Owner & Guide
From the time I knew there might be fish in water, I began a lifelong search for this amazing creature and the outdoor environment that was associated with it. After looking in remote places such as Patagonia, Australia, Canada, etc., I’ve never found anywhere that can match the unparalleled resource of the 3 sections of the Green River we guide, for fish and scenic beauty. As owners of Western Rivers Fly Fisher Guides, my son Matt and I along with a fantastic staff, are very pleased to have the wonderful pleasure of introducing others to the spectacular fly fishing and unsurpassed natural beauty of the Green River at Flaming Gorge. Background includes wilderness field guide, B.S. degree U.of U. College of Health-Outdoor Programs.
I began flyfishing with my father at the ripe old age of nine. I fished mostly on local streams around Logan, Utah, along with annual summer trips to the Madison and other Montana rivers. My father was a school teacher and we spent many a summer evening together fly casting and even catching a few fish.
I started fishing the Green river in 1991 and began guiding in 1998. Early on, I was taught by Green River legends Emmett Heath and Denny Breer. I will forever be grateful for knowing and fishing with them!
I have been Lead Guide at WRFG since 2007 and have have served as Groga Vice President and president since 2007.
I have always been fascinated by flowing water. Growing up in Utah, some of my earliest memories are fishing with my dad and exploring the streams and rivers of the west. My passion for fly fishing eventually became an obsession. I began my guide career in Rural Alaska, where I cut my teeth and gained an appreciation for the ins and outs of life on the river. After several years and countless river miles, I decided to trade in my motor for some oars and return home. The Green River is arguably the best river to drift a bug to rising trout; where I find great joy in slowing down, teaching the intricacies, and keeping track of the changing conditions of the fishery. In the winter I snowboard, steelhead, tie flies and dream of warm evenings and slow risers.
Set the hook.
Hailing from Maine, Cole held his first fly rod at a free casting clinic at L.L Bean. Cole began cutting his teeth as a trout angler years later after relocating to Utah. Enamored by trout sipping dry flies, he soon began to share his passion with everyone he could. Guiding was inevitable at this point. At first he worked on the Provo River while wrapping up his degree at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. After teaching himself how to row, he decided it was time to guide one of the west’s great tailwaters. Captivated not only by the trout, but the river runners and guides that have come before him, Cole is proud to be a guide on this famed stretch of water.
I was raised in Grand Junction, Colorado. I’ve been fly fishing for as long as I can remember. I go fly fishing to slow down and enjoy the outdoors. My approach to guiding is to teach the basics so anyone can leave feeling they are a capable fly fisher. I love fishing for brook trout, traveling, and spending time with my dog, Douglas.
In 2012, Corey first started fishing in Phoenix, Arizona. For how limited fishing is in the Sonoran Desert, Corey still enjoyed learning to fly fish for carp and small mouthed bass at the Salt River and in urban canals. Always knowing he wanted to fish for trout, Corey went on to hike the John Muir Trail in the Eastern Sierras, where he developed a passion for trout fishing in alpine lakes and streams. From there, Corey moved to Southern Utah, fishing for wild cutthroat in small streams and in red rock canyons. Now based in Northern Utah, Corey is thrilled to be fishing the Green River. Fishing a big river, with big dry flies, for big trout while still being in a desert environment is Corey’s favorite part about fishing the Green and he enjoys sharing what he’s learned with others.
I was born in Hattiesburg, MS, but grew up predominantly in Salt Lake City, UT. Growing up in SLC, I was fortunate enough to spend my time exploring the prolific fisheries scattered around the Rocky Mountain region of northeast Utah. I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Environmental Studies, and hope to carry much of what I have learned into understanding the conservation and management factors of the fisheries we all love. Though I’ve had the fortune of spending time on the water with many inspirational people, I attribute my love of the water and flyfishing to Mike Petragallo, or “Gramps” as his friends like to call him, who instilled in me a love of community and care for the water. True to Gramps’ and his friend’s outlook, I hope to create guide experiences that inspire a love for the places we get to play in and the people that surround us.
