Sunday dry flies and rising cutthroat trout

Despite battling a nasty cold, I sucked it up and got out fishing Sunday with my friend Matt. We headed south, choosing to fish the Snake in the canyon, hoping to have water to ourselves. After a little snowshoeing we got on the water; I opted to nymph fish while Matt threw streamers. Both tactics worked, the streamer a little more than the nymphs (at least for a while). I finally tied on a simple peacock soft hackle, a favorite of mine, and could hardly keep the fish off. Dead drifted, swung, it didn’t matter. The cutthroat trout loved it. After landing quite a few fish, I sat down and watched Matt fish. While sitting high above the water i started to see fish rise. That was all I needed. I tied on a small parachute adams, slid down the snowbank and began casting to risers. In the end, Matt and I had a fantastic afternoon of dry fly fishing.


bringing it in

mid march midge fishing

fine spotted cutthroat trout

True Confessions..

Funny things happened this week. I opted for two things I swore I
never would do….

Number one: Me and the lady are headed to Florida in a few weeks
for some R & R and fishing. I’ll be honest, I never really had any
interest in Florida. Always figured if I made it that far southeast,
I’d continue on to lesser populated areas (ie. the Bahamas). Well
sometimes easy is better, especially when good friends are
involved. My good friend Kurt and his wife were kind enough to
invite us to join them on Anna Maria Island for a week in April.
They’ve been there a few times before and from the sounds of it,
Anna Maria island, located near Tampa on the gulf side, seems like
a nice, laid back place to kick up the feet and take it easy.
Apparently there are Snook on the beaches and other assorted fish
swimming in it’s warm waters. Florida’s not sounding so bad and
I’m getting more and more excited. Naturally I started tying up
some flies for the trip…. If anyone out there has any fishing tips
for this area, shoot me an email.

Second on the list of things I did this week was ordering a….. wait
for it….a tenkara (*cough*) rod. Feel free to make fun now. I’ll
own up and admit to spending the past few years making fun of
tenkara fishing; laughing at the idea of paying money for a
glorified cane pole. Maybe it was the dreary weather or the cold
i’ve been battling, maybe I got caught up in the idea of fishing a
long noodly rod on small cutthroat streams. In any event, I pulled
the trigger and ordered a basic starter rod, line, etc. And I gotta
say, after opening it up today, i’m pretty excited. Seems like a cool
thing to mess around with. It’ll never take the place of my
conventional fly fishing tackle, but it may just be a fun “toy” to
enjoy a day on the water with. I’ll keep you posted….

So there you have it. True confessions from Teton Fly Fishing’s
world headquarters. Something tells me both of these things are
gonna play out alright. Time for some whiskey…

week in review

Spent the past week painting, teaching and tying/ organizing
some flies. The good news is that I finished and shipped a series
of cutthroat paintings to a client of mine. I think the four cutthroat
watercolors will look nice framed and matted in their new home.
Now it’s onto the next project, another commission that, if all goes
well should be finished in the next week or so.

All four painting together on the floor. Each one is
11×14″.Top left to bottom right: Snake river fine-spotted cutthroat,
Bonneville cutthroat, Yellowstone cutthroat and Colorado river
cutthroat. Anglers who catch all four species in Wyoming earn a
cuttslam certificate. You can read an old blog about our cuttslam adventure here.

series of cutthroat trout watercolors

The freelance art world is funny. Over the years I’ve done a
number of projects and it seems like when it rains, it pours (in a
good way). Besides the paintings I’m working on, it also looks like
I’ll be doing some illustrations for the JH Planet’s best of issue. I
did some work for them last year, doing chariactures of various
winners. They were happy with them and it looks like I’ll be getting
out the ink and watercolors to complete a few new pieces…

The weather’s been pretty good around here and maybe i’ll
sneak out in the next few days and wet a line. Hope folks take
advantage of warm temps over the weekend.

