Fishing The Upper Green River Of Wyoming

Our destination was the upper Green River in Wyoming near Cora, and some trout fishing was on the agenda.

My partner and I stopped at a wooden bridge with public access, approximately 12 miles from Cora. Much of the water below was now fenced and heavily posted — quite a change from my last trip to the river five years before.

It was now shortly after 10 a.m., and it was apparent that we had picked a perfect day to spend on the upper Green. There was not a cloud in the sky, or a hint of the famed Wyoming wind, which can more than put a riffle on the water. With rods set, we headed upstream. A quarter-mile later, the Green forked, and we each took a separate channel.

Cora, Wyo., is a good takeoff point to fish the Upper Green River.

Wading slowly into the extremely clear water, I was in almost to my waist. The bottom was slick with moss. Once again I was glad to have worn felt-soled waders. Slightly upstream from my position, a large rock stuck out of the water. My first cast landed in the slick just behind the rock.

Catching Wild Rainbows
As the Hopper swung slowly past the rock, the fish left its holding water and struck the drifting fly. It was to be the first of a dozen trout that would be released in less than an hour. And nice fish they all were — in the 12-inch to 15-inch class. Wild rainbows, I must assume, as they fought extremely well, and I have not heard of any stocking programs on this portion of the river.

Arriving back at our vehicle 90 minutes later, I noticed my companion was nowhere to be seen. Relaxing in the shade, I opened a cool one and waited for his return. I did not have long to wait, as he arrived shortly after I did. By his expression, I was certain he had had equal success.

Loading our gear into the vehicle, we turned back onto the gravel road to find another spot that I had fished with my son many years earlier. This part of Wyoming is wonderful, with one of the few signs of civilization being the occasional fence post.

Shortly after noon, I eased the car off the road and into the barrow pit. Just ahead was the spot that I had dubbed “Pete’s Hole.” This section of the river is primarily a series of ox bow bends, with a stark rock cliff rising up on the far side. There was a shoulder deep hole running the entire length of the cliff. On my last trip to the Green, this hole had provided some of the finest fly fishing I have ever experienced. Since neither of us had taken the time to remove our waders, it was only a matter of minutes before we were at the river’s edge.

The Green is 25 feet to 30 feet wide at this point, and even an average fly caster can cover most of the water with a minimum of wading. No sign of another human being was to be seen that beautiful day, but it was obvious that the raccoons and coyotes used the river frequently.

No rises had been noticed, but it was early and still quite cool, especially in the shade. The two flies, a No. 14 Yellow Humpy tied to the tapered 9-foot leader and a Hopper on the dropper, landed within a foot of the rock ledge and drifted slowly along with the current. Retrieving the line, once again I cast as close as possible to the ledge, again the flies completed their drift and were retrieved.

No Strikes, No Hits, No Fish
Fifteen minutes later, the same scenario had been completed a dozen times, all with the same results — no strikes, no hits, and no fish on base. Was this the same spot that my son and I had released several limits of trout some five years previously?

Besides offering some pretty good trout fishing, the upper Green River is one of the quietest places around.

Retiring to a nearby log, I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. On this fine stream, if the fish are not taking a yellow, green, or red Humpy, the angler is, indeed, in deep trouble. This pattern accounts for over half of the flies annually sold in the Pinedale/Jackson area. Still puzzled by my lack of success, I remained perched on the log, enjoying the scenery and the sunshine.

“You sure this is the right place?” my friend said, while shoving the remains of a sandwich into his mouth. “I haven’t had a bump so far. Have you?”

“No, not a strike,” I replied. “Let’s eat lunch and try to figure out this darned stream.”

A short time later, I was headed upstream and saw the first rise of the day in this stretch. A nice-sized trout had taken something off the surface, leaving an ever-widening ring on the surface of the calm water. Sneaking up to within 25 feet of the hold, the two flies hit six feet up on the ledge and plopped into the water. The first fish took the Humpy, the second trout took what was left, which, in this case, was the No. 12 Hopper. Both trout hit with abandon, the upper fish jumping once, and then both dove deeply into the hole below the rock ledge.

The trout, both in the 14-inch range, put quite a strain on the slight, 7-foot graphite rod, but they eventually tired and I eased them into the slower water near the bank. Both rainbows were brilliantly colored and fat. Releasing the tired fish, I retraced my steps, until I was again opposite the ledge.

The next two hours will always remain near the top of my fishing memories. This is the upper Green River near Cora, Wyo., — one of the quietest places around.

How To Get There
To reach the upper Green, take Interstate 80 west of Laramie, through Rawlins and Rock Springs. At Rock Springs, take Wyoming Hwy. 187 to the north. It will be a pleasant two-hour drive to Pinedale. Continue west from Pinedale for about five miles, then take county road #357 to Cora.

The road is paved for a couple of miles, and then turns to gravel just before reaching Cora. This gravel road takes you to the headwaters of the Green and Gannet Peak, the highest spot in the state at 13,804 feet.

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One Response to “Fishing The Upper Green River Of Wyoming”

  1. Fred Hall

    You need to up-date the information on this page ie The road is now paved from Cora to the Bridger Teton Park.