Fishing’s been pretty good around here lately. I’ve had some great guests and it’s been a pleasure spending time on the water with them fooling fish. Over the past few weeks, many days were spent up in Yellowstone Park on the Firehole River. There, we wade fished for wild rainbow and brown trout while Bison watched from afar. Yesterday I floated Brian and his son in law, Matt, on the upper Green River. The river fished pretty well. Lot of bugs fluttering around and we decided to go with the most fun option- giant dry flies to mimic emerging stoneflies. A few nice fish were landed and many more ate our bugs but got away. Really nice to be on the oars watching big bugs float on top of the water. Fly fishing around here in Jackson Hole is going to continue to improve as more and more waters clear and begin fishing well.
Well, this Covid thing is a mess! Fortunately all is well here at Teton Fly Fishing and I’m back up and running, taking folks fishing and booking trips for the summer. Lately I’ve been guiding some return clients out of the Dubois Fishing Cabin as well as doing some local walk-in trips. Additionally, I’ve made it a priority to get out camping and fishing with Jamie, Lulu and some good friends. It’s been really great being on the water and the warm temperatures lately have been icing on the cake!
Right now the best fly fishing trip options are to fish in Yellowstone Park and area lakes. Waters in Yellowstone like the Firehole aren’t affected by snowmelt like much of the freestone rivers around here. That, combined with some great hatches and a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout make it a great option right now. If you like stillwater, many of our area lakes are ice free and fishing well too. I love to cast streamers to fish cruising the shallows this time of year. It’s a great way to hook some nice fish!
Below are a few photos from recent fly fishing trips.
Jamie and I just returned from the Bahamas, spending the better part of a week and a half on the island of Eleuthera. We were lucky, getting our trip in just before the Coronavirus shut down most of the world.
As some of you know, our yearly Bahamas trip is a highlight for me; an excuse to relax after a long winter and try my luck bonefishing. While we’ve spent time (and fished) on other islands in the Bahamas, this was our first adventure to Eleuthera, hoping its reputation for a mellow out island and decent DIY fishery lived up to its reputation. After overnighting in Nassau, our good friends Kurt and Kelly met us and after some delays, we boarded the Bahamasair flight to Rock Sound in South Eleuthera. We rented a house on the Caribbean, allowing for out the door fishing, swimming and general beach bumming. Additionally, the house was a great home base for exploring the southern end of the island.
Fishing-wise, we had the usual strikes and gutters. Despite promising water in front of the house (rock, coral and sand flats), Kurt and I weren’t able to find any bonefish. We fished incoming tides, out going tides, etc. and were left frustrated by the lack of opportunities. While walking the beach one day we came across a local’s fishing “camp”. Strung out over a hundred yards was a gill net and I wonder if that might explain the lack of fish? We were able to catch a variety of reef fish though so it wasn’t a total bust. Besides fishing from the house, we also explored other flats and beaches in search of bonefish. The Atlantic side proved to be windy, making seeing a problem. I did manage a nice Jack thanks to Kurts coaching. Some other promising spots proved empty despite being beautiful. Each day we fished promising water only to be shutout. I think morale would’ve been higher had we at least seen some fish to cast too, but none were to be found.
As our time on Eleuthera progressed, so did the global pandemic situation. Originally Jamie and I decided the best course of action was to stay in the Bahamas longer to ride things out. However, when the State Department issued a warning telling US citizens to get home immediately or risk being stuck indefinitely, we decided we needed to get back to Wyoming. We all scrambled, buying additional plane tickets to get off the island, only to find flights canceled when we showed up at the airport at the appointed time. So we made the most of things and decided to enjoy ourselves, deciding to explore yet another creek system; a place with a white sand beach for the ladies and bonefish flats for Kurt and I.
It’s as if the bonefish Gods took pity on us (or decided we’d put in the time and deserved to be rewarded). With an incoming tide, Kurt and I proceeded to have a field day, hooking more bonefish than we’ve ever experienced! It got to the point where fish that came off didn’t matter and I stopped fishing and got Jamie, helping her catch fish. After working the creek system, we waded the white sand flat where numerous schools of fish were moving. I’ve never had a day like it and likely never will again. It made us forget the shutouts we received earlier.
Afterword, we headed back to the house, stopping at a local restaurant that was open for take out. Earlier, the Bahamian government had implemented a curfew and closed the liquor stores. Thinking we’d get out earlier, we’d drank all our booze and now were in need of some cold Kaliks. Fortunately the local proprietor understood our predicament and happily sold us what we needed around back. We returned home, sat on the porch overlooking the caribbean, and toasted our amazing day.
The following morning we reported for our flight (which the day before was assured would go) only to learn that it wasn’t coming and that flights were being suspended. We immediately hopped in the car and headed north in the dark to Governors Harbor hoping there might be a flight there. Running in the airport, we explained our situation to a Pineapple Air worker. She made some calls and we got the last four seats on the soon to be leaving flight to Nassau. Once in Nassau, we all caught our respective flights home. Eventually Jamie and I (after delays, cancelations and a night in SLC) made it back to Jackson.
We’re plugging through winter here in Jackson Hole and I’ve been fortunate to have had some great folks wanting to get in on some winter fly fishing while visiting on ski vacations. In typical winter fashion, the Snake River has made us work for our fish, but anglers walked away happy. Much winter fly fishing success relies on finding good holding water. Fish in the winter like to hold in deep, slower water where they don’t have to expend lots of energy. If you find the right kind of water, you can usually fool a couple fish.
