I had heard multiple stories each year from Max about his annual trip to Flaming Gorge. This year, I was invited to go with Max and his friend, Mike Webb. I was excited, and it was a place and style of fishing I hadn't done before. Also, we were going to target the Kokanee salmon, a fish I've never caught!
I was excited to go, and I knew it would be fun to go with Max and his friend. I had fished multiple times with Webb up on the Provo. In preparations, Max mentioned to me that Webb does all the food purchases as well as the cooking. I was excited to hear this, because it reduced a lot of the stress of trying to decide what to get, and what cooking items would be needed. Plus, Max mentioned that Webb was great at cooking.
We got up pretty early on Thursday morning, and I headed over to Max's, and from there we went to Webb's. We packed up the cars and the boat, and headed off. It is about a three hour drive to Flaming Gorge.
The campground we stayed at was Sheep Creek. It had an awesome backdrop. The campground was right next to a river, that ran along the base of steep, red cliffs and mountains. Upon arriving, we quickly set up camp, and then went in Max's jeep to cut some firewood for the trip. Webb brought his chain saw, which is genius. Something, i'd never done in the past.
After everything was set up, we quickly got out on the lake. The style of fishing we'd be doing was trolling. The whole set up for trolling for salmon is much different than what I'd done before. We use big weights, pop gear, and little squids topped off with powerbait maggots and scent. Max and Webb had been to the lake multiple times, so we took some time driving the boat and showing me some cool canyons and bays.
The first day we caught quite a few fish, including rainbows and salmon. Towards the end, the wind picked up quickly. We weren't in a big boat, so Webb decided we better get back as soon as possible. Well, it was crazy! The wind quickly made some decent waves, and we were headed right at the wind. To say the least, Webb got completely soaked, while Max and I tried to hover under the windshield.
Max and Webb had gone to a "conference" or a meeting about the ins and outs of fishing for salmon. They had always wanted to catch a lot of Kokanee, but always had marginal luck. This year, they were taking it seriously. And I certainly benefited from their due diligence. It was awesome catching salmon! They faught well, and you'd know pretty quickly if you had a salmon on because they would start jumping out of the water quickly. We kept all the salmon we caught.
The first night, Webb made some amazing teriyaki chicken that had been marinating. We cooked it over the fire. He also made fried rice with eggs, ham, etc. It was delicious! We ate like kings that night. Oh, and we all slept in a big tent that Webb brought, and he also brought an extra cot for me. I had never slept on a cot, but my first nights rest was pretty dang good.
Friday, we headed for the Green River. I was very excited to fish the Green. I had heard so many stories, and knew the fishing was incredible. It was about a 35 or 40 minute drive to the base of section A. I was amazed right away at how clear the river was, and how you could see fish everywhere....and big fish. We had pretty good lucky jigging for the browns and cutts in the river. We all caught some good sized browns. Biggest one was probably around 19 or 20 inches. Because the fishing is good from shore, we didn't wear our waders. At one section though, there is a little island in the river, and we wanted to fish from it. We took off our shoes and socks and walked across. I'm sure the many boats and rafts that passed us thought we were some interesting folk to be in bare feet on this island. It was worth it though, because Max caught a great brown on his first or second cast. We walked up a couple miles, and then made our way back. Our timing was good, because it quickly started to rain once we got back to the car. We ate lunch at one of the local fish shops/restaurants. Lunch was great, and we were pretty tired. At this point it was raining hard, so we decided to take the Flaming Gorge Dam tour. I wasn't thrilled with the idea at first, but fishing in the rain isn't too fun. The tour ended up being very fun and worth our time. It was awesome to see the dam and hear some of the interesting facts about the dam.
That afternoon and evening we fished some more from the boat, and had pretty good luck once again. First, we decided to go swimming from a spot that they had previously swam. There were some small cliffs we could jump from. The water was freezing, but it felt quite good.
Max and Webb were very excited to be having such great luck with the salmon fishing. We were getting to the point that we were starting to be in trouble as far as our fish limit goes. We had just about caught our limit for the trip.
Friday night we had some pretty gourmet quesadillas and salad. It was very good, once again. Friday night, after going to bed, I woke up around 12:30 and did't feel good at all! I figured I'd eaten too much and my stomach wasn't happy. I got up, tried going to the bathroom (I had forgotten my headlamp, which was not cool) and then sat around what was left of the campfire for about 40 minutes. My stomach finally settled down enough to where I could go back to sleep.
Saturday morning, I still felt sick. As we were getting ready to launch the boat, I made my way up to the harbor bathroom and figured I should try to throw up or go bathroom. At this point, I knew a throw up was inevitable. I went behind the bathroom, and with a little "coaxing", I quickly threw up quite a bit. Aaaah, I instantly felt better, and within an hour or so I was feeling just fine. That was a relief.
We fished for a few hours in the morning with marginal luck. We headed back and had some great breakfast bacon sandwiches. The wind picked up quite a bit, and so we were waiting it out. Max and Webb decided to hike around on the hills behind our camp. I decided to fish the river. I caught a couple of fish, but expected more luck. I had seen a big fish right next to our camp....a really big fish for how small the creek was.
Later, we decided to head out one last time and fish the lake. We had really good luck in the evening. We all caught some more rainbows and salmon. We headed back to the harbor though as wind picked up.
Sunday morning we packed up leisurely, had a good breakfast of pancakes and bacon, and then headed out. The trip was very fun, and a definite change of pace from the type of fishing I was used to. We had a cooler full of salmon fillets, and divvied them up once we got back to Webb's. However, we gave Webb the majority, since Max and I aren't huge salmon/trout connoisseurs. I was really glad they invited me on the tirp, and would love to do it again with them.
Grilling up the spoils at home