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.

Add caption

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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- October 22, 2014

The autumn season is always a special time here in the Tetons but I must say this year has been particularly nice. Consistent weather and healthy flows have made for some awesome dry fly fishing extending well into October now. A strong high pressure settled in the region in late September and although some nights were quite cool(mid-20's) the afternoons have been incredible with some temperature swings nearing 50 degrees! 
Fall fishing is often described as the best and in my opinion I would have to agree but it should be prefaced or clarified that it can also be technical. To me "technical" fly fishing(harder the better) would include one or more of the following conditions that are almost always present in the days of autumn: wary trout, very clear water, low & cold flows, fine tippets, smaller flies, weed growth/leaves and longer leaders… to be honest, often these conditions are all wrapped in one, everyday. But there is a magical aspect to the fall fishing experience… the fish know winter is coming and they gotta eat! Paired with the right guide, an angler who can cast better than the average weekend fly warrior will likely have some of the best fishing of their life in the fall.
Furthermore, in the fall you can target some hefty trout if you know where to look and how to work a streamer. Our streamer bite has been consistently good on the Snake. If you are putting the fly in the right water fish will no doubt follow and slash but to get more hook ups change strip, color and size until you get it right! Good luck and enjoy these late season days!
Flies getting smaller by the week, #16 mahoganies or ants,  then #18 BWO's now… #20 midges are here to stay.
The best Autumn Float… Deadmans to Moose, in GTNP!

Well conditioned trout in the autumn eating small terrestrials late afternoon.
Brian Shinall, from ATL getting in on the top show in GTNP last week.

These fish were podded up on BWO's, incredible to experience!

Fellow guide, Josh Galivan heating it up on the Bighorn, wrapping up another year!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report-- October 6, 2014

This weeks Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report is highlighted by the annual flow cuts on the Snake River, typically starting on or near October 1st. The last week of September we had again some serious rain for the so called semi-arid region. Fall foliage came on strong and within a week the leaves were gone, hammered by wind and rain. As flows drop on the Snake the fishing can become spotty until flows stablize and this year was no different. The trips I ventured out on during the water drops were good but we had to constantly search for new holding positions. Areas that held fish a week or two ago were often void of any life, in fact nearly all the flat runs that have no significant hole were void of trout. Literally in a few days span we went from a late summer pattern, where the trout are spread out along banks to finding fish in winter lies and deep corners.
Another highlight worth mention was the sharp change in water temperature. Once the heavy rains of September moved on the overnight lows fell into the 20's and this shocked the system and water temps went from upper 50's to upper 40's, so now our hot dry fly fishing is slow to happen and is best after 1pm. Hatches have thinned out but still seeing a mixture of small mayflies and midges. We should see some nice fall baetis(BWO) on cloudy days and midge activity will pick up closer to November. Smaller terrestrial patterns are still working well during the afternoon, my best fly lately has been a #16 black PMX.
A relic of summer clings to a gravel bar in October.

September rains brought exciting fishing and dramatic views.

Ventured out of the valley during the heavy rains.

Stunning brown from Western Wyoming.

This rainbow hammered a small foam power ant.

Flows are stablizing and big trout are repositioning, love October!
Jackson Hole!