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!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- September 16, 2014

Well again my posts are infrequent due to a demanding guide and family lifestyle, a lifestyle I am happy to remain passionate about and quite fortunate to have. Guide work is often a 12-15hr day so the last thing I want to do is jump on the computer and talk fishing late at night… even my photography has slacked a bit but I am here to say WOW, what a few weeks it has been in the Western Wyoming region. I am on the water about 6 days a week and out of the past month or so I can recall 2 days that I scratched my head and struggled to get into trout(just so happens those two days were around the full moon in early September) and even on those days we managed a half dozen nice fish, one at 21". Point is the area has been red hot and the fishing is about as good as I can remember in all my years in JH. I am betting the cool and wet summer has had a major influence on this pattern. Through August and into the first of September rain was steady about every 4-5 days and at times torrential. The heavy rains did make it interesting on choosing a river to float as several were running off color but as the rains cleared and the flush passed the fishing was lights out! Flows on the local Snake River are absolutely perfect, steady at 1900cfs in Moran and nearing 2800cfs at Moose, not to mention nice and cold as well. The hatches have been better than normal(tricos, hecubas, PMD's and paralips) and my hope is our trout are fattening up and ready to munch more as the fall approaches.
I can also say flows on our Southern and Eastern neighboring rivers are quite good as well. The Upper Green is still floatable above Daniel and others in the area are picturesque and good bets to head hunt some larger specimens. The Wind and Bighorn are fishing supremely well due to the cool summer, here flows are ripe for some major BWO hatches now and into October.
Lastly, I must mention the obscene number of hoppers and flying ants this season. The hoppers have remained fairly small due to cooler conditions but on the hot days there are thousands out and about. My personal favorite are the ants... each day I scan the water and survey its bug inventory and by and large the flying ants crush the hoppers, try a black ant #14 or #16 and you won't be disappointed.

The 2014 One Fly Event went well for me as a guide. I again had the upper beat below Jackson Lake dam. Day 1 I had my contestants fish a small terrestrial dry each, we had perhaps 1200 points on the line and were only able to manage 850 points to the net(4th place for day 1). Day 2 I had one angler fish another small dry and the other a small streamer as the weather looked threatening and ideal for the leech/minnow. Again we had 1000 points on the line but only managed 550 to the net. Overall a 7th place for Wyoming points(1400). In contrast my good friend and fellow GTFF guide, Ed Dutilly took 1st place honors with nearly 2200pts, way to go!
Cutthroat soaked in summer, GTNP.

John Irby navigates below Deadmans Bar, the best scenery in Teton Park.

The "Guarantee Riffle" underneath Moran.

Day 2 of the 2014 One Fly… 8:30 am below the dam.

Another nice bow from Wyoming's Bighorn.

21" brown saved an overall tough day on the Green during the full moon and full sunlight.

Wind River rainbows are my favorite, absolutely wild!

A lone angler enjoys an abundant trico hatch and a top guide, Dave Smith.