We had a good stretch of spring fly fishing around here. Unfortunately (or fortunately for those of us who endured a looooonnnnngggg winter) the weather has warmed up and our big snowpack has begun melting. It happens every year but it’s always tough when the weather gets nice and the rivers turn brown. Typically our runoff begins in early May and continues through June. Right now it’s tough to find fishable water. While it’s certainly possible to fish during the runoff season, it often makes for tough days. Best tactics are to nymph fish with large stonefly nymphs, san juan worm variations, etc. and target slow pools and seams. Also, if you can find streams that flow out of lakes or dams, you’re likely to find clear, albeit cold water to fish. Depending on elevation, ice has begun coming off area lakes making them a good place to hunt for fish. Large dark streamers also can get a nice fish or two to strike. Fortunately at the end of May, Yellowstone Park opens up for fishing. Typically the Firehole river and its tributaries stay in pretty good shape and are the best place around to fish. I’m excited to get back up to the park and fish clients on these amazing fisheries.
Over the past few weeks I was able to get out with clients before conditions deteriorated. Larry joined me again this spring spending a few days staying and fishing out of my fishing cabin in Dubois before heading over to Jackson to float the Snake with me. Overall we had some good days catching brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout. After Larry left, longtime client and friend, Mark arrived, staying and fishing with Jamie and I. Our day on the Snake was the last before the river turned dirty and tough. We did well with both dry flies and nymphs. Also got out with a few other folks too. Great to see return and new folks alike! Here’s a few photos from the past few weeks on the water….
April’s always a favorite time of mine to fish the Snake River here in Jackson Hole. Water levels are low and the fish are hungry after a long winter. While this April is definitely the coldest and snowiest I can remember, the fishing has been fun. I’ve done a few guided trips over the past week, getting reacquainted with the oars and the nuances of our local fish. Right now, midges are the name of the game. Good hatches are coming off daily. Also seeing some small black stoneflies hatches. When conditions are right, trout will feed aggressively in riffles and backwater eddies. Looking at the weather forecast, I suspect we’ll get another good couple weeks of fishing in before the runoff begins.
Here’s a few photos from the past couples days….
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2023-04-17 15:34:522023-04-17 15:34:53Good Spring Fly Fishing!
Recently I’ve had a number of email inquiries about half day fishing trips. I thought I’d take a minute to discuss half vs. full day fly fishing trips to help potential guests understand the differences. In a quick nutshell, I recommend full day trips when possible and do not do half day float trips. More thoughts below to help you decide…
Here in Jackson Hole over the years, half day fishing trips have become quite popular; a great way for folks to get a taste of fly fishing while on vacation. While I understand why these are appealing, I prefer to take guests out for full day fly fishing trips. Sure it’s easier for guides to fly down the river, hit a spot or two and be back in time for lunch, allowing guests to check fly fishing off their activities list and tell folks they went fly fishing. Full day fly fishing trips allow me to work with guests though, helping them learn, improve their fly fishing skills and hook more fish. I’ve realized over the years that in most cases, this is hard to do in a half day. Possible, yes. Enjoyable, maybe? When I’m committing my day to a fishing trip, I’d like to go fishing with clients and not be encumbered by the clock, rushing through the motions without giving respect to the quality of the experience. Plus, quite a few of the places I and my guests like to fish require some windshield time, making a half day unrealistic. The few half day trips I do are wade fishing trips and are best during the following: May/ early June- folks looking to get out this time of year and learn about fly fishing while potentially hooking a fish or two enjoy wade fishing smaller water. Because our bigger rivers are muddy with snow melt, a half day on smaller water is a good option. Late October/ November- with days getting shorter and temperatures dropping, sometimes it makes sense to fish a shorter amount of time to target prime hours of fish activity. Winter- temperatures are cold and the best fishing occurs only during the warmest part of the day, making 3-4 hours perfect for targeting fish.
I totally understand the demand and rational for half day fishing trips. But I think that if you’re interested in fly fishing around here you’re going to get much more out of a full day fishing trip.
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2023-04-08 14:28:292023-04-08 14:28:29Half vs. Full Day Fly Fishing Trips
Despite winter never ending, spring fishing has begun here in Jackson Hole. Temperatures are cracking freezing during the day and midges are hatching. It’s great to see fish of all sizes gorging on these small bugs. Additionally, small black stoneflies are making an appearance and as April gets going and the weather improves, we should start seeing larger Skwala stoneflies emerging. All this means it’s a great time to get out on the water! Looking forward to dusting off the drift boat in next week and getting in some stellar float fishing.
