Flaming Gorge Fishing

Fishing In The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Utah Flyfishing At Its Very Best

If you want to go to the Flaming Gorge Fishing then you have two really great choices. You can either fish below the Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River or on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. I will cover both areas.

Firstly the Green River.

This truly is a world class fishery. Unusually for one river it has six species of trout in its waters.

The Cutthroat Trout was the native species and the others have all been introduced later. They are the Brown, Rainbow, Lake, Brook and the elusive Golden Trout.

For fishing purposes the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam has been divided into three different areas. The Forest Service, who are responsible for managing the Flaming Gorge fishing, have come up with some highly original names for these three sections.
They have called them A, B and C!

Section A goes downstream from the dam to a place called Little Hole. Section B goes from Little Hole as far as Taylors Flat Bridge and section C travels from Taylors Flat Bridge right down to the Colorado state line.

If you intend to fish while floating downstream, each section of about ten miles makes a good days fishing.


Section A is the most heavily fished for a number of reasons. It has the largest number of fish per mile of the river, it is the easiest stretch to get to and it is certainly the most scenic.
Four out of every five fishermen to the Green River come here.

Flaming Gorge fishing on the Green River is among the best in America. However, it wasn`t always that way.

Before the Flaming Gorge Dam was built, the river was muddy and full of silt, with relatively warm water temperatures. Consequently there were very few trout.


The Flaming Gorge Dam was completed in 1962 and this led to a change in the water. It became much clearer and cooler, this was because the dam was preventing any silt coming downstream from the headwaters. It had been the silt that led to the higher water temperatures.

After the dam was built the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area officials for fish and game stocked the river with Brown and Rainbow trout. Fishing was good for a while but then began to deteriorate. They soon discovered the problem.

The water being released from the sluice gates was coming from the bottom of the very deep reservoir. It was far too cold for the fish to thrive. The problem was rectified in 1978, waters from every depth were released and the temperature was perfect for the fish.

By 1987 the secret about Flaming Gorge fishing on the Green River was out and anglers were turning up in large numbers. Guiding services began and flourished. The downside to this popularity is that the fish have become educated and are now much harder to catch.

One of the reasons for the numbers and good size of the Green River trout is the amount of food that is available to them. There are any number of midges, mayflies, craneflies, stoneflies and caddis. The water is now crystal clear and trout are visible. The best type of fly to use changes regularly as the fish get used to them, so you may have to use trial and error to see which is best.

Flaming Gorge fishing on the Green River is all year round but temperatures in winter can fall as low as minus 20 F.
For an indication of weather conditions in the Flaming Gorge area look at the forecast for Salt Lake City and then estimate that their weather will reach the Green River half a day later.

The Spring is the best time to catch the really big fish. They are spawning in shallow water and you can often see them cruising up and down. Summer is, of course the busiest time of year for the number of anglers on the river, but the fishing is still very good. Apparently using a large dry fly in fast flowing water can produce the best rewards especially fishing during the evenings.

By the time Fall arrives the fishing has become more difficult. The fish have fed well in the summer and become educated to the anglers flies. This time of year the smaller fly works the best. If you want to test your skill level on one of the greatest fisheries in the world then this is the time and palce to do it.

If you want to float fish any of the three sections of the Green River then there are shuttle services available from April through to October. They will drop you off and then drive your vehicle to your finish point.

I think fishing the Green River in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is an experience that will stay with you for a very long time.



Fishing Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Like the Green River below the Flaming Gorge Dam the reservoir also provides world class fishing. Some outstanding record size fish have come out of the waters of this lake.

For example the Utah State record for Lake Trout (Mackinaw) stands at a whopping 51 lbs 8 ozs. Brown Trout is 33 lbs 10 ozs and Rainbow Trout 26 lbs 2 ozs.

As well as all the trout species found in the Green River, the reservoir is great for fishing Kokanee Salmon, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Catfish and Burbot. However, the Burbot have been illegally introduced into the fishery and have spread like wildfire.

For a Green River and Flaming Gorge Fishing Report click here.

Here is a little bit of information about fishing for some of these varieties.


Lake Trout
The fishing limit here for lake trout is eight, and only one of them can exceed 28 inches.
Ice fishing for these beauties can be really good. This is best done at the northern end of the Flaming Gorge in Wyoming because the reservoir doesn`t freeze over down near the dam.

The larger Mack do tend to move north up the lake in winter. They spawn in mid October and any knowledge of their spawning areas would be a great advantage.

The larger Lake Trout range widely throughout the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and are nearly always caught at depths greater than eighty feet. In the Spring the fish tend to move back toward the dam out of the northern end of the Flaming Gorge WY.

If you really want that big one there are no guarantees, but money spent on one of the Flaming Gorge Fishing Guides will never be wasted. Their local knowledge is invaluable. There are some very good ones on the lake and if you do hook into that 40 pounder you will be forever grateful.


Kokanee Salmon
There is a limit of no more than three Salmon and any caught between September the 10th and November the 30th must be released. Kokanee can be caught all year round and the Flaming Gorge fishing in winter is pretty good.

If you are ice fishing the hole must be 18 inches or less. Theoretically you can boat fish all the year round where the reservoir doesn`t freeze over down near the dam. However, you are going to be restricted if there is ice or snow on the boat ramps.

Although the ice fishing can be very good the best time of year is definitely the late summer and into the Fall.

At the start of the summer the fish are usually found above the thirty foot mark, but as the season goes on they gradually go deeper, to maybe seventy feet.

A fish finder is a useful device, unless you are old fashioned and just want to pit your skills against the fish.


Rainbow Trout
You are only allowed a limit of four trout of any sort. You can take a mix of trout and salmon up to four, but of those only three can be salmon.

When you go Flaming Gorge fishing you will probably find that the Rainbow is the easiest fish to catch on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. They seem to be attracted to either bait, lures or flies. During the summer the rainbow will always be found deeper than at other times of the year. Winter ice fishing can be really good from mid-December onwards.


Smallmouth Bass
There is a ten fish limit on any type of Bass when Flaming Gorge fishing.
The smallmouth spawn in June and at that time they move into shallower water. As the year progresses they gradually go deeper.

They can be fairly easily caught using a wide variety of baits and lures such as spinner baits, crank baits and worms. But their favourite food is Crayfish!

The larger fish will be found deeper so adjust your bait to take this into account.

Fishing Flaming Gorge for smallmouth bass will be great fun and can go on until October.



Burbot
There is absolutely no limit on the number of Burbot you can catch when you go Flaming Gorge fishing. This fish is a type of freshwater cod. Their numbers in the reservoir are growing so any Burbot caught have to be killed.

Taking these Burbot home and eating them shouldn`t be a hardship, they taste fantastic! Here is a great recipe for Poached Cod that you can use to cook your Burbot. I know you will love it!

Officials are so keen to reduce their numbers that this is the only fish you can spear-fish for 24 hours a day all year round.

Whether you go on the Green River or Flaming Gorge Reservoir fishing I hope you have a great time and lots of success.



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