The Green below Fontenelle Dam isn’t known for its number of fish, but for their size. I’ve wanted to get down there for a while, and with an itch to get out of the valley, I thought I’d check it out. I was on the road at 7:30 and on the water shortly after 10. I rigged up with a San Juan Worm and a Zebra Midge trailer, and was soon into two big rainbows, only one of which I landed. As I worked my way upstream, I caught three more nice rainbows and a small brown. At a point where the river got narrow and deep, I finally caught what I had been hoping for: a big brown. In the same water I also broke off a giant rainbow. Interestingly, all of the rainbows took the worm, while both browns took the smaller midge. After losing my rig, I decided to hoof it back to the car. My plan was to be on the road at 4:00, but when I got back I spotted two big ‘bows rising to BWOs, which had started to hatch in good numbers. Unfortunately by the time I re-rigged, the wind had started howling, which made it impossible to get a good presentation. Though I didn’t get anything on a dry fly, it was a great day exploring new water. I’ll head back for sure, especially when the browns are running up out of Flaming Gorge. I was back in town a little before 7.
Some great water with amazing bird life.
Two rainbows of this size were landed.
Only one of this size was landed, though an even bigger one broke off.
The picture doesn’t do this fish justice, as this is easily the biggest brown trout I have caught.
Mike, Katy, and I hit up the Moose stretch. The water was slightly off-color with the recent crazy temps, but we were optimistic we’d still find rising fish. Katy got things started catching a nice fish on a streamer in a deep pool. Continuing downstream we found some risers in a spot where they are easily spooked. I managed to fool one, but it threw the hook as Katy was trying to net it. At a spot we expected to see risers, we didn’t, but a few fish were looking up nonetheless. Here I caught the smallest fish of the day, 12″, and foul hooked a 20″ beauty when I was late on the hookset. Katy caught another beauty on a streamer in the tailout of the pool. A side channel just downstream is where the fun began. We found a pod that had the feed bucket on, and amazingly they didn’t spook when we started catching them. Katy caught two and broke one off, Mike landed two and lost one, and I landed two and lost two. All the fish were in the 14-18″ range, and all were fooled on small midge dries. On the walk out Mike and I each manged to catch another nice fish on dries. It was a great day, especially for March, though the post holing on the walk back was not fun.
Katy getting things started right.
The smallest fish of the day.
Unfortunately I fouled this donkey when I was late on the hookset.
Mike with one of his nice cuttys.
Katy landing another fine cutty, with Mike on net duty.
After packing up camp, we were on the water at Little Hole right at 10. Again we hiked to get passed everyone else. There weren’t many bugs on the water, so we started with nymphs. On the first cast of the day, I caught a nice brown on a BWO beadhead. Katy soon after caught another brown on a midge pattern. Things slowed down after that. We continued with nymphs, but didn’t have any luck. After we hiked a good distance into the canyon and decided to turn around, we started to see some rising fish. Mike caught a nice brown in an eddy that had a several risers, but landing that one seemed to put the rest down. Continuing back downstream, we worked some other fish, where Katy fooled one but didn’t get a good hook set, and I managed to land a nice fish. With the number of other people, we lost hope we’d find other “heads” on the walk out. With that in mind, I spotted a big riser feeding right next to a rock. Katy made a few casts, but when she hooked a willow behind her, she ceded to Mike. On his second cast Mike fooled the impressive brownie. We thought we’d end on that high note, but we found some more rising in an eddy that were hard to pass up. Katy fooled two but didn’t get a good hook set on either, and I missed one. We were back to the car a little before 5 and back in Jackson before 9. T’was a great weekend with fantastic weather.
Not necessarily a place you’d expect to find trout.
Caught on the first cast of the day.
Katy’s sweet brownie.
One of Mike’s two nice browns that took dry flies.
One miss and two fly changes later…
Fittingly the biggest of the weekend was also the last.
We were on the road right at 7:30 and on the water a little before noon, walking downstream from the dam. It was tough to convince Katy not to cast to every fish we spotted, and they were (are) everywhere, but my thinking was we should get below all of the other people. We started out nymphing, but weren’t able to fool anything. We soon switched to dries anyway, as we started seeing risers. I worked a couple of nice browns for a time, missing both, but finally got the smaller one to eat a midge. The bulk of the action came in a giant eddy loaded with sipping fish. It was great fun to take turns fooling these “tailing” fish. One of us would catch one, we’d wait five minutes for them to start rising again, and the next person was up. Mike caught two rainbows, Katy caught a brown and a bow, and I caught another two bows. Most of them were fooled on BWO dries, though one or two took midges. If memory serves I lost another and Katy missed one more. We of course spotted plenty of more fish on the hike out, but we wanted to get camp setup before it got too dark.
Some awesome water below the dam.
The first fish of the day.
Katy throwing a tight loop to some risers.
One of the ‘bows Mike landed, which had some incredible crimson color.
Katy admiring the nice brown trout she fooled.
We were on the road around 8:30 and on the water shortly after 10. We started out on the Chester to Fun Farm stretch. The only action anyone had was a fish I didn’t get a good hookset on. The only fish we saw was a little one holding close to the bank that let me take a few underwater pictures. In the early afternoon, we moved to the Ashton stretch. At least there we found some fish. Mike caught one right off the bat, and I soon after lost and then landed one. All were rainbows in the 12-14″ range. A little further upstream Mike and I both lost small fish. Sadly, Katy didn’t hook anything. The action was on Zebra Midges or worms. With the recent crazy, warm weather I was expecting better fishing, but at least we can take solace in the fact that we didn’t see anyone else catch a single fish.
This little rainbow was nice enough to let me get a few pictures.
Katy trying hard to get rid of the skunk.
The only fish I landed, obviously preparing for the spawn.
Mike had the day off, and with the great weather, I decided to take the afternoon off and join him for some fishing. We hit up the Moose stretch, with high hopes of finding risers. We started out nymphing with Mike landing a couple of nice cutties along with a whitefish, while I caught nothing. We spotted some risers, and I missed a good fish before putting the rest down. Continuing downstream, we switched back to nymphs. Mike caught a cutty and some whitefish were landed between us. At some point I switched back to a dry, and although I didn’t see any heads, Mike convinced me to cast over some promising water. Sure enough we found some fish looking up. I landed three, all in the 14-16″ range, and missed two others, while Mike landed a donkey. All were on small midge patterns. Not too shabby for early March.
Mike casting to a usually productive riffle/pool stretch.
The release of Mike’s first fish of the day.
One of the three I landed on a dry fly. Woot!
The donkey Mike caught on a Zelon Midge.