Green River: Clear waters, abundant trout make for excellent fishing

Once home to the nomadic Fremont People of the 13th Century, Utah’s Green River is now populated by world-class brown and rainbow trout along with the occasional cutthroat. A long river even by American standards, the focus for most anglers tends to be on the section just below the Flaming Gorge Dam along the border of Utah and Wyoming. These blue-ribbon waters are often so clear and brimming with trout that anglers like to say it’s like watching fish in an aquarium.

Location/Geography

Traversing three states, the 730-mile long Green River is a monster of a river with an average spring/summer flow of more than 6,100 cfs. Starting in western Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, the Green River snakes its way south into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, then into Utah’s Uinta Mountains. It twists briefly into Colorado before returning to Utah, where it joins the Colorado River near Canyonlands National Park.

Aquatic Species

Native

  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Cutthroat

Non-Native (immediate killing is required)

  • Burbot
  • Northern pike
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye

Food by Season

Bug – Micro scuds
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20-22

Bug – Mayfly nymphs
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20-22

Bug – Blue-winged olives and midges
Season – Winter
Sizes – 20 to 22

Bug – Chernobyl ant black
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 2-16

Bug – Black sailor ants
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 8-18

Bug – PMX peacock
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 6-14

Bug – Black Green River para crickets
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 10-16

Bug – Black beetles
Season – Warmer months
Sizes – 8-18 

Fishing Techniques

Tip – You’re likely to have some luck with dry bugs in the fall. You’ll also find ample shallow-water trout for nymphing year-round. Streaming is best in the morning or at nightfall, especially in the fall when brown trout spawn.

Tip – In early spring, you’ll find abundant scuds and midges along with mayflies, caddisflies and others. Look for blue-winged olives in early to late spring.

Tip – The river is divided into “A,” “B” and “C” sections. The seven-mile “A” section of the river is located in Red Canyon and is the top spot for fly fishing, according to most experienced anglers.

Tip – You are required to release all fish between 13 and 20 inches. Otherwise, you’re allowed to keep two. All non-native species (see above) must be killed upon catching.

Gear

  • 9’ 5 weight rod
  • WF trout fly line for floating
  • Nine-foot leader with 4X tippet
  • For sinking: bank shot sink tip line

Summary

While many western rivers can be fairly inhospitable during winter months, the Green River is consistent and welcoming all year long, thanks to warmer water temperatures and a steady flow. If it’s rainbow you’re after, try just below the dam. Otherwise, you’ll do well to head downstream where browns and other trout await.

Getting here: If you’re flying into Salt Lake City, it’ll take you a little under four hours to reach the Flaming Gorge area via Interstate 80. It’s doable from Denver, but be prepared for a nearly seven-hour drive (albeit through some of the prettiest scenery in the nation).

If a trip out west and trophy trout are on your bucket list, the Green River is a can’t-miss experience.

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The North Platte River in Wyoming – home of the monster trout

The North Platte River gives way to Wyoming’s largest and highest fish-producing river basin in the state. There are many parts of the river that can hold a range of 2000 to 4000 fish per mile. If you’re looking for a trophy trout, the North Platte is a safe bet. The “Grey Reef” section of the river holds fish that can tip the scales at over 10 pounds! Although some areas are particularly rocky and mossy, carefully maneuvering around structure can pay off big time. You can expect a private outing on the water, with little fishing traffic. Head out to the cowboy state for some great western trout fishing.

Location/Geography

At over 500 miles long, the North Platte River flows through three states: Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The river flows north from Colorado into Wyoming and flows east and south.

Aquatic Species:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Walleye
  • Longnose Sucker
  • White Sucker
  • Longnose Dace
  • Carp
  • Darter
  • Creek Chub

 

Food by Season:

 

Bug – Aquatic Worms
Season – Year Round
Patterns – San Juan Worm, Bloodworm

Bug – Beetles
Season – April through November
Patterns – Loco Flying Beetle, Monster Beetle, Foam Beetle

Bug – Caddis Flies
Season – May through October
Patterns – Rock Roller Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Soft Hackle Hares Ear

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Season – April through June, September through November
Patterns – Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Parachute Adams

Bug – Ants
Season – April through November
Patterns – Epoxy Ants, Flying Ants, Foam Ants

Bug – Midges
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Zebra Midge, Chocolate Emerger, Parachute Adams

Bug – Grasshoppers
Season – June through October
Patterns – Stimulator, Stalcup’s Hopper, Rainy’s Grand Hopper

Bug – Brown Stone
Season – April through June
Patterns – Brown Stonefly Nymph, Stimulator, Royal Trude

Bug – Leeches
Season – Year Round
Patterns – Hot Head Leech, Wooly Bugger, Mini Sculpin

Bug – Salmonflies
Season – May through June
Patterns – Stonefly Nymph, Titanic Stone, B1 Bomber

Fishing Techniques:

Because there is an abundance of large trout in the North Platte, showing up prepared with the proper tackle is paramount. A five-weight rod with floating line and 4x tippet should suffice. The average fish weighs over a pound, with some fish nearing 15 pounds.

