Friday, April 05, 2013

Fishing on the Green!

Fishing the Green River, near Flaming Gorge in north east Utah:
On Bernie's bucket list for years.
Wednesday that experience got checked off his list.
Rainbow and German Brown trout were caught; thirteen fish in all, all were released back into the river after a quick photo.

And lucky me...I got to go along too!
It was a totally unexpected adventure.
Bernie had decided to go to a Fly Fishing Expo the previous weekend.
He came home and told me that there was a deal to do a guided fly fishing drift boat trip down the Green River that was just too good to pass up.

The time of the year, and mid week would mean the trip would be neither too hot or too cold and most likely we would have the river almost all to ourselves.
Would my work schedule accommodate a mid week getaway?

So last Tuesday we drove the 3 1/2 hours up to the Flaming Gorge Resort where we were booked for an over night stay.
Wednesday we spent on the river, drifting seven miles over eight hours.
The fishing...was fantastic.
Let me begin at the beginning....
The drive up to the resort took us through part of Wyoming.

Outside of a place called Mountain View the mountains switched from yellowish-brownish-reddish to a distinctive shade of turquoise.
So gorgeous!!!

I love Red Rock country; now I will add that I also love Turquoise Rock country as well.

Antelope herds were seen along the way, as well as huge numbers of mule deer herds.

As we sped along I shot pictures out the window.
If we had stopped at every great view I suppose we might still be on the road.

At 8 the next morning we grabbed breakfast at the lodge diner, then at 9 our guide rounded us up and drove us to the river.

The rain puddles from the day before were frozen over in the parking lot.
I layered up clothing wise in preparation of all possible temperature variations.

The drift boat was launched before the Flaming Gorge dam, where a homeland security officer is stationed 24 hours a day.

A piece of the road that we drove in on can be seen next to the edge of the dam.

Just as I stepped out of the guide's truck an osprey flew over my head toting a trout that he had caught for breakfast.
Aggghhhh....missed getting that amazing shot by about 30 seconds.

A quick run to the outhouse and I was ready to go for a boat trip.
I haven't worn my waders and fishing boots since last September!

Isn't that an interesting shape for an anchor?
The anchor would be dropped and lifted many times during our drift.

Barely launched into the water and Bernie is eager to wet a line.

Apparently a rainbow trout was eager to be caught.
The first fish of the day only minutes into the day.

I egged our guide Kevin into giving the fish a good luck kiss before releasing the fish as our fishing guide in Alaska always did.

And so the drift trip down the river began.
Kevin hooked up a line for me.
I blurted out "Are you kidding? I am here to take pictures, not fish!"
(I took well over 300 shots before the day was over.)

Another boat launched about the same time as we did.
I loved the boat's paint job that was a fly mimic.

The Green river is bordered by red rock; this red rock cliff had swallow nests.

And just like that fish #2 was caught.

Followed by another beautiful rainbow.

The water was so clear!
I watched as we drifted over fish after fish after fish.

They looked like I could just reach down and grab them.

The correct name for the halo effect of the sun around my shadow is a glory.
Glorious indeed!

In some places the Green River really lived up to its name.


Now Bernie was busy casting about once every 15 seconds.
I was gawking at the cool rocks while he fished.
Casting is actually a lot of work.

Lifting my camera to my face over 300 times was a bit of a workout too...
But so worth it.
I know I would have forgotten most of the little pretty scenes like this one without a documenting photo.

There is a wooden walk along most of the river.
The river is divided into three sections, we fished on the A and C part of the river.
I suppose we could come back and do it all over again from shore one day.

The view from the middle of the river is so pretty that I am glad I got to see it from that perspective.

And another fish to fight...

Some fought hard and jumped about, others reeled in with hardly a ripple.

Each fish was lifted out of the river, had the hook carefully removed then the fish was gently returned to the water, usually in less than 90 seconds.
I had to be quick to get a picture of each fish out of the water.

The first rapids...

