Back on the sticks

Perhaps suffering from a bit of cabin fever or perhaps just
wanting to get out of town, on Monday Jamie and I hooked up
the drift boat and headed to the Big Horn. What is the Wind
River through the Wind River Canyon, the river emerges,
changes its name at the Wedding of the waters and flows north
through the town of Thermoplis, Wyoming.

Jamie looking for risers on the Big Horn

Jamie looks for risers. Despite a few midges on the
water, rises were few and far between

I’ve floated the BH a few times but this was Jamie’s first
on this great tailwater. I’ll be honest, expectations were high;
we hoped to catch some of the large rainbows and browns that
the river is know for. At the end of the trip though all we had
to show for ourselves was one feisty ‘bow. Oh well, such is
fishing in January.

January take out

Taking out as the sun goes down; nothing a few tow
ropes can’t solve.

The real excitement took place at the takeout where a
truck taking out ahead of us got stuck in the warmed snow.
Fortunately there were two older guys and their Ford Bronco.
Action based on years of experience was taken and eventually,
with the help of some tow straps and a surprisingly powerful
old Bronce, the truck got unstuck and pulled up the ramp.
Seeing this production, I decided it best not to back down to
the boat, instead attaching the tow straps to my winch and
cranking the boat up the snowy slope. Jamie and I left smiling,
proud to live in a state where strangers still happily help
strangers and no one gets stressed because things are running
a little behind schedule….


Well, winter seems to be moving right along. I haven’t
been able to get out fishing the past few days; it’s been pretty
cold and I’ve been substitute teaching. Instead I’ve been doing
a lot of fly tying. 

A view of my fly tying bench. I try to keep it pretty
organized but after a few dozen flies, things start to get out of
control. I recently got a new vise- a Regal Medallion with
stainless steel jaws. It replaces a Renzetti I tied on for close to
20 years. While I have no complaints about the Renzetti
traveler, I love the new Regal. It holds all hook sizes securely
and doesn’t need to be adjusted at all when putting differet size
hooks in. Just squeeze the lever, insert hook and you’re good
to go. Plus, no plastic pieces to fail. Most flies I tie are trout
flies in the size 6-16 range. I do however tie plenty of
streamers (#2,4s, etc.) as well as smaller dry flies, nymphs
and midges (#16-24). Any size I throw at is held in place like a

Teton Fly Fishing's tying bench

Winter fly tying is a great way to scratch the fishing itch
when you can’t actually go fishing. Patterns coming off the
vise this week consisted of some big, articulated streamers
and classic nymphs. I’ve begun organizing fly boxes too, both
for the boat and my vest.

Here’s a completed Zoo Cougar streamer (non articulated).
I really like these and they’re pretty easy to tie. The duck
flank feather really makes the fly look good in the water…

Tying a .

I splurged and bought some new thin orvis boxes for my
nymphs in hopes of simplifying selections for carrying. The box
below is getting filled with my go-to patterns for fishing the
waters here in Jackson Hole, Dubois etc. There’s a ton of
patterns out there, but I always go back to the basics- Hare’s
ears, phesant tails, princes, copper johns and peacock soft
hackles. I like to tie all these both with and without weight
(beadheads or lead wrapping.) In addition to this box, i’m
planning on having a box for tail-water specific bugs (scuds,
rock worms, etc.), a box for still waters (damsel nymphs,
chrionomids, scuds, etc.) and a box for the Firehole river. This
way I can grab the right box for the situation instead of
carrying everything with me all the time. Ofcourse my boat
box will be stocked full of everything so no matter where I’m
floating; Snake, Green, Big Horn, etc. I’ll have what I need.

Nymphs for fly fishing in Jackson Hole

Fishy start to the New Year

Most folks don’t think of January as primetime for fly
fishing around Jackson Hole. There’s snow and cold and skis
outnumber fly rods in and on cars. For those who love trout
and a fly rod, there is no reason not to get out.

Jeremy admires a healthy winter cutthroat trout on
Friday. This guy was residing in a fast run of water up a side
channel and couldn’t resist Jeremy’s stonefly nymph.

Jeremy showing off winter trout

My 2015 fly fishing season has started out well, with trips
to various waters over the past two weeks. We had a warm
spell that pushed temperatures into the low 40s around here
and that was all I needed to grab the fly rod and hit the water.
I spent a few days fishing the Wind River with friends, Brad
and Leon. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the
fishing was pretty good too with browns and rainbows falling
for our nymph and streamer patterns.

I love the spotting on browns, particularly the bluish
tint around the gills and eyes. A fine specimen from the Wind

spots on a winter brown trout

I also got out on the Snake for two days this past
weekend; one day fishing with my neighbor and good friend,
Jeremy and the other guiding Mike, William and Garrett. The
Snake fished as you would expect for this time of year-
whitefish on nymphs and a few larger cutthroat trout on
nymphs and midges. We also found a pod of sipping trout that
were anything but cooperative. Fun though! Kudos to the North
Carolina men for braving the winter weather and going fishing!

William, on christmas break from college, learned a
thing or two about tight-line nymphing on the Snake River.

winter fly fishing on the snake river, jackson hole  

One other thing to note, the town of Dubois, Wyoming
suffered a horrible fire over the new year, which destroyed
many buildings/shops on main street. The town has pulled
together during this tough time, showing how strong this
community is. Anyone who’s fished the Dubois area with me
over the years knows what a special place it is. Please keep
the town in your thoughts and anyone who wants to make a
donation to help the victims can do so through N.O.D
(Needs of Dubois)