Not all streamers have to be articulated with tons of
rubber legs… Here are some simple, farily ugly, yet VERY effective
blinged-out wooly buggers for spring lake fishing. My thought
process, “let’s make’em look like a panther-martin or something”.
And yes, these blinged-out synthetic mutants will work in a river

Recipe: tail: gold flash, body: white sparkly chenille,
palmered olive grizzly hackle, Yellow dumbell eyes. Hows that for

bling. some teton fly fishing flies for spring lake fishing

Fly tying and rainbows

Ran over to the Teton Fly Fishing cabin in Dubois last week to spend a few days working on some paintings and other odds and ends. Lulu joined me and we had some fun roaming the river bottom and finding tennis balls in the Sage brush. I was particularly excited to organize and add a bunch of new fly tying materials to the cabin’s tying desk. It’s nice to be able to tie flies while at the cabin and also offer guests a place to tie. Every fly fishing cabin needs a fully stocked fly tying desk!

fly tying desk at the teton fly fishing cabin

Friday I had the pleasure of guiding some great folks from Mass. Rob and his two boys, Jake and Bo joined me for a fun day of fly fishing. The weather couldn’t have been better and the guys did great learning how to dead-drift nymphs and hooked some fish. The highlight came at the 11th hour when Jake, after loosing several fish, hooked a hot rainbow. The ‘bow ran up and down river, taking line off the reel in an effort to allude us. Jake did great, keeping pressure on the fish but letting him run and eventually got him close enough for me to net. He was all smiles as he admired his catch!

Jake with his first wyoming trout

A few days on the Snake

I spent the better part of this past week fishing clients on the Snake river. For the most part the weather was great; sunny and temperatures in the 40s. We found some nice cutthroat trout feeding on midges in many side channels and back eddies. Jason, hailing from TN got to enjoy some great dry fly fishing on Thursday, bringing many nice cutts to hand.

Jason shows off a nice snake river cutthroat trout

Sunday proved a bit more difficult for me and my clients. We covered a lot of ground, fishing what I thought was great water. Unfortunately the wind really picked up, blowing straight up river and shutting down and hopes we had for some good dry fly fishing. The three guys were champs, not complaining at all when we switched to nymphs, fishing run after run. Eventually everyone managed some fish, include one BIG cutthroat, but I’d be lying if I said i wasn’t disappointed. I really wanted to get these guys on rising trout, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us (at least where we were fishing…)

It was nice to be out on the water for a few days and introduce visiting anglers to the waters I love so much. The fishing should continue to get better as we get into March.

A clean bench

It doesn’t happen often, if ever. My fly tying bench is a collection of materials, flies, and coffee stains. I try to keep it fairly organized, but seldom give it a full on cleaning. With the arrival of new fly tying materials the other night, I decided it was time to do some spring cleaning. It felt good organizing thread, tinsel, glues, chenilles and everything else that seems to get out of control over the course of a year. I’ll do my best to keep it tidy, but I suspect that as more flies are tied for the upcoming season, things will get back to a type of organized chaos.

Whoa! look at that clean bench. I can see the surface and find what i need!

Teton Fly Fishing Tying bench

Threads are organized. Tying enough flies for me and my clients requires a pretty good selection of thread, tinsel and wire.

Tying thread


Fishing around here has been good lately. I spent yesterday scouting some water with Lulu. We covered A LOT of ground and fished a bit too. Today I spent the day guiding Jason from TN. We had a great day fishing midges to rising cutthroat trout. Tomorrow we’ll pick up where we left off today, hopefully finding more rising fish and enjoying the sunshine!

Jason casts to rising cutthroat trout on the Snake river today as a moose watches from the other bank.

Moose and Fly Fisherman

Some fishing and trout paintings

Things here at the Teton Fly Fishing world headquarters have been slow. I’ve been laying low, sliding through February in usual fashion. Overall the past couple weeks have been good. Temperatures have been a little warmer and days are getting noticeably longer.

Matt and I took advantage of 60 degree temperatures in Thermopolis two weeks ago and snuck over to float the Big Horn. Despite the high number of boats on the water we had a fun day, hooking and landing some nice browns and rainbows. We were hoping to fish dry flies, but the wind howled and we settled for nymphing. Never-the-less it was fun to be on the water with Matt and Lulu.

Matt shows off a nice rainbow from our Big Horn Float. Most fish were caught on scud patterns dead-drifted.