Another catch...

Hello #5!
I sat in the back of the boat.

Hi there #7...
(number six wasn't lifted out of the wasn't much of a photo.)

This trip was my first time boating over rapids, except for a few mild places in Alaska.
I am not very daring when it comes to such things but these were pretty tame.

Marmots watched from the banks peanut gallery style.

I shot all day with my 60mm macro lens since I wanted to get photos of the fish that were caught.
My telephoto lens was with me and I wished I had switched for a bit to get better marmot shots.
It was just easier to stick with one lens all day.

More of the walk way.

The bend in the rod:  Big clue that another fish is on the line.
Look at how green the river is!

A big jump and splash...

The fish are getting bigger as we drift along.
Bernie was hoping to catch German Brown trout but this one was another rainbow.

A German Brown!
A little guy, but it is a start.

The sound of the water and all the colors.

Then some fun rapids...

Got some good motion going!

I was glad to see some clouds form over head as clouds add a lot of interest to a picture.

We went ashore for a picnic lunch.

Think Bernie is have a great day?

I had just last week read an article about lichen identification.
Planning on doing some macro shots with a tripod of lichen in the future; where we lunched there were lichen everywhere.

Now this is my idea of a great place to eat lunch.

(So frustrating to not have my tripod along! Still pretty though.)

The trip included boxed lunches.
Bernie and Kevin and I chatted away as we ate.

Nice guy, great guide, and an interesting story as to how he wound up working as a river guide.
Sometimes not knowing exactly what you want to study after two years of college can lead to a dream job of a lifetime.

The kelp in the river was fascinating.
I wish I had a guide book to explain and name they different types.

Back on the river again.

The ground may take a trip but the tree was sticking to it.

One of probably a thousand casts.

I like this shot for all the greens and reds.

Overhead the rocks stood watch.

The sky was a perfect shade of blue.

The rocks splintered away in geometric shapes, like God had made a brick wall then let it go to ruin.

In the afternoon we started seeing drifts of grey bits on the water surface.
Little insects were hatching and landing on the water.

The dark seam had one upright block in the middle.

Having another boat drifting behind us let me get photos that showed the size of the gorge.

I made him take his hat off for one picture so I could get a good shot of his happy face.

Seriously, doesn't this look like a calendar/travel brochure shot?

The fish kept getting bigger.

Kevin had a plastic tube with a rubber bulb on the end, sort of like a mini turkey baster.
He put the tube into one fish's mouth and drew out its stomach content to see what it was eating.
This was just one of five squeezes of stomach content.
That fish had been sitting on the river bottom munching down insect food all day long.

I have mentioned how unbelievably clear the water was?

When I say we see lots of rainbows, I don't always mean in the sky.

Hey there fish #11.

Nice 16 inches long.

Kind of fun to see another boat out on the water next to us.
These boats had a stand with a small table top to lean into to while standing.
A real improvement over the Alaskan drift boats where you just planted your feet the best you could when you stood up.

Still happy?

I am happy too!

It is times like this that I am so happy to be married to a man who loves the outdoors as much as I do.

The rock on top looks like a little critter watching boats go by.

An even dozen caught.

We took a second shore break.
What colors are found in river kelp lapping against the shore line.

I have to hike up a bit to find a private spot to relieve myself.
On the way I saw this hollowed stump spangled with colorful lichen.

Bernie requested a bit of shoreline fishing.
Both guys did a bit of fishing there.

Spectacular setting.

Then back in the boat and we drift past a fallen rainbow made from rocks.


And the day ends with a Baker's dozen caught, with this fine German Brown.

17 inches ain't bad!

More swallow nests.

A few waterfowl kept warily away from us.

No rain, but I liked the dark clouds forming overhead as we finished our day.

Don't the hills look like a calico quilt?

And doesn't this rock look a lot like Snoopy?
And so it was that the Green River delivered all that it as been touted as delivering:
Big fish
Gorgeous views
Great time!