Thursday, May 28, 2015

Forever West

Dutch John, Utah
May 19 thru May 22

Situated right off the 191 North nestled between the southern most Utah, northern Wyoming border, the Trout Creek Fly shop is the last tackle shop, gas station, cafe, grocery store, and motel before you hike into the Flaming Gorges' Green River.

I walk in the fly shop and everyone pauses for a brief second, they can immediately tell I am from out of state. Coming straight from a skateboard trip in Northern California I'm easy to spot wearing skinny black jeans, torn up canvas vans and a black wool hat. I walk around for a minute looking at tippet and a huge selection of flies pretending to know what I'm doing but it's obvious when the clerk comes over and says, "it's a little early in the season for the caddis hatch". I try and act surprised, "oh yeah, what flies would you recommend?" The ever patient fly shop clerk, Steven, sets me up with everything. I get my fishing license, State Parking Pass, flies, lunch and cabin for the night all in one transaction. 

Before I leave he shows me two spots on a map of the green river to start fishing at and wishes me good luck. My first day I hobble around the river in the pouring rain on my swollen knee from my previous skating trip. No luck today unless you count snagging pine trees on your back cast a success. 

On day two I take a few casts at the boat ramp and sit down for minute watching all the drift boats get swept out into the fast current. With the drift boats down stream and out of sight I am the only person hiking along the river fishing this gin clear emerald green water. I can see large trout posted up behind boulders in the middle of the river.  I roll cast my fly out and watch it drift by them over and over. It's obvious after awhile that they want nothing to do with me. I hike down river for a few more hours with no success. To say the least this is a very humbling experience. 

My shoulder is burning from what feels like my thousandth cast but I continue the methodical line mending and watch my fly drift down current. Only this time a few yards passed my line a fish jumps out of the water and flops down in the fast moving current. My line goes tight and in my head I am saying "oh shit that's me". It jumps two more times and my heart sinks with each run it takes envisioning how I am going to screw this one chance up. I wait for her to tire out in the strong current and with no net I reach into the 41 degree water. I can feel her cold body from the frigid waters as I remove the fly. I pause to admire the beautiful red lateral lines and then release her back into the wild. I sit down shaking and pause for a moment but before I can fully regroup a huge beaver startles me as it kicks down river past me. There goes my only witness.