Guided Fishing Trips FAQ
Table of Contents
- When is the best time to fish in your area?
- Is there a time period I should avoid?
- When does the runoff for the Snake River begin and end?
- Is there any fishing to be had on the Snake prior to runoff?
- When is your fishing season?
- Do you do a lot of wading on your float trips?
- What type of equipment should I bring?
- What type of fishing will I get to do…dry flies? Nymphs?
- What types of flies do you use?
- I’m a beginner…is it worth it for me to hire a guide?
- Why so much talk about float fishing? What about wade fishing?
- Why so much talk about the Snake River?
- Can three people go on a float trip?
- How far in advance should I book my trip?
- When do you decide where we will be going on our