Fishing the Green River in Colorado

The Green River was number two on America's Most Endangered Rivers list in 2012

Green River, CO | Carfull…vacation over

A couple weeks ago I joined Scott Willoughby of the Denver Post on a float fishing trip on the Green River in the remote Northwest corner of Colorado.  Few people know about or have much less fished this section of one of the West’s most iconic trout rivers.  We were drawn there because of rumors of big trout, beautiful scenery, and solitude.  We found all three.

The Green River enters Colorado and meanders through Browns Park Wildlife Refuge for about 15 miles until it starts picking up stream on its way to the challenging whitewater section of the Gates of Ladore, a canyon made famous by John Wesley Powell during his first decent of the Colorado River.

I arrived at Browns Park a couple of hours before Scott and decided to do a little exploring.  I strung up my fly rod and walked up stream.  The river is very slow and clear in this section with numerous long sand flats.  Immediately I noticed several carp feeding on the edge of a flat.  I waded out to the fish and after a frustrating hour and multiple fly changes I finally hooked and landed a nice carp. A few casts later I hooked what I thought was another carp but turned out to be a huge rainbow trout.  Good start to the day.

As is sometimes the case, a good start to a day of fishing does not always carry on.  By the time Scott arrived, the wind picked up and we decided to do an early evening float.  The wind never relented until the sun disappeared over the horizon. Global Warming is a huge issue the West is facing but I would maintain that so is Global Winding. We did manage to pick up a few nice brown trout on grasshoppers during the float despite the 30 mile gusts.  The most exciting moment came when Scott got monster strike on a mouse pattern right after sun went down.

There is a proposal to pipe up to 250,000 acre feet of water from the Green River to Colorado’s Front Range.  Because the project would devastate the Green River in Browns Park and upstream in the world class trout water below Flaming Gorge Reservoir, American Rivers and our partners American Whitewater, OARS Rafting, and the Utah Rivers Council listed the Green River as the number two America’s Most Endangered River® in 2012.  Please, if you care about the Green River and live in Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming call or write your Governor and tell them to oppose this project or visit

I am already looking forward to my next trip to the Green River. Maybe it will be to the famous water below the Flaming Gorge Dam or maybe I will stop at Brown’s Park.  Either way, I am thinking it will be in the fall and big streamers will be involved and hopefully big fish.  I know they are in there.

Check out Scott Willoughby’s article in the Denver Post about our trip to Brown’s Park.