Most of our fishing has been dead-drifting nymphs, but as days get longer and a bit warmer, fish are also being caught on the surface. These midge hatches can last 10 minutes or an hour or two depending on the weather. The other day I was out with three great guys visiting from Canada. Trevor, Rich and John decided to take a day off from skiing and joined me on the river. All being novices, I taught them about reading water, bugs and winter fishing. In the end we managed a few fish to net and lost some others. The highlight for me came when we found a pod of cutthroat trout aggressively feeding on the surface on the edge of some fast water. After a few casts, John got his presentation just right and was rewarded when a beautiful cutthroat came up under his fly and inhaled it. Then it promptly ran down river, eventually breaking off. Despite not landing the fish, it was an awesome experience and one John likely won’t forget.
Onwards and upwards as we delve into 2020! Hope folks had a good holiday season. Mine was filled with visiting family and friends. I managed to sneak in a little fishing just before New Years, joining my friend Kurt at his place on the New Jersey Bay. The weather was fairly warm for late December, low 50s and we spent a day cruising the bay in hopes of finding some Stripers. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find any despite seeing a few bait fish emerge from the surface. The next day we walked the beach for an hour or two in hopes of finding some fish. We cast in some promising looking troughs and breaks but never found anything. In the end it was still fun getting out on some new water while working on double hauling sinking line. I get the sense that if fish are there and feeding, it’s hard not to hook up. BUT, if they aren’t around, there’s not much you can do.
Since getting back home to Jackson, I’ve been engaged in my usual winter activities- substitute teaching, painting, fly tying and some guitar playing. I’ve had a few eager anglers who didn’t mind the cold and wanted to fish. While Jackson in the winter is more of skiing destination, it’s possible to hook a few fish on the Snake if you know where to go. We bundled up, donned snowshoes and hiked into some productive water. Each trip was fun, allowing me to introduce folks to winter fishing. We focused on nymphing slow runs and were reward with a few fish. As we get through January (the coldest, least fish-friendly month) I expect the fishing to pickup. It’ll be fun to continue to get out now and then. Here at Teton Fly Fishing, I’m already looking forward to the upcoming fishing season. A lot of return clients are already booking trips, as well as some new folks! It’s nice to see the calendar filling up already.
me and my ski buddy Lulu enjoying the white stuff
Great day on the water with Taylor and Scot
First cutthroat trout of 2020!
Hope everyone is having a very merry Christmas
Finally getting some time to catch up on the Blog. My weeks have been busy fishing anglers on our local rivers. The dry fly fishing has been really good as you’d expect this time of year. With October nearing, I’m looking forward to more good fishing, both with dry flies for our native cutthroat trout and also with streamers for large brown trout.
Great day on the water with Dennis and Tutu. Tutu fished dries with some southern flair and shows off one of his cutthroat trout from the Snake River.
Always fun fishing folks out of the Teton Fly Fishing cabin. Allows us to fish remote waters for gems like this… Brook trout in the fall are about as pretty a fish as you can catch.
Jamie and I got to fish together on a day off. We hit the spring creeks in the park and Jamie fooled this guy with a caddis fly.
Mark shows off a nice Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Always fun fishing him and his friends every September. Despite having to cover some ground, fish were eager to take our dry flies.
It’s been nice this week to float folks on the upper Green River. The weather’s been about perfect (aside from some wind) and hopefully the dry fly fishing will pick up. Here’s Melissa showing off the largest trout she’s ever caught on a fly. Super fun fishing her and her husband Jamie again on this fun river!
Been doing some trips up to Yellowstone lately with folks. The Firehole is fishing pretty well and it’s hard to beat spending a day amongst the geysers and buffalo. Sporadic hatches of BWOs and PMDs have allowed clients to catch some fiesty browns and rainbows on various stretches of the fabled water. When the fish aren’t rising, we’ve swung wet flies and nymphs with success.
Trapper shows off a nice Firehole River brown trout. Not bad for his first time fly fishing.
The Firehole isn’t known for big fish. Most anglers can expect to catch spunky browns and rainbows in the 6-12″ range, but it’s possible to catch some larger fish. The Salmonflies should start appearing in the canyon stretch in the next week or so. In addition to Yellowstone, we’ve also been fishing some area lakes. I always find lakes to be hit or miss. When they’re on, they can be some of the most fun fishing around. When they’re not, like yesterday, it makes for a tough day…. Regardless it’s always fun to introduce anglers to some of our fine stillwater options.
On days i haven’t been on the water, I’ve been tying flies and getting the Dubois cabin ready for guests. When I was working over there last week, Lulu and I discovered a fresh bear cache just above our property. Looked like a Grizzly had picked off an elk calf and devoured most of it. I got a few lousy picks on the game cam and am hoping next time i check it I’ll have something worth posting.
Memorial Day weekend marks the opening of fishing in Yellowstone National Park. I was up on the Firehole guiding Doug, Joyce, Marcie and Zippy; great folks who hail from Philadelphia. Despite never having fly fished before, they had a great time catching wild browns and rainbows! The weather was typical for springtime in Yellowstone, cool and cloudy. This was great for fly fishing; BWOs hatched, bringing trout to the surface to feed.
Fly Fishing somewhere in Wyoming where brown trout eat streamers…
Fishing up there should only get better in the weeks to come and I look forward to more days up there. Also have some fun floating folks on the Green River lately. The weather has slowed our runoff making the Green a great choice for early season float fishing. Nymphing and Streamers got the fishes’ attention and rewarded clients with some nice browns and rainbows. Fishing around the valley will continue to be fun even with water levels rising. There’s plenty of good options around here if you know where to go and are flexible with where you want to fish. As I mentioned, best fishing will be in YNP and area lakes.
Seth getting it done subsurface
Zippy shows off a rainbow on the Firehole. Looks like he’s getting the hang of it
Good day fishing some new water with my Friend Matt. He found some Browns that liked his streamers.