Ben and his father in law, Todd joined me for an afternoon on the Snake. We had a great time fishing dry flies and nymphs to hungry fish!
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2023-04-01 12:58:292023-04-01 12:58:29Spring's off to a fishy start
Just back from an 8 day fishing trip to the Bahamas. As many of you know, the Bahamas hold a special place in my heart. The great fly fishing, beautiful environment combined with kindest, friendliest people on earth keep me coming back to the islands. Two of my longtime Teton Fly Fishing clients, Chris and Mark, asked me to help put together a trip for them, combining my knowledge of the area and fishery with their desire to catch a bonefish. We rented a house on a fishy beach and spent the days chasing shadows (and hooking some!), relaxing and enjoying fishing at a relaxed pace.
The first two days I took Chris and Mark wade fishing, teaching them the basics of bonefishing; presentation, fish behavior, etc. Both hooked fish the first day, with Chris landing his and Mark’s coming unbuttoned. A great start to their flats fishing experience! The guys then fished with Bahamian guides for the next two days, allowing me to fish on my own. The last few days were a mix of wade fishing together and the three of us fishing with a guide together. The guys enjoyed the relaxed pace of a “DIY” trip as opposed to the full service lodge stays they’re accustom too. In addition to the good fishing, it was nice to lounge a bit; reading, painting and relaxing. While we cooked a lot of our meals, the small beach bar a few lots down provided us with some great meals and cocktails.It was a successful trip with all of us catching bonefish, missing bonefish and having a great time in the evenings telling stories with Rum in hand. I think the guys learned a lot and appreciated the difficulty involved in fooling the “grey ghost”. They already proclaim they are ready for next year!
Hope everyone had a good Holiday season. Ours was pretty low key, opting to stay in Jackson and celebrate Christmas/New Years with friends. We’ve been getting a lot snow so far this winter. This is great for our fisheries and also has kept temperatures fairly mild (high 20s-30s).
I’ve had the pleasure of guiding a few folks over the past few weeks on winter wade fishing trips on the Snake River here in Jackson. As some of you know, winter fishing is a bit of a crap shoot. I’ve had some great days over the years on the water in the winter months and also had some really tough ones! I’d say the past couple trips have been on the harder side. Fish are laying low in the cold water and not willing to move much for flies. We’ve gotten some sporadic action dead drifting nymphs, but so far midge/surface action has remained elusive. Regardless, the clients I’ve taken have had a great time learning and honing their fishing skills. It’s really fun as a guide to work with folks who have a basic understanding of fly casting, reading water, etc and help them gain a good foundation they can take home with them.
Definitely always worth getting out on the water in the wintertime. I suspect we’ve got another month or so before consistent midge hatch start rolling. March and April are some of my favorite times to be on the water. Lack of other anglers and hungry cutthroat trout make for a great time. Below are a few photos of the adventurous anglers who fished with me lately.
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2023-01-12 10:58:362023-01-12 10:58:38Winter Fly Fishing to kick off the New Year
Another great fly fishing season here at Teton Fly Fishing has come to a close.
What a year it was. Waters I fish treated us well and provided excitement to visiting anglers. The boat has been put away for a few months and I’m beginning to tie flies for next season. Despite the winter, I expect to do quite a few walk in winter wade fishing trips with folks looking to experience winter fly fishing in the valley. If you’re coming out and want to sneak some fishing in, give me a shout and if the weather isn’t too cold, I’m happy to take you out. Also happy to host guests in the winter at the fishing cabin in Dubois. Winter can be a fun time to fish the Wind River.
Since I was a slacker this season and didn’t post much (when the fish are biting, my attention to this blog wanes) I though I’d share a few pictures from the season…
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/154ECF7E-20F0-425B-BDD3-647FDA9B4E36.jpg670900Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2022-12-09 09:33:102022-12-09 09:33:12Wrap on the Teton Fly Fishing 2022 season
I love April here in Jackson Hole. The fly fishing can be some of the best of the year for those willing to put up with weather conditions that range from sunny and warm to blizzards. I’ve been out on the Snake over the past week doing a few guided trips and fun days and man has the fishing been good! Fish are eating midges, small black stoneflies and the large Skwala stones, etc. Yesterday we fished size 8 chubby chernobyl’s all day long. Big, chunky Snake River Cutthroat trout came to the net from start to finish.
