Relaxing in the C-Section of the Green River

Fly fishers boating down the Green River
A mist hung above the river. A crisp October morning greeted us as we loaded gear into the drift boat. Indian Crossing beach was silent except for the Green River splashing against the stern. We saw no cars in the parking area. It appeared the C- Section was just for our enjoyment. Scott Barrus of Spinner Fall Guide Service observed, “The dam release was high last night, look at the wet grass, terrestrials were washed into the river.”

Red Creek enters the B-section at the rapids. When it rains, the creek runs red and turbidity in the C-section can be an issue. That day and during most of the fall season, the Green runs crystal clear.

Green River

“The C Section is where I fish on my day off. I take clients on this section, but it depends on clarity and the ability of the fly fishers.” Barrus explained, “There are not as many fish but they tend to be bigger.”

A few strong pulls with the oars and we were adrift. My friend Caroline started with a size 8 Chernobyl Ant, a fly invented for the Green River. From the bow she made her casts downstream and Scott adjusted the boat’s drift to match her fly. A slight mend sent it over a submerged rock and KA-BOOM, a large brown trout crushed her fly. Her rod seriously bent, she laughed and stayed with the brownie as it zoomed from side to side of the bow. Scott dropped the anchor and netted Caroline’s hefty catch.

Fish on a fly

“Look at the tail. It’s almost translucent,” Scott said. “With the sandy bottom the fish in the C- Section are apparently camouflaged with less brilliant colors.”

As the sun rose higher, the air got warmer and we started to peel off layers of clothing. We continued to catch trout, mostly browns, and by 11:00 it felt like summer. Don’t be fooled by the fall season, take plenty of water, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat. We lounged riverside with a relaxing lunch and then launched into Shallow Canyon.

Major John Wesley Powell floated and explored the Green River in 1869. He recognized the logical name for a significant geological feature in his diary:

A spur of a red mountain stretches across the river, which cuts a canyon through it. A vast number of swallows have built houses on the cliffs. The shallows are swift and noisy, sweeping by in curved paths or chattering from the rocks. We call this Shallow Canyon.

The trout relocate in the canyon with the seasons. In the spring, the big fish migrate to the shallows next to the cattails. The water is warmer. In the fall, they like the cool shade of the deep pools below the cliffs. Caroline and I switched to size 8 brown/tan foam hoppers. Scott instructed us to hit the cliff with the fly and let it drop to the water. The gentle splash was followed by a giant swirl as brown trout engulfed the hoppers. Patience was difficult watching a leviathan rise to our flies. It was easy to attempt to set the hook too early. A relaxing float, a sunny fall day, the hint of the beginning of fall colored foliage created a memorable day of angling. Scott said, “If you come back on a cloudy day, put on a blue winged olive. I’ve seen apparently every fish working the surface.”

We’ll be back. How can we resist the fall solitude of Green River’s C Section?