2016 has been the year of the bucket list for me and Holy Moly Outdoors. Big kokanee have been on my radar all year, and I have been itching to find a new place to explore for a trophy. With my recent trip to Lake Roosevelt I caught my personal best fish at just over 4 pounds. But little did I know I would have the opportunity to fish another kokanee power house just a short 2 hour flight away. Within a week of returning from my Roosevelt I got the call from my good buddy to head down to Utah and fish Flaming Gorge; it was like Christmas morning. Excitement was an understatement. I looked up available flights and booked my ticket as soon as I could. This trip was extra special to me as I got to fish with my good buddy Rob Chambers of Velocity Rods for a 5 day adventure in Utah and Wyoming.
This was my first trip to the lake and after what I experienced, this was not my last. This was an adventure just as much as a fishing trip for me. Getting to explore the beautiful region as well as experience the fantastic fishing opportunity. From the Canyon that Flaming Gorge is named after in Utah, to the sagebrush and hills of Wyoming. This was such a treat to experience. 5 days in one of the best Kokanee fishing destinations in the USA.
Cannot forget to mention the amazing boat I got to be on for the trip. A 23ft Hewes Craft was an absolute dream, Such a nice boat, definitely added to the trip enjoyment.
Day 1: Wyoming Pipeline
Day One started out with a short five minute run to the fishing grounds, right near the cliffs and pipeline of Wyoming. We were running a variety of Rocky Mountain Tackle dodgers and lures paired up on the Velocity Kokanee rods. The perfect combination for a trip of fish catching. Day One saw a thunderstorm weather front move in and the pressure system slowed the bite. We were marking fish all over, which only built anticipation for the bite to turn on. We kept moving around till we found a few willing biters and I was into my first Flaming Gorge Kokanee. A couple 2lb nice Kokanee to finish off a fun start to the trip.
Day 2: New Day, New Fish
Day two found us moving further up lake and as a result we found some more active and willing fish. The fish finder was full! Right before we hit a double.
Got my 4 pound trophy Kokanee and another nice 3 pound fish to bring home on Day Two. Numbers were much better and finally found some of the bigger fish. 45-55 feet was the magical depth and the velocity rods put in work. Our big fish rig for the day was the Rocky Mountain Tackle Dodger paired with a olympic tackle kokanee snack. Pink and blue tipped with green gulp maggots was the ticket
After the fishing was done for the day we went off to explore some of the Utah landscape. Absolutely breathtaking view looking into the Flaming Gorge canyon. I also got to see the Flaming Gorge Dam on which the Green river flows from. One of the top 10 Blue water Fly fishing streams in the US.
Day 3: Canyon fishing
Where we stood above 1700ft the day before we were right down in the middle fishing on Day 3, What a cool experience to be able to see all the amazing changes in landscape and be able to find fish along the way doing it. Where we began in the canyon found us good amounts of marks but most were small kokane up to 17". Nothing to write home about for the fish size in there just yet, but they could be just around the next bend.
After a run up the canyon to the next marina we found an great spot for lunch on a floating restaurant "Snag".
On the way back from lunch, we saw a couple good looking areas with a few boats fishing. We stopped to see if any fish were hanging around, and wouldn't you know we found a monster school right after slowing down the boat. We didn't have the lines in the water for a minute and bam! My rod slams and releases off the down rigger. A much welcomed sight as this fish was bigger than what we had been catching all day. The hot rig of the day turned out to be the RMT Fusion dodger paired up with a RMT Plankton spinner. All on the Ninja series Velocity Rod.
What started as a quick stop, turned into the saving grace of the fishing for the day. We ended up pulling three 3lb kokanee from the stop before the wind blew us off the water with the thunderstorms again. But what a fun day once again! My first limit worth of kokanee from the Gorge.
Day 4: 4th of July Kokanee Slam
As the trend was appearing each day of the trip we were dialing in the fish better and finding more willing biters. It was pretty amazing to also be doing this in a completely different area each time. July 4th found us heading further uplake than we had all trip. Armed with good intel, we were confident that today was the day everything came together. Boy were we right! As the trend had played out all week, 40-45 ft found most of our marks, with 55ft bringing in some of our bigger fish on this day.
Once we started fishing, the finder stayed lit with schools all morning. Bites were happening on all rods. Doubles and even a triple occurred. An absolute phenomenal day on the water with 21 fish to the boat and quite a few monsters that shook the hooks in mid air. But I got what I came to the Gorge for and that was my trophy kokanee. A 5lb hawg at just over 23" and a fight to remember. That is what it is all about.
And an impressive boat limit to boot!
Our Starting lineup did not change much on day 4. We found the fish and they were biting from the get go. Rocky Mountain Tackle once again put in all the heavy work with Velocity Rods bringing them home.
Day 5: A Final Send off in search of Big Lakers
Day 5 was a bittersweet moment when I realized that my epic journey was coming to an end. We decided to give a try for some of the monster lake trout that the gorge is known for and why not it was 5 minutes from the launch. We tried multiple spots and marked a ton of fish, but unfortunately could not get any to stick. But I can't complain one bit, for the adventure that I experienced over the last 4 days was something for a lifetime. The sights and fishing made this trip something I will never forget. I cannot thank Rob enough for your kindness and friendship. This trip was truly a dream come true. Thank you! Until next time, this is Rick Denham with Holy Moly Outdoors. Thanks for reading, God Bless and Fish On!