Hello readers, viewers and fishing world! It has been some time since I last posted an update but this time of the year winter activities can easily take priority when you live in Jackson Hole and work at one of the greatest ski resorts in North America. Here we are, late in the winter and just last week I had an opportunity to get out and not only fish with a guide from New Zealand but more importantly share our home river and its native trout with a kiwi. Nigel Birt was traveling through the valley with his wife after working the show circuit in the SLC area. He reached out and expressed his interest in fishing the Snake River for its native Cutthroats, an apparent check off his bucket list. As imagined Nigel and I hit it off right away. Since I have a vast affinity for New Zealand fly fishing I was quick to get right to the questions(Nigel, owns and operates Backcountry New Zealand and has guided the South Island for nearly 30 years) and we settled into the day talking trout.
Being the guide, I totally down played the afternoon's potential but knew we had a good shot at some nice fishing. Temps have been on the increase and the river is about to really come alive in the next few weeks. With that we simply jumped in around the Wilson Bridge access and looked for the right water, specifically slower deep troughs with a riffle at the head of the run.
Our flies were the best basic patterns for a late winter outing, a zebra midge and a gnat dry fly. We began working the first run together and were just getting a feel for what the fish may be doing but the midges were certainly on the increase. As we both worked out the kinks in our casting Nigel hooks up with his first ever Cutthroat just below the pathway bridge. He was stoked!
Only 30 minutes into the afternoon we thought we should try and spot some feeding fish and hunt down the dry fly bite down river. The remaining river bed snow pack was compact and easy to walk upon and from the looks of it we were the first on the water in sometime. The next run was much more quiet yet we did manage one nice trout again on the zebra midge slow and deep.
At this point we were both content with the day but I did feel like we should see some feeding fish. On the last run at about 2:45pm I saw a flash or two just under the surface below a drop off. We had the gnat on the 9' 3wt Z Axis and once we cast it in the zone we landed 8 chunky trout between 14" & 16" over the last half hour!
It is always a special treat to share these rivers with anyone but that was an extra special way to start the 2016 season. Thanks Nigel, and I look forward to our time on your home water hopefully sooner than later!
Stay Tuned and check out our website at GRANDTETONFLYFISHING.COM