It's tough to feel like I'm starting from scratch after finally feeling confident fishing many of the streams in my area. But this is the year I tried to tackle the mighty Green River below Flaming Gorge. It's the only floatable river in Utah that holds trout. And though there is debate about just how staggeringly big the number of resident trout is per mile, everyone agrees that it's incredible. But even with an estimated 15,000 trout per mile from the dam to little hole, the fishing can be challenging for someone new to the Green river.
Fishing from a drift boat or raft has it's own learning curve.
Trial #1 - Rapids
The Big Ten of the A section range from class I to III rapids depending on the flows. I've floated it from 800cfs to 2000 cfs and they are all totally doable. Advice from pros is that novice rowers should avoid flows > 4,000cfs.
The main rapid to watch out for is Mother in Law.
Our 14 foot raft was loaded with Lance on the Bow, me on the rear turret and Peter on the oars. We figured the upper sections are easiest so Peter could try his hand at the oars. Although Pete is a two time Olympian in cross country skiing and a two time Olympic ski coach, this was his first time rowing a raft and floating a river.
1 - Anticipation - this one is to be taken down the middle. Once Peter figured out how to back row and slow us down he was able to line us up for this easy rapid. We did a lot of spinning, not quite like a top but there were a few 270 degree washing machine moves as Pete tried to keep our nose pointed downstream.
2 - Little Steamboat - Just when Peter seemed to be getting the hang of things, came the steam boat ( kind of sail boat shaped to me). Lance and I were gesticulating and directing Peter away from the rock. Back row, away from the rock! But we kept drifting toward it. At one point Peter rowed furiously directly upstream keeping us paused in place. The Green is a huge river and we just need to dodge one big rock. Peter gets his rhythm and we make it to the eddy below the rapid to take a break and wade fish. Peter turned the oars over to me and he manned the Yeti brimming with cold beers and took some great photos of our trip.
I enjoyed rowing the next three rapids. The easiest routes were toward the right side.
3 - Bridge Rapid - it has an obvious downstream V to guide the raft down.
4 - Roller Coaster - had a nice wave train that splashed the bow quite a bit.
5 - Diving Board - at 800cfs, there was a bit of a drop off, but at 1800cfs it was pretty smooth.
Lance took over for the rest of the river, because he wasn't catching anything from the boat.
6 - Skinny Dip
7 - Mother In Law - at low flows like 800cfs the big rock that sits mid river is pretty obvious. STAY LEFT! It looks like you can go right but there are submerged rocks that drive you into the big rock broad-side and flip you. This was Lance's second time running this rapid and he made it look easy to clear the channel on the left and then put us in the eddy below to fish the big pocket just below the big rock.
8 - Dead Man
9 - Dripping Spring
10 - Can of Worms
Bonus - Upper Ramp Riffle - a short fast run between to two upper take outs at Little Hole. This is like the river equivalent of a water slide, as it whooshes you down to the next ramp. Many people fish below this run at Little Hole so sometimes you have to dodge wading anglers.
Special thanks to Peter Vordenberg for taking photos, rowing, fishing tenkara and carousing.