The river is constructed of longs pools with interconnected riffles and runs. If fish are being picky with your offering, try matching the hatch and picking the correct sized fly. Drift boat fishing is a popular technique used, where an angler fishes from a small boat and drifts down the river, covering more fishable water than possible on foot.

The North Platte River can be fished any time of year, as long as it is not iced over. That being said, the cold Wyoming winters can be spotty with ice, so monitor the weather before booking a fishing trip in the winter. The spring season runs from the beginning of March to the end of April, before the winter runoff. The summer fishing is best from the middle of June through August, when the hatches are at their peak. Fall is also a great time to fish, just be aware that water levels tend to be lower.

Summary

If you’re looking to take a trip out west for an epic fly fishing trip, look no further than the North Platte River, specifically the section that flows through Wyoming. You won’t find crowds of people, allowing for a calm and private outing on the water. Perhaps the most notable characteristics of the North Platte, is its high fish to water ratio with an average of 3,000 fish per mile. You won’t have to look far for a good time and a tight line.

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River: The Madison River in Montana – a fun mix of many fish

The Madison River is a must fish destination for anglers of all ages and skill levels. The river gives way to an eclectic mix of native and nonnative species of fish. Your chances of catching something is really good. The scenery along the way is amazing with hundreds of miles of mountains and surrounding fields of green fields. There is easy access to many great fishing spots. Anglers must be made aware that there are strict fishing regulations. Most of the river is catch and release, and you must purchase a fishing license.

Location/Geography

The Madison River starts off at Yellowstone National Park and flows north for nearly 150 miles to Three Forks in Montana, where it empties to meet the Missouri River. The river feeds several lakes, including Hebgen Lake in Gallatin County and Ennis Lake in Madison County.

Aquatic Species:

NATIVE

  • Arctic grayling
  • longnose dace
  • longnose sucker
  • Rocky Mountain sculpin
  • mountain sucker
  • mountain whitefish
  • stonecat
  • white sucker
  • westslope cutthroat trout

NONNATIVE

  • brook trout
  • brown trout
  • common carp
  • fathead minnow
  • rainbow trout
  • Utah chub
  • Yellowstone cutthroat trout

Food by Season:

Bug – Pale Morning Dun
Season – July through August
Sizes – 14-18

Bug – Midges
Season – Year Round
Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Baetis
Season – April through May
Sizes – 16-20

Bug – Caddis
Season – April through September
Sizes – 14-16

Bug – Golden Stone
Season – June through July
Sizes – 2-6

Bug – Salmonfly
Season – June through July
Sizes – 2-6

Bug – Green Drake
Season – June through July
Sizes – 14-16

Bug – Trico
Season – August through September
Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Baetis
Season – September through October
Sizes – 16-20

Fishing Techniques:

Tip – Get out to the river early. First light is always a good time to be fishing. Trout prefer colder temperatures and the water is cool in the mornings. The change of light also trigger feeding activity.

Tip – Don’t be afraid to fish streamers. The nice thing about streamers is that they mimic a variety of aquatic life. More specifically, those imitations are often year round food offerings such as crawfish or minnows.

Tip – Spring fishing is excellent on the Lower Madison because it warms more quickly than the upper portion of the river. You’ll find trout in deep, slow water. To be successful, try worms, crayfish and nymphing egg patterns.

Gear –

  • Fly Rod – 9 foot, 5 weight, four-piece rod
  • Fly Reel – 5 weight
  • Line – 5 weight floating
  • Leader/Tippet – 5x tapered leader

Summary

The Madison River provides a diverse fishing experience for all anglers alike. Its blue-ribbon fishery ups the ante of catching a big trophy fish. Perhaps the most sought-after fish are brown rainbow and cutthroat trout although there are many other species to be caught. These fish average about 15 inches and can easily exceed 20 inches. As you venture along the river to find that perfect spot, you’ll notice no two spots are really the same. The beautiful landscape is awe inspiring and makes for a great day out on the water.

