I don’t normally broadcast fishing destinations. We all covet the secret spot, the stash of fish in a pretty place that no one knows about. Yet I feel like keeping this to myself would be a sin, the feral Baptist in me rears its head. Thou shalt not prevent fellow anglers from having a great little backcountry excursion – it’s in the good book, right?
This trip is time sensitive for those willing to carry their home on their backs. Once the river rats kick into gear for the summer on the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument the rules change and us land-based adventurers lose out. But if you can get there before that happens the camping where Jones Creek meets the Green is extraordinary. And the fishing is sublime.
It’s a remote trailhead. Before you head there, stop at the visitor center and get your permit. We had to convince them it was appropriate, but eventually they conceded. The road winds away from Vernal, Utah over ranch land on a plateau. Then it drops sharply down to the trailhead at the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery. If channels of easily spooked baby trout don’t amp up your backpacking mojo, then perhaps the steep red cliffs of sandstone around you will do the trick. Once you start walking you enter the monument and encounter the creek. Almost immediately you want to start fishing. We, however, opted to keep walking and saved our fishing time for the end of the trail.
The hike involves rock art, fantastic cliffs, abundant animals and a gravitational pull of the Green River. The Fremont painted some fantastic things on the rock walls, to include a really fancy elk. And because you have to do this trek in the spring ahead of river rat season, you get wildflowers. As we approached the confluence of the creek with the Green we were greeted by a crowd of bighorn. They moved on and yielded the terrain to us for the night. We graciously accepted and established home before eagerly approaching the pool in the creek with our rods and line. Large, beautiful trout were equally gracious in accepting our flies. It was joyous fishing.
The Green rushes in waves past the campsites at Jones Hole. The fishing is best in the creek. The sunset margarita hour is best beside the river. The sun kissed the canyon rims good night and we tucked in with visions of morning creek fishing in our heads. We were not disappointed with the morning fishing or our green chile scrambled eggs. And then we retraced our steps up the hole to the hatchery. We saw one other pair of fishermen during our 36 hours in paradise and they were day hikers. If you can spend the night, it’s worth going through the hoops for a permit.
Here’s a link to more of our Jones Hole and Dinosaur National Monument pictures.