Looking forward to guiding the next two weeks to try and capitalize on the great pre runoff fishing. This time of year is tough to predict how long the window will be but I think things will be good well into next week at least. Looks like the Dam gods are about to up the flows out of Jackson Lake Dam. Hopefully this means that water levels will be consistent throughout the summer. See you on the water!
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2022-04-25 14:09:492022-04-25 14:09:50April fishing on the Snake River
Just back from an adventure to Panama. Fly rods were taken and waved around. Here’s my report for others wondering about the DIY fly fishing down there…
Never really thinking much about Panama, I was intrigued when Jamie and our good friend Connie invited me to tag along on a beach adventure to Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We flew from Jackson, Wyoming to Panama City, spent the night and then took an hour flight to the island of Bocas Del Toro. The Bocas area is a series of islands located on the northeast side of Panama along the Caribbean. After landing and some food and drink, we got a water taxi to Bastimentos, a nearby island that would be our home for 8 days.
Despite a lot of research on the internet, I wasn’t able to find much in the way of fly fishing intel for the area. There were some whispers about bonefish, permit and tarpon, but most fishing-related content focused on the great offshore fishing there. So with rods, flies and quick dry clothing, we took the quick 10 minute panga ride from Bocas, the island hub of the region to Bastimentos where Palmer Beach Lodge was located. This small “lodge” catered to travelers from all over, offering a variety of jungle accommodations ranging from tents and screened cabanas to a few air-conditioned rooms. It also had a small bar/ restaurant for meals. Overall it was a good place to stay; clean, friendly staff and fairly small with a nice beach- front location. I would definitely recommend an air-conditioned room, an upgrade we happily paid for after a night in a cabana spent sweating in the jungle humidity. We spent our time lounging around the beach, exploring other beaches, both by walking and going on a boat with a guide for two days, and renting e-bikes one day to get to some beaches on Bocas. While I enjoyed Palmer a lot, I think if I was doing it again I would split the trip between there and a few nights on Bocas just to have access to more restaurants and beaches without having to travel by boat.
Now for the fishing report…. Fly fishing doesn’t seem to be done by anyone there, save a few anglers who travel a ways up the coast to fish for giant tarpon in the river systems. We went out two days with “guides”, a term I’ll use loosely since they didn’t have any fly fishing knowledge but were able to take use to some shallower reef areas where the girls could snorkel and I could wander around fishing. While these areas looked fishy, I failed to find much, save some needlefish and a Remora (a species that attaches itself to other larger fish). Another day we explored Polo Beach, a stunning beach about a 1.5 mile walk from where we were staying. Polo looked great; reef protecting the shore making for some good looking flats. There I caught a number of snappers and saw a couple barracuda, but nothing in the way of sight fishing. Rays and sharks were also lacking, something I notice everywhere I waded. An old local there told me to come back in the evening because the fish leave the area during the day because the water’s too hot. Unfortunately I never made it back in the evening so I don’t know if it would’ve been better.
In addition to Polo, I explored and fished the Red Frog beach area where we were staying. The beach here had pretty good size waves and strong currents making it tough to fish and best left to the surfers and swimmers. I did walk left (north i guess) to a small cove/coral area where I was told they’ve seen bonefish. Again, this area was pretty tough to fish with waves breaking and a lot of seaweed floating. I did however find a few cuts along the beach near this area and caught a lot of decent snappers (this was the most productive fishing water I found). Keep in mind though this was just blind casting. One sunny day there were some fish milling around along the beach but I couldn’t get them to show interest in anything I cast and I’m still not sure what they were.
A few other days of the trip were spent lounging around both because of the weather (it rains here often) and some disagreeable stomachs (finally got some Pepto and Diarrhea pills). I did get a tip about a cove a little ways down the beach that sometimes has tarpon hanging out in it. Unfortunately I never made it there. Our last day in the area we rented E-bikes on Bocas and rode the 17 or so KM to Boca Del Dragon, an amazing area on the northwest tip of the island. The ride took us through the jungle and countryside eventually landing us at Dragon, a protected reef area with beautiful beaches that apparently provided Columbus and his crew shelter during his forth voyage to the Americas. After having a nice lunch and drinks along the beach, I strung up my rod and wandered the shallows looking for fish. Again, no dice. We then hoped on a boat for a short run to Starfish beach, an area renowned for its starfish populations and snorkeling. I was excited but quickly discovered we weren’t the only ones hoping to enjoy this area. Upon arrival, there were tons of boats and other beach seekers enjoying the swimming with music, drink, etc. I wandered off to wade along the mangrove coastline hoping for a game changer. All I found though were a few small barracuda and mullet. We decided if we had to do it again, we would’ve just walked the path to starfish and hung on the beach about a half mile away from the action. It looked much calmer and more our style. No biggie though, still a cool area to see.