Want to receive a free BugClub Bonus Box with nearly $70 worth of fly fishing essentials? This kit comes with each annual subscription, in which you’ll receive four seasonal BugBags to match the hatch each season. Learn more here.

River: The Provo River in Utah – A premier rainbow and brown trout fishery

The Provo River in Utah offers fly anglers nearly 20 miles of excellent trout fishing, specifically browns and rainbows. Expect an array of hatches throughout the year and a beautiful landscape to fish. The river averages more than 2,500 fish per mile of river, offering some of the best fishing to be had in the state of Utah. The middle of the river holds a strong reputation for huge brown trout that often measure over 18” and weigh over five pounds! If you are traveling to Utah, look no further than the Provo River.

Location/Geography

The Provo River runs through the state of Utah, in Utah County and Wasatch County. It starts in the Uinta Mountains and ventures south where it passes through two reservoirs: Jordanelle to Beaver Creek, and eventually spills out into the Utah Lake. You’ll fin the middle Provo in the Heber Valley off Highway 40. From beginning to end, the Provo River stretches a total of 68 miles. Fun fact – the river is named after Etienne Provost who was an early settler and trapper.

Aquatic Species

  • Brown Trout
  • Common Carp
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Mountain Whitefish
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Food by Season:

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Season – March through May
Sizes – 16-20

Bug – Pale Morning Dun
Season – June through August
Sizes – 12-16 

Bug – Caddis
Season – May through October
Sizes – 12-16

Bug – Yellow Sally
Season – June through August
Sizes – 14-16

Bug – Black and Gold Salmonflies
Season – May through July
Sizes – 6-10

Bug – Terrestrials
Season – June through October
Sizes – 6-16

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Season – October through November
Sizes – 18-22

Bug – Green Drake
Season – June through August
Sizes – 10-14

Bug – Midges
Season – January through December
Sizes – 20-22

Fishing Techniques:

The Provo is a blue-ribbon fishery, meaning it is well renowned for excellent trout fishing. Here are a few tips to help improve your catch.

Nymphing: Don’t hesitate to try out an array of different nymphs paired with a strike indicator. Consider using a dropper fly – two bugs are always better than one. The most productive nymphs are on the smaller side – sizes 16-22. Cast your bug and let it drift down stream. Pick up, cast and repeat!

Streamers: Streamers are always a safe bet when targeting big trout. Wooly buggers are a go-to classic, preferable with a bead head. Muddler minnows are a close second. Cast your bug and bury your rod tip in the water as you begin to make a strip, then pause. The cadence can be figured out by feel. Sometimes a quick strip short pause works, and sometimes stripping the bug painfully slow works wonders.

Gear: 9 foot 5 weight rod paired with a 5 weight reel. A tapered 5x tipped will do just fine to coax the most skittish fish.

Summary

If you’re looking for an awesome trout fishing destination, look no further than Utah’s Provo river. Although it is relatively short in length, do not let its size fool you. The Provo packs a punch. With thousands of trout packed in per square mile, you are destined to catch something. The fish are big and abundant. What are you waiting for? Pack up your fly rod, load up on BugClub bugs and head out to Utah to fish one of the most popular blue-ribbon fishing destinations in America!

Ready to learn more about BugClub? Sign up for a free bonus box starter kit worth more than $69 in fly fishing essentials. You’ll also receive four seasonal BugBags to match the hatch for each season, get monthly emails highlighting the best places and times to fish and bugs that are handpicked to match the hatch in Western Region waterways. Click here to learn more.

Get the whole family together for a “reel” fun family fishing trip!

Planning a fishing trip with your family can be an experience of a lifetime being out in nature, spending quality family time, and making memories. Proper planning is essential to getting the most out of your fishing getaway, so we’ve outlined a few trip tips.

Pick a destination:

  • How far are you willing to travel? –Explore a new state or even a new country. Experiencing new places with each member of the family is a fun way to create lasting memories.
  • What type of fish would you like to target? –Choosing a destination that has multiple species of fish is a safe bet, and gives everyone the best chance to catch fish.
  • Body of water– Do you want to fish a pond, lake or river? Once you decide on a place you’re traveling to, do some research on bodies of water nearby. Keep in mind that rivers tend to have a higher concentration of fish compared to large lakes.

