Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jone's Hole Canyon - Utah

As I try to deal with a severe case of cabin fever, I thought what better way than to relive some of the hikes I have done in Search of Native Salmonids. Not all of my hikes over the past 8-9 years have been in search of native fish, some were just in search of solitude or personal accomplishment.

I will try to recount these hikes in chronological order and this hike was completed on my first trip to the Rocky Mountains in September 2002.

We thought we would hike the canyon trail to the mouth of Jone's Hole Creek and the Green River. The idea was to fish the Green for a short period then Jone's Hole on the way out.

The trail head is located at the Jone's Hole Fish Hatchery about 20 miles outside of Vernal, Utah. The trail itself is four miles, through the canyon, to the Green River with very little elevation gain/loss.

This is the view dropping down into the canyon with the fish hatchery in the distance:

The canyon is narrow in places with the widest point in the four mile stretch still probably less than 1/4 mile wide. About a mile into the hike you have the opportunity to see what makes this area special - the history.

The canyon is also home to a small population of bighorn sheep. I'm pretty sure these are of the Rocky Mountain sub-species and not the desert sub-species. Regardless, we were lucky enough to see a group of juveniles and ewes.

It is a pleasant hike through the canyon but even in mid-September it was hot. I would recommend plenty of water or a water filter.

As you near the end of the canyon, you can see it open into the Green River canyon:

When we arrived at the Green River it was running chocolate milk. However, the small band of clear water where Jone's Hole dumped in contained brown trout that were easily over two feet in length! Easily the biggest trout I had ever seen at the time.

Those big boys didn't want anything I had to offer, so back up Jone's Hole we went. That wasn't too bad of a decision as Jone's Hole also contained some nice fish - particularly considering you can almost jump across it in most places. My fishing partner fought this bulldog for what seemed like five minutes in a pool not much bigger than a full-size truck bed.

For ease of the hike and the size of the fish, I would highly recommend this trek if you ever find yourself in eastern Utah and Dinosaur National Monument.


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