The following day after lunch on Bocas, we hoped a flight back to Panama City, spent the night and then took three more planes home to Wyoming.
I have mixed feeling about Bocas. I’m extremely happy and grateful I went there and enjoyed seeing the jungle, sloths, etc. but it didn’t knock my socks off. It is extremely hot and humid there and rain was pretty common. Often the humidity made for overcast days. The town of Bocas reminded me of Tulum, MX before it was ruined; a ton of young European backpackers and hippies, local poverty and foreigner owned restaurants, bars and hotels catering to a hippie disco scene. l was left with mixed feelings. While there are some beautiful beaches, etc, just about any one you go too will be filled with people and boats on day excursions.
Fly Fishing-wise, I found it difficult. I got the sense talking to some expats that the locals have fished out much of the shallow water species and that, combined with the extremely warm inshore water temps and lack of tide, don’t lend itself to much of a fishery. Keeping in mind though that I only was there a week. Maybe I hit it wrong or like many places, just need much more time to figure out the fishery. All that said, definitely take a fly rod along if you’re going. You’ll find some snapper to keep things interesting and maybe a bonefish, Permit or Tarpon. The surf here along the beaches is pretty tough for fishing. Waves and strong current turn up the sand and offer limited predicability on how the water moves and when rogue waves will hit. Plus, there isn’t much of a tide change here; maybe 6-12″. While I took a couple rods, a 9wt (or 8wt) is fine. I tied on some bonefish and permit flies but the old chartreuse and white clouser was really all i used. Wouldn’t hurt to carry some white baitfish type streamer patterns too.
Aside from walking the beach, flats boots are crucial to fishing the reef coral flats area. The “flats” are deeper (3-5 feet) than other places I fished and currents were stronger too. Partly to mostly cloudy skies were common for us do to the humidity. One place I saw but unfortunately didn’t get to fish was the Playa Pauch beach area on Bocas. We saw this while riding bikes but it was getting too late to fish. Out of all the areas that I saw for fly fishing, this area looked best. due to the inshore reefs and shallow water. This looked like the place to be looking for Permit, Jacks etc. We spent two days fishing out and snorkeling the Zapatilla islands. These were beautiful but by noon are filled with boats and day tours making wade fishing challenging.
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2022-04-14 13:38:102022-04-14 13:38:11Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Not a fishing related report, but fun non the less. Jamie and I returned from spending a few weeks in Bisbee, Arizona. Over the years we’ve traveled to Bisbee a fair amount, visiting family and enjoying the funky mining town. Last year while there, we decided it’d be fun to spend a month in the winter there, researching what it’s like to live away from the Wyoming winter. Bisbee’s a great old mining town in Southern Arizona. Once home to a thriving copper mine, now old hippies and artists call it home. Being built into the sides of the Mule Mountains, Bisbee remains a great small town at a high elevation that keeps it cooler than much of Arizona. We ended up getting an air B and B for a month, driving down in early January and returning to Jackson about a week ago. The trip was great; lots of hiking, relaxing and visiting with my aunt and uncle and their friends. An impromptu trip to Aqua Prieta, across the border from Douglas, AZ led to a great, but horrible haircut (fortunately my hair will grow back!!). On the way home we visited friends in New Mexico, getting back to Jackson in time to see some other friends who were visiting from SLC and LA. Now that we’re home we’ve gotten back in the swing of things here in Jackson Hole. I’ve been substitute teaching and tying flies while Jamie’s back handling the community’s mental health needs.
I’m beginning to get excited for fishing season. New gear and fly tying material are being ordered and my calendar is quickly filling up with fishing trips for the upcoming season. If you’re thinking about booking a trip with me, please get in touch quickly to ensure I get you on the schedule. This season will be another good one with trips to various local waters and all inclusive fishing cabin adventures. Currently still pretty cold here in Jackson but once the weather starts warming expect a few fishing pics and reports.
https://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.png00Nathan Bennetthttps://tetonflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/tenton-fish-logo.pngNathan Bennett2022-02-25 14:47:012022-02-25 14:47:02The desert, winter and gearing up