Pre-Plan for the Trip:

  • Stock up on BugClub essentials– take advantage of the best bugs to fish, as well as Expert Guide Cards and Seasonal Tips based on when you’ll be traveling.
  • Fishing license– be sure to purchase a fishing license for each family member.
  • Practice casting– help your family get a head start on casting techniques, so that they can spend more time catching fishing on the trip.

Make it fun:

  • Go camping– Although camping may seem a little more rugged than staying at a hotel, it offers a more authentic experience. You might be sleeping right next to the river!
  • Keep it Social– Consider staying at a campground where the kids can mingle with other kids camping out.
  • Make it a Learning Experience– Explain the different gear, tackle and techniques used to successfully catch fish.
  • Heat Up the Evening – Start a campfire. Fires create an opportunity for good conversation, and provide warmth on those chilly nights.

Enjoy time together:

  • Take pictures – snap photos of all the fish you catch on the trip so you can remember them for years to come.
  • Go on a hike – although you’re there to fish, don’t hesitate to take a break and go for a hike. Not only are hikes good exercise, but it’s a good way to explore new territory and scope out new fishing spots.
  • Enjoy each other’s company– spending time with family is time well spent, especially when you’re fishing!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning a fishing vacation with the family.

Henry’s Fork: Idaho’s famous wild trout fishery

Henry’s Fork, located in eastern Idaho, is one of the most well-known trout streams recognized for its impeccable wild trout fishery. Henry’s Fork maxes out at over 6,000 feet elevation, and has a 1,000 foot change of elevation throughout its course. This body of water has rich history, and has been a war ground for historic battles between the Nez Perce tribe, led by Chief Joseph, and the United States Military. According to the local guides at JackDennisFishingTrips.com, this stream features long runs of slow water and fast pocket water. If you’re looking to catch a beautiful wild trout with vibrant colors, look no further… Henry’s Fork is waiting for you.

Location/Geography

Henry’s Fork is a tributary of the Snake River, and is nearly 150 miles in length and sits just over 6,000 feet above sea level. The river runs through Southeastern Idaho. The drainage basin is approximately 3,000 square miles and is fed by the Teton River.

Aquatic Species:

  • Rainbow trout (ONCORHYNCHUS MYKISS)
  • Cutthroat trout (ONCHORHYNCHUS CLARKI)
  • Brook trout (SALVELINUS FONTINALIS)
  • Brown trout (SALMO TRUTTA)
  • Rainbow/Cutthroat Hybrid

Food by Season:

Bug – Pink Albert
Seasons – June through August
Peak Season – July

Bug – Mohogany Dun
Seasons – July through October
Peak Season – September

Bug – Speckled Spinner
Seasons – June through September
Peak Season – August

Bug – Caddis Flies
Seasons – May through September
Peak Season – August

Bug – Flav
Seasons – June through August
Peak Season – July

Bug – Golden Stonefly
Seasons – May through July
Peak Season – June

Bug – Salmonfly
Seasons – May through July
Peak Season – May, June

Bug – Western March Brown
Seasons – April through June
Peak Season – April, May

Bug – Blue Winged Olive
Seasons – March through June, September through November
Peak Season – March, April, October

Bug – Midge
Seasons – January through April, September through December
Peak Season – January, February, March, November, December

Bug – Trico
Seasons – July through September
Peak Season – August

Bug – Gray Drake
Seasons – June and July
Peak Season – June

Fishing Techniques:

  • Have patience – Good things come to those who wait. Observe the water for rising trout. There may not always be a ton of activity, but being patient and stalking those rising fish could result in a monster catch.
  • Know your hatch – gather as much information about the hatches that are happening during the time you’ll be fishing Henry’s Fork. Stock up on those flies, and be sure to bring an array of different sizes of the same bug.
  • Fish during the right months – Your best bet is to fish during the salmon fly hatch from late May to late June.
  • Wear a wading belt – wearing a wading belt, and cinching it tight can be a lifesaving tip. There are often many slippery rocks and structures that fly fisherman are constantly walking over. If you slip and fall, a properly secured wading belt will help keep water out of your waders.
  • Enjoy the scenery – Sometimes the best part of fishing is not the fishing itself. Sit back, relax and observe the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.

Summary

Henry’s Fork is a must fish destination for any fly angler. Its trout fishery is amazing, with an abundance of wild brown, rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout. If you play your cards right by matching the hatch, there is a good chance you’ll be able to hook into a monster native fish. The dry fly fishing is exceptional around August, as trout will often rise to eat your bug. When that happens, hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

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