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!

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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- August 12, 2014

Jackson Hole area fly fishing has been nothing short of epic over the past month and the late summer outlook looks just as promising. On top of our high water we had this spring and into the summer season we have had a nice, relatively cool and wet summer. Just this past week it rained pretty damn hard for Western Wyoming standards over 3 days. These periods of rain do blow some mud into the Snake River drainage but this gives the trout a rest and recharges the springs and tribs.

This week and looking into the next month or more we should expect the terrestrial fishing to keep heating up. Yesterday was the first hot day(81degrees) in some time and the hoppers were going nuts on the mtn. bike trail. Today I fished terrestrials all day and had eager grabs from 9am to 5:30pm, seriously! Luckily the wind has been low but if we get a few windy days the hopper show will be very good well into September. Another bug to be on the look out for are tricos, these are showing on the upper Snake and likely elsewhere. 
Flows are excellent everywhere and this may come down to one of the best summer flow regimes I can remember. Float fishing is holding up on the upper Green and the Snake is slowly dropping below the magical 4000cfs level at Moose. 
Get out and have fun!

Horned owl on the Green River.

Weldon Jones with a good looking Wind River brown.

Damon and Kelly Marty of Oregon light up the Western third of Wyoming last week, he had to be blindfolded to get home.

Damon again, now getting some brownie love!

Nothing much better than fly fishing in Grand Teton National Park, you just have to look up!

Alley, a first time beginner nails a king daddy cutthroat on the Snake, nice job!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- July 12, 2014

 Well its been another hectic month or so and fortunately fly fishing has been a common theme in my everyday life… Jackson Hole summer lifestyle at its best! Granted I spend an awful lot of time watching others fly fish but at this point in my life it is my pleasure to spend precious time outdoors with folks who want to learn and get better and more importantly, share America's awesome natural resources.

Early last month I ventured down South on my annual getaway to spend time with family and wet a hook in some new watersheds. I had the privilege to meet up with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing's guide Robert Cramer in Harrisonburg, VA. My father and I made the drive up from ATL expecting some spectacular smallmouth bass fishing. We did manage to get into some nice bass but overall the bite was off but fortunately for me another critter was stirring… Muskie! The Shenandoah River is spectacular and diverse in its habitat and I have to admit, it occurred to me that I could live near a river like this and be quite happy with the variety, much like the Chattahoochee I grew up on but with a few million less people.
Shenandoah River, Virginia
Third grab was a solid hook set and away we go!
A lifetime species up close, incredible creature!
Like a dream… beach, fly rod and a couple brews.
Since back in Jackson Hole the guide season has had a few starts and stops due to high water in Wyoming. For most of June the South Fork of the Snake River, the Firehole River and Lewis Lake in YNP were about all we could manage to fish but like most Junes, these drainages and venues did not disappoint. Hatches slowly emerged… first some caddis, BWO's and flavs scattered about. Then week by week, day by day the conditions were clearly excellent with sallies, PMD's, drakes of all types and big stoneflies, salmon and goldens!
Early summer rainbow bite gets the summer season underway.
As of lately the best has been the grey drakes of our southern rivers and the tapering off of the big salmon fly hatch buzz on the South Fork. If you missed out, try the Hoback River Canyon for a great hatch lasting another week, the insects are thick in the top of the canyon.

Lewis Lake in June should be on your bucket list of fly fishing.

Late June rain and the most amazing PMD hatch ever on the South Fork.

Stoneflies and brown trout speak summer fly fishing!

Uncrowded Western Wyoming.
Currently we are fishing the Green River drainage with excellent activity mid morning and through the afternoon. Drakes and golden stones are best but a dropper off the large flies can certainly increase overall action as the surface bite slows around 2 or 3pm. The Snake River below Jackson Lake dam is fishing quite well with sallies and PMD's, this should hold up for some time and as the Buffalo Fork clears the lower sections will be finally ready for some serious fishing. Flows at Moose are just over 6000cfs and appear to be dropping, I honestly think good fishing on the Snake is just a week or so away.  
Give us a call to book your adventure in Grand Teton National Park!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Report- June 11, 2014

Well a good month has passed and much has happened locally in the fishing sense. For me personally it has been a busy Spring keeping up with demands for the guide service/fly shop and fishing outings have been minimal but overall excellent, a good start to the 2014 Guide season! The main occurrence that is pleasing to see is that our runoff has stayed strong and we melted away a ton of the season's snow in record time. Many season's we see the snow pack grow some in May but this year the warm temps, especially at night have beat down the pack rather quickly. What once looked like a short compressed fishing season now looks closer to normal yet with healthy, generous, cool flows well into the late summer that keeps our trout quite happy. Happy trout = happy anglers!
10th Annual Blackfoot Carp tournament… beautiful weather prevailed!
Tailing carp in a back bay on Blackfoot Reservoir.
As of lately flows on the region's large rivers are what appears to be past peak and will drop slowly for the next several weeks, some of these rivers like the Green will be fishable soon yet still flowing strong bank to bank. Once we see good hatches and clarity better than 2' the surface bite should heat up. 
Tom Montgomery hoists a nice brown from the Henry's Fork.
Regional Lakes are iced off below 8000' and fishing well as to be expected. Lewis Lake is a favorite of mine in June and early July and the shallow streamer bite is excellent and soon brown drake spinners will provide nice dry fly fishing in the afternoons.
Not your normal Western Wyoming catch, a hefty smallmouth bass off the Lower Green river system.
Other area reports are all getting better as the heavy snowpack shrinks. The Firehole River in YNP is perhaps our best consistent fishing with nice hatches of PMD's, caddis and sallies. The South Fork of the Snake is higher than it was a week or so ago and has slowed the fishing. Here flows are about 17,000cfs, therefore various nymphs and streamers are your best bet set deep(9').

I leave you with a few pics from my annual trip to the Southeast, mainly to visit family but as always I try and scratch the fly fishing itch on some new water. Best of all this trip was landing a 36" Shenandoah River Muskie on a fly with my dad in the bow of the boat… special thanks to the guys at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for putting me on a wonderful lifetime experience!
White bass run on Allatoona, north of ATL, GA.

An incredible creature up close and hard work to get there.

Finally fulfilling a childhood dream, Muskellunge on the fly!