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Fishing Utah
Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Celebrate St. Patty's Day by fishing the Green

Matt McKell, a biologist on the DWR's Flaming Gorge Project, sent in this report of fishing on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

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The weather here at Flaming Gorge has been rather springlike lately and a friend and I were able to take advantage of one of the nicest days yet, spending several hours last Friday fishing the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, and by the way they were feeding, the fish seemed to be enjoying it too. We started wade fishing in mid-morning in the upper reaches of the A Section just below the dam and caught several chubby rainbows on nymph patterns (red or black zebra midges, grey scuds with flash, and WD40's in sizes 18-20 were most effective) -- the trick was adding the right amount of weight to get the flies down to feeding fish.

By early afternoon we made our way down to Little Hole and found a good seam, where both browns and rainbows were willing to take the same nymph patterns fished earlier. As afternoon progressed, fish began feeding on the surface, and having heard reports of recent mayfly hatches and seeing adult mayflies float past on the surface, I decided to tie on a blue-winged olive dry fly (size 18). A handful of casts later came a strike by a nice, healthy brown trout. When several more casts drew no further response to the BWO, I switched over to a slightly larger dry fly, an elk hair caddis (size 16, olive body), which almost immediately evoked a response from a larger brown which then proceeded into an acrobatic sequence on the surface. The fish posed for a photo, then swam eagerly back into the current. The pod of rainbows and browns we found at Little Hole ranged from 15-18" in length and were incredibly healthy, making them feel more like 20" fish.

The calendar doesn't say so just yet, but what a way to usher in spring. And as spring wears on, days like that day should come with more frequency, both in terms of the weather and the fishing. It's a great time to visit the Green River!

If you decide to go, please do your part to help limit the spread of harmful species like whirling disease and New Zealand mudsnail by disinfecting waders, boots, and other gear before and after your trip. As always, good luck on the water!

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