Matt's Bighorn 'bow

I got to fish too and caught a few memorable trout! Here, Lulu inspects a nice brown.

always best for Lulu to check out the catch

Most of my time lately has been spent working on some artwork. I have a few commissioned paintings to complete, and given my procrastinating nature, I thought it best to buckle down and get some stuff done before the winter has come and gone. I’m pretty pleased with how the watercolor trout paintings are turning out. This week I have a few guided trips on the calendar. Looks like it should be sunny and relatively warm, perfect winter midge weather…..

A Yellowstone cutthroat trout watercolor, part of a commissioned set of cutthroat paintings

Yellowstone cutthroat trout watercolor by Nate Bennett

Guiding on the Snake in January

Well, the 2016 Teton Fly Fishing guiding season is underway.
This past week I took two eager anglers from upstate New York fly
fishing on the Snake. Tyler and Carlos were in town on a ski trip
and wanted to do a little fishing. After breaking trail for a bit and
getting our blood pumping, we got on the water a little after 11am.
Tyler had considerable experience with a fly rod, fishing back home
for steelhead, while Carlos was new to it. After fishing a run or two
without luck, Tyler manage to connect with a nice cutthroat trout;
a fine intro to western fly fishing! Carlos continued to work on his
casting, which paid off when he landed his first fish on a fly rod.
These guys ended up with quite a few fish under their belts, not
bad for a cold day in January!

Tyler showing off his first western trout, a nice snake
river cutthroat trout!

Winter fly fishing on the Snake river

Trudging, casting and freezing

Seeing as the thermometer said 33 degrees outside, I couldn’t resist wetting a line. Taking down the christmas lights could wait! I headed to the Snake to scout some side channels. I walked, no trudged up river, following one braid after another hoping to find a pod of cutthroat trout sipping on midges. Unfortunately my fishing turned into more of a hike. A lot of the water I thought might be productive was frozen over, save a thin ribbon of current here and there. I ended up walking a giant loop in the river bottom, casting a few times here and there but really not coming across any water that excited me. Eventually I got back to the bridge and nymphed a seam/ shelf that I’ve hooked a few fish at before. It wasn’t long before I stumbled into a decent cutthroat (who came off before a picture could be taken) and a few whitefish. I rambled on down river and hit a few more pieces of water but never saw another fish. I did come across some mountain lion tracks though….

It never hurts to get out and I did enjoy the quiet. At least I can cross that area off my map and focus on other areas this winter with the fly rod.

Below are a few pics from fishing the wind last week. Finally got around to downloading them…

rainbow meet zebra midge

Gotta respect the zebra midge; a great pattern for winter fly fishing in Wyoming!

bow, 1st of year

Not the biggest rainbow, but a pretty one. 

Trout of the new year

At last, I got back in the saddle and waved around the long rod. It’s been a while since I fished. Much of this had to do with the below zero temperatures we had for a few weeks in Jackson Hole. Add to it the holiday season and some various teaching gigs, and I went on a bit of a hiatus. All this changed yesterday when I threw my gear in the truck and fished a stretch of water not too far from the Teton Fly Fishing cabin.Conditions couldn’t have been much better; no wind, overcast and warm enough that gloves weren’t needed and rod guides didn’t freeze. It was downright pleasant! The water I settled on is a good choice for winter fly fishing; easily wadeable with a beaver cache to foster emerging midges. I ended up fishing for about an hour and managed a few rainbows. It felt great to be back on the water.

was hoping to have pics to post from the day, but i’m experiencing some tech problems loading them so you’ll just have to take my word and use your imagination….

Not too much else to report from Teton Fly Fishing headquarters. We had a nice, mellow christmas and new years. As I mentioned, it was really cold, meaning we spent too much time inside eating, drinking and getting fat. Lulu’s doing great, definitely coming into her own and gaining independence. Training continues and, save some backyard barking, we’re proud of how she’s coming along. Looks like the next week or so should be a bit warmer (high 20s- mid 30s) so hopefully some more fishing will occur. I’ve got a walk- in trip on the books for next week and folks are starting to book summer/fall days too.