James was born and raised on the west coast and grew up learning the ins and outs of fishing from his dad. Tired of their fast-paced city life, James and his wife moved to Utah in search of a more adventurous and outdoor lifestyle. As a fishing guide, James is passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping clients become better anglers. He loves the thrill of being on the water and watching his clients catch their first fish on the fly. In his free time, James can be found exploring the wilds of Utah with his wife and three crazy pups.
Grey Willis, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, grew up fishing for rainbow and big brown trout in the streams of Northwestern Arkansas and Oklahoma, along with redfish on the Texas Coast. When Grey enrolled in the University of Arkansas in 2018, he spent the following five years fly fishing in White River, Arkansas as well as the smallmouth creeks and rivers surrounding the Fayetteville-Bentonville area.
During the summers, Grey guides in Dutch John, Utah for Western Rivers Flyfisher Guides on the Green River. This gives him the opportunity to sharpen up his dry fly skills and work as a guide as well as an overnight camp host.
Growing up in NE Pennsylvania I always found a way to get out into the woods from the time Iwas in diapers to chase trout and bass or just poke around and enjoy the outdoors. A few weeks
after high school I found myself in SLC where I grew an addiction to deep powder and infrequently fished water. The west has inspired a deep rooted passion in me for all of the diversity in landscape, flora and fauna that has led me to lush rainforests seeking chrome and narrow sandstone slot canyons down endless washboard roads. I fell in love with guiding on the Flathead system of NW Montana and I am very excited to be
working on the Green where I first learned to row a boat and fish bigger water. Dry fly eats and stripping anything articulated is my favorite game from the boat. If you catch me in the water I
likely have a spey rod in tow so for all you two-handers, bring them along and we’ll swing a few up.
Co-Owner & Operations
I was born into a family of anglers; my father as die-hard as they come. While other kids were taking trips to Disneyland, my childhood consisted of getting dragged down dirt roads or flown to obscure places to mill around entertaining ourselves while my dad fished to last light. This fanned my deep curiosity of the natural word and grew in me an independence and profound love of nature. I went on to inherit “the sickness”— by age 11 I had a fly rod in my hand. Since then, my fishing adventures have taken me around the globe in search of permit, tarpon, rooster fish, bonefish, trout, and the occasional carp, but I’d trade it all for a cold, drizzly fishless day on a Pacific Northwest steelhead river. I am often as enamored by waters as I am by the inhabitants of it. As Roderick Haig-Brown said, “Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers.“ These wild places are, and always will be, where I find my power source .
Lead Camp Guide
Hello! I was born in Eagle River, Alaska, but actually spent my childhood within an hour of Dutch John boating, fishing, and guiding raft trips. Before becoming a camp guide for WRF, I worked for two years as a national park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument, rowing rafts 120 miles per week down Lodore and Yampa canyons. I am currently attending Utah State University where I study fisheries and aquatic sciences with the hope of working in watershed restoration throughout my career. Some of my favorite fishing experiences have been catching coho salmon off the coast of Santa Cruz, California, amberjack off the coast of Ecuador, and cutthroat on the middle fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. The Green River has been my backyard for so long and I love sharing it with all of you. Oh, and my favorite thing on the camp menu is elote.
Fly Shop & camp guide
I was born in Tucson, AZ and grew up outside Helena, MT. I am currently attending Montana State University for a degree in Secondary Math Education with which I hope to teach high school with. My love for being outside and public access was fostered by a life of camping, backpacking, hunting, fishing, and all around shenanigans in the West. This life of camping inspired a love for camp gear and camp cooking. I love trying new recipes in the Dutch Oven or on the grill and hanging out with people around a campfire under the stars. The Green is one of my favorite places on this planet and I am passionate about helping others experience it the way I do!
“dirty foot crew”
If you have the pleasure of meeting any of our shuttle drivers on the road or around the shop, you’ll find the nicest dirty-footed, river-loving, tree-huggers this side of the continental divide. After shuttles are safely completed each day, you’ll find them jumping from cliffs into the gorge, pulling a trout from the river on a late A float, or enjoying a crisp bevie up in the pines. In the “off season” they are shredding pow, enlightening young minds, and obtaining bank-breaking higher educations.