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They began with two days of wade fishing on the Provo River where the brown trout were both abundant and large. Wason writes: “I caught 12 fish in two hours one morning, but six to 10 fish during a six-hour period was closer to the norm. Over half of the fish we caught measured more than 16 inches. That’s a lot of big fish for a small river!”
Wason says he used a 5-weight for dry fly fishing and a 6-weight with a floating line for nymphing. Weather and water conditions were perfect for their trip and they hit a Green Drake hatch from 11 am to 1 pm both days.
The Provo was not without its problems, however, Wason warns: “This is an urban river with very heavy pressure, especially during a major hatch. The fishing situation was reminiscent of the ‘combat fishing’ I’ve experienced on the Russian River during salmon season. You had to get there early to stake out your ‘territory’ and you had to be prepared for some confrontations. I would probably not consider the Provo a ‘destination’ river by itself because it was so crowded with anglers. While the river can handle the pressure, who wants to engage in ‘combat fishing’? Most of this section is on public land and could easily be fished without a guide with a little direction from a fly shop. On the other hand, this is a nice little river to wade fish if you are in the area for other reasons, such as fishing the Green River. The Provo is fishable 12 months of the year if weather permits, and there is a lot for non-anglers to do in the area. Our three guides for the Provo (Jen, Ken, and Ted) deftly handled seven anglers, and were excellent.”
Wason gives the cost of this segment of the trip as about $700 per person for two days fishing. That included three nights lodging, meals and tips.
More to Wason’s taste was the three days he spent float fishing Sections A and B of the Green River with guides ‘Dan-O,’ Eric, Rodney and trip-organizer Brandon Bertagnole. Wason says Bertagnole did a great job putting a trip together that included both the Provo and the Green rivers, even though their party was comprised of an odd number of anglers.
Wason notes Section A of the Green provides mostly float fishing. There is minimal opportunity to wade fish in Section A (the Canyon section): “It’s seven miles from put-in to take-out. Although there is a trail on one side of the river, there are few places to wade in the deep, narrow canyon, and there are no walk-outs for the entire seven miles. As for Section B, it is nine miles long with no access at all between put-in and take-out, though you can wade fish up and down from the take-out of Section A. We didn’t fish Section C.”
Wason emphasizes that the Green is not a river for do-it-yourselfers. Rapids claim a couple of driftboats and numerous single-person pontoon boats every year, he says. The three days he was on the Green he says he saw two pontoon boats wrapped around boulders. He described one of the incidents as potentially fatal. “We gave the angler a four-mile ride out of the river, leaving behind his Winston rod and car keys,” he writes. “Understandably, life jackets must be worn at all times on Section A and half of section B with fines enforced if you don’t”.
He and his group found naturally reproducing brown trout abundant in the river, while rainbows were scarce, despite the fact that 20,000 are stocked each spring.
“We averaged 10 to 20 fish per day, but the catch actually ranged from six to 30 fish,” he writes. “I could see no rhyme or reason for so much variation. About 60 percent of the fish were bigger than 16 inches, with an occasional 20- to 21-inch brown. The river reportedly has 13,000 to 15,000 fish per mile in Section A, and I believe it. If you stop to look down in Section A, you will see eight or 10 large fish lounging about below you almost every time you look.”
Wason says they used a wide variety of nymphs and dry flies on this water, including caddis, WD40, Yellow Sally and tungsten zebra nymphs and caddis, Chernobyl Ant and various attractor dries. They were too early for hoppers.
“The Green is in the middle of nowhere,” Wason warns. “You don’t just ‘drop in’ and expect things will go smoothly. For one thing, there are some restrictions on the number of people allowed on the river and the number of guides who can fish it.
There are also limited accommodations in the area. Don’t expect a Holiday Inn or even a Motel 6. I would strongly recommend using a professional outfitter and try to avoid weekends if possible. Even though the Green is several hours away from civilization, it can be extremely crowded with driftboats and rubber rafts filled with families, especially in Section A. The river can easily handle the pressure, but it can still get a little crowded. Section B and Section C have dramatically less pressure and a totally different character from the canyon in Section A.”
Wason gives the cost of this part of his trip as about $1,100 per person for three days on the Green. That included three nights lodging and food. In parting, he writes: “The Green is probably the most spectacular trout river in the lower 48 as regards scenery and fish. The scenery is so fabulous it’s hard to keep your eyes on the flies.”
(Postscript: The Green and Provo rivers have received a lot of positive attention from Angling Report subscribers recently, as witness the following materials that are available in our Trip Planning Database. They provide more perspective on these waters: Report Nos. 4139, 4142, 4131, 4090, 4013 and 4012; and Article No. 2361. The latter is a Close-up Report on The Green River by frequent correspondent Bob Peters. It appeared in the September 2009 issue.)