thought it was the vapors but there actually was a face in the fireIMG_5960a

The next morning we woke up to a camping first for me, snow.  Tent was soaked, gear was wet, and I was pretty scared of what the day floating the river might be like.  Have you ever pooped outside when it was snowing? IMG_5963a

This isn’t really a conversational format, so moving right along.  After arranging a shuttle for the truck, we drove up to the dam and launched the boat.  The view from high above the boat launch was impressive.

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If you see Steve on the river, you should ask him if he made this boat.  It’s pretty.

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Once again, as a traditional tackle fisherman, it kind of blew my mind that i’d be catching fish on this tiny fly.  People routinely throw Rapalas with two or three treble hooks.  But with some finesse and good tension, this little guy below is plenty capable. IMG_5969a

Look, I caught a fish!  IMG_5972a

O, it was pretty fucking cold and rainy.  But we are tough fisherman and that don’t matter. Typing this 3 days later I have regained the vast majority of the feeling in my fingertips.   I spent the day nymphing with good success and occasionally manned the oars so Steve could toss some dry flies.  Steve navigated the rapids with precision

 

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That evening we loaded up the boat and headed northwest to Manila for our next day’s adventure on Flaming Gorge.  The high country between our takeout and destination was plastered in snow.

IMG_5991a We crashed that night in a motel in Manila, no pics, partially because tired, mostly because denial.  Bed bug test was inconclusively negative though, so that’s cool.

 

We woke up early the next morning for our 6am meeting at the boat launch to hunt some giant Lake Trout.

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The morning started off quite promising, little wind and a beautiful sunrise.  But, red sky in the morning…IMG_5997a

Fishing was slow for the most part, with wind and waves making boat control and jig presentation challenging.  I pulled in one little guy in the morning, which was followed by a long, long quiet period.  After several hours of nothing, Steve found his zone and pulled in this guy.  We were quickly reminded how much the day could change with just one monster, but alas, no monsters reared their prehistoric heads.

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In the end we were happy to have fished 3 days in 3 very different ways, all in beautiful places only a few hours from home.  I may be getting a fly rod to match my new fly case, and maybe Steve will come hunt that giant laker again.  Maybe the Flaming Green Trifecta will become a thing.

Thanks for lookin

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