Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Da Greeen!

Dad taught us how to fly fish small streams and rivers with an automatic reel, a level leader and a renegade. There were no other flies on the stream. Fly fishing was for July and August only, once the water came down and cleared. I fished this way for years, catching quite a few fish and devoting the other months of the year to fishing lakes with my spinning rod. One summer, we did a job building a garage and pouring a new driveway for my Dad's cousin Gary. We knew Gary fly fished, but he used all those weird flies and didn't fish like us. During the build, there were several mornings when Gary would head out to fly fish, even though it was only May! He had a lot of success which made us want to get out too. Weston and I headed for the middle provo river where we figured was some of the only fishable water in the state at that time of year. We caught some fish, little ones, using our 'traditional' approach. Talking with Gary at the end of the next day he invited us into the house to show me a couple of flies and how to tie them. I still have those flies: Deer hair caddis, pheasant tail, para-hopper, Chernobyl Ant. After a trip (or two) to Sportsman's Warehouse and a local fly shop (full of snobs) I gathered all the needed materials to reproduce these flies on my own and an addiction at the vise took hold.

Another thing that Gary showed us was how to float Utah's Green River below Flaming Gorge on kick boats. I distinctly remember floating that river and watching Gary catch 5 fish or more to my every strike. This fishing was SO WEIRD! Sitting in what felt like an easy chair floating down the stream "with" your fly was strange, but the way the fish would come up and sip the fly from the surface was the weirdest. Fishing the riffles with a renegade meant that strikes came sudden and violent, it was too much to wait until the fish took the fly and several times I pulled the fly right out of their mouths.

Fast forward 15 years and I don't think there's a single renegade in my boxes (although I should have some, it's a great fly) and I've been trying to fish like Gary ever since. With these memories haunting me throughout the long cold winter, I decided to make the trek out to the green after several years of 'being too busy' with Dad and my boys in tow. 

Stayed the night at Dad's with Del and the boys since she had to be up north the next morning for a work conference. Early morning we headed out by way of Wyoming to the green, arriving at Little Hole not long after sunrise. To start we were the only ones around, though we knew that wouldn't last. In my rush to get a fly wet I didn't put on waders, and ended up not getting them on all day even though it would've made things a lot easier. 

Fish were active in the riffles taking beatis nymphs and I managed to catch a few before people started joining us and we decided to hike up the canyon to try a different spot. Most active fish were out of reach from shore, so we headed back to the truck for some lunch and a break from the wind. Watching more and more people arrive made us decide to drive up to try below the dam before heading for home. 

The change in scenery and getting out of the wind was nice, but Dad didn't want to fish too much longer so he dropped Atley and me off to fish for a little while and he took a nap while Caden told him all about the movie "Tron" that he's been obsessed with lately. We found a pod of rising bows to play with and they were willing to come up for a parachute blue wing olive. The  fish were cruising around a back eddy - so timing and accuracy were needed to fool them into eating at the end of a 40 foot cast. Some of the most fun you can have while flyfishing - sight fishing dries to rising fish. A few fish brought to hand and we decided it was time to call it a day. 


A sleepy blur of sagebrush and kids talking about random things is all I remember of the drive home as Dad made good use of the nap time he'd had. 

Hope you're as lucky,


  1. Tim, this is Garry. We have been following you and your family covertly via your wonderful blog for some time. My mother, Leita and I look forward to each new post. Thank you for your kind words, and to think that I played a small part in helping you to become such a fine and avid fly fisherman brings me great joy. With some luck and planning we should get on the water together agin.
    Keep getting out there, and keep up the post.

    1. Thank you for the kind words! You definitely made a huge impact on my fishing and I feel lucky to have been able to get to know you. I'll get your number from my Dad and we can plan to hit the water again, it'll be the highlight of the year! Hope you, Leita, your boys and your Mom are doing well. (and sorry for misspelling your name....)

  2. One nice thing I found out about fishing below a dam is that the fish have no where else to go. You have their complete attention.

    1. That's true Mark! I had a great time fishing there. Thanks for dropping by!