Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report: May 19, 2015

The report for the past week and the next week is RAIN! Wow, what a much needed wet Spring we are having, who would have thought after such a warm and fairly dry winter. In any case, we are still fishing and some drainages are reporting great action! Here in Jackson Hole the best conditions are found on Jackson and the other lakes along the Tetons. The upper Snake River below Jackson Lake Dam is fishing well with streamers and nymphs but if you are not familiar with this water it can be daunting, much like fishing a lake. Until we see the bugs wake up the trout are quite happy patrolling the deeper runs. Anticipating higher flows on that upper reach in the next week or so as the lake fills.
Jackson Lake has been outstanding! The brown trout fishery there is really coming around, some days you catch more browns than macs and cutthroats combined. In my eyes it is still the best lake trout fishery in the region. Work ledges, points and large flats with moderate depth(8'-15'), our best flies have been minnow jig streamers and large marabou leeches on type IV sinking lines.
Gorgeous cutthroat from the Upper Snake River (early May).

My daughter, Sydney with an after school, neighborhood cutthroat.
Outside our valley the fishing has been very good on the Henry's Fork and decent on the South Fork. The HF is in the middle of salmon fly mania, lots of bugs and anglers but the trout are holding up, brave the crowds and you might have the best day of the year! The SF is in flush mode but past peak and is beginning to drop, currently 15,000cfs. Here try worms and streamers up on flooded grass and quite backwaters... water is cold so slow your retrieve a bit.
Lastly, the Blackfoot Carp Tournament was held last weekend. This year the event is in a transition moving to different organizers and paired with terrible weather the turnout was low but the die hards that showed had a great time camping, fishing and catching up with old guide friends. The following is a quick photo re-cap.
Tight Lines before Summer hits!

Hunting down the carp is always fun, Day1.

Decent weather in the mornings but the fish held offshore and were hard to find in numbers.

First carp to hand but just a baby at 10 lbs.

I love these fish more each year, quite interesting and not always easy to catch on a fly.

Blackfoot callibaetis.

Is it a carp?

No, but a dandy rainbow, awesome by-catch!

Driving from spot to spot these rod holders are sweet to have.

Waiting for the storm and wind to pass, beer thirty!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- May 6, 2015

Runoff mode on most area rivers, except tailwater sections, is the main theme this time each year. With that said, if you know what to look for and apply proper streamer techniques for turbid water, you can still catch some trout, often some large brown trout. Some heavy hatches of caddis are the norm in Eastern Idaho along the Henry's Fork, other than that we are still a few weeks away from any major bug happenings in Western Wyoming. Streamers paired with sinking lines are the best along the Green drainage and upper Snake in Teton Park. Perhaps the best action can be found on Jackson Lake locally as ice came off a week ago. Fish are patrolling the shallows(3-8') for now. I like white zonkers and large black buggers again on a sinking line or jig head, work these along drop offs and points. 
Stay tuned, things are about to get good!
Bill is on a 20" roll, 2 for 2... this cutty had a unique snout that I have seen before but not sure of its cause.

1st float from Pacific Creek to Moose, ever! Deadmans still closed so we went for the 17miler, it paid off!

New visitor, Ben Hayes was so stoked he was ready to book next year's dates.

Damn good streamer bite this spring!

Graduate student, Julia did quite well from the back of the boat with a fast sinking line and a basic bugger.

Jim doing what he does best.

GTFF guide, Dave Smith showing off a nice early season brownie.

Colorado Cutthroat from the Green River drainage.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- April 15, 2015

Our spring fly fishing is in full swing with an abundance of nice weather and very good angling to be enjoyed. March was the warmest I had experienced since moving to Jackson Hole in 1998, a trend that is alarming on many levels but especially for an avid skier and fisherman. The upside to an early, warm spring is the chance to get out on the river sooner and enjoy a longer season, a season that can often be cut short by harsh spring or fall weather, it is the Rockies after all. Let's hope these trends are  part of the normal cycle(wishful thinking) and we will see a healthy winter again in the next season or so.
For now the fishing could not be better locally on the Snake River. Flows are ideal and the hatches have been solid for nearly a month. Midges are a spring staple and over the past week skwalla stones have taken all the attention; nice to look for a size 12 instead of a size 22 for a change. Streamers are always a good ticket in the spring months(really any month) but working the fly slower has been best.

Finespot from the upper section in GTNP.
Flows on the Snake are slightly above normal but running nice and clear and warming slowly through most afternoons, this perks the trout up a little before noon and peak activity is generally noon to 4pm. 
Snowpack in the Tetons is holding on as one of the best in the west, currently 84% of normal. Just today we received a nice spring storm that dropped several inches in the area and overnight temps will fall into the upper teens. This scenario will buy us at least another 5-6 days of clear running flows on the Snake. The snow pack is ripe above 8000' and two nights above freezing and our runoff should start, however the 10 day forecast looks to be average during the day and somewhat cool at night... we could get two more weeks of great fishing!

Average size looks to be good coming into the season, cookie cutter 16.5" means good numbers of 17-18" by August.

Love freckled face finespots!

The first large invertebrate of the season, Skwalla stones.

View back towards the north from south of Wilson, JHMR hangs on the far right of the image.
Have a great start to your fishing season and be sure to take extra care when handling any trout, thanks for viewing!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report - March 16, 2015

Happy to say our Spring fly fishing is here! By the calendar Spring's official start is still a week away yet weather in Jackson Hole has been springlike for over a month now. As the East coast got hammered by hefty winter storms the West has gone dry and warm, with exception being a few good storms hitting the southern Rockies(good, they could use it). Fly fishing on the Snake River has really picked up in the past few weeks as many afternoons get above 50 degrees, a temperature not so good for skiing unless you like slushy corn.
Local snowpack is hanging strong at 94% of average water content while on the Upper Green it is 106% and on the Wind River 90%. These are good numbers considering how dry it has been since the start of February. Keep your fingers crossed we either get another shot of snow or the summer is not as hot as some are predicting. 
Late winter float on the Snake River, leave the crowds behind!
Our spring cutthroats gorge on midges everyday from 11am-4pm.

A rare float below Deadmans Bar before runoff(2003)

GTFF guide, Ed Dutilly with a stunning Spring rainbow.
The Snake River this time of year is very predictable with midges starting daily in March from 11am to 4pm. Look closely in riffles for noses and fish small(#18-20) black gnats or any visible midge cluster. Surprisingly the fish can be quite picky so down size your tippet some to 5X and lay the flies down as soft as possible. Tiny droppers below the cluster can be deadly for the big cute not coming up. The trout will hang on the rocky tailouts and soft riffles primarily but also look in back water eddies.
It is fun time of the season to practice up your small fly skills, Enjoy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- February 15, 2015

I hate to say it but our Spring fishing is arriving quite early this season, in fact right now many folks are enjoying the warm temperatures(40-50 degrees in JH) across the region and are heading to their favorite fishing rivers. This winter has been very strange and it makes me personally a bit concerned that a pattern could be developing. If you have not noticed, California has had 4 years of drought now and their water worries will rise each season without significant snowfall. When California does receive moisture it has been heavy rain, not snow. Here in Jackson Hole we are tucked in a inner-continental region that boast large mountains and cold air, similar to a Canadian air mass. The area can receive copious amounts of snow and generally we do well, averaging 400-500" annually. But this year feels different. Our snow line has often been above 7000' delivering rain to the valley nearly every storm since December. I hope to chalk the '14-'15 winter season up to a terrible Pineapple Express scenario but for now skiing is fair and fishing is turning on! 
Current snowpack is healthy for the Snake drainage(110%) but long range looks to be dry and warm.
This is typically what the Snake River looks like in late March. This year its early February. 
Accesses are melted out and folks are jumping on the Snake River for some rare winter floats. 

Birds arriving already as the valley snow peels back quickly.

View of town from Snow King mountain- Feb 8, 2015, Shrinking valley snow and record warmth!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing- January 18, 2015

Happy New Year! 
Hello from JH! For me personally I have had a nice break from the fishing scene since late November of 2014. Changing hats every season from fishing to skiing is a wonderful way to keep things into perspective and as we move into the 3rd week of 2015 I have to admit I am ready to begin the fly fishing mania that is fast approaching. For now I am skiing and watching our snowpack grow, another healthy year so far, as well as diving into the early season guide preparations.
Looks to be another great season and I look forward to posting more pics and brief reports soon!
Cody Peak from JHMR.

Current Snowpack is 115% of normal in the Snake River drainage and 130% in the Upper Green.

Swans wintering over south of Jackson.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing- November 4, 2014

I cannot recall a better October(weather wise) than this past month. October can often be up and down with wind and the first snows of the year, yet this year we seemed to hold onto the magical late September weather pattern that generally presents cool nights and comfortable afternoons. Our best fly fishing of the year has certainly past but I am hear to say don't put your equipment away just yet. This is a fine time to explore, poke around and hunt a trophy trout. Locally on the Snake River I am focused on mid-late afternoons(1-4pm). Approach slow back waters off the main river with stealth and you will find nice trout holding in the gentle reverse currents. Getting a fly to these fish without spooking them is  a fun challenge, try a longer leader and a delicate nymph dropper below a royal wulff(#18). The wulff is often taken as a midge cluster and if they are not looking up the nymph will draw a strike.
Another window of opportunity that has opened is the chance to catch a trophy Laker in shallow water. Jackson and Jenny lakes both harbor some health populations of mackinaw and now until ice in the larger fish can be targeted in depths less than 10'. Here I like a 7-8wt. with a full sinking(type IV or V) line. Try white on the best weather days and chartreuse on the bad. If you are looking for that fish of a lifetime throw fairly large streamers, 6"-8"on a 12lb. leader. Put your time in and it can happen. If you simply want some fish tacos, try smaller clousers and cover the water quickly until you get into the school of "rat" macs(trout under 22"). Also, below Jackson Lake in the Snake River holds a good population of smaller lake trout, they should be harvested here and are quite tasty!

Late October on Flat Creek… not much happening but the solitude was refreshing.
Here a few pics from our annual Fall Guide's Retreat, a chance for us to fish and goof off together. What a great group of guys and what a great season, thank you for all involved in GTFF's 2014 season!!
For a full read check out Jeff Currier's blog, he has the best hard core fishing blog out there, both domestic and abroad. 

Josh Gallivan sounding the start, Caribbean style, to a great weekend

Josh with a nice Bighorn Bow.

Trey Scharp gets the early morning award.

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Tom Montgomery is about as passionate of an angler you could ever meet.

Tom and Josh showing off their best moves.

Currier gets it done late one evening after the gale passes.

Ben Brennan surveys the trout from above the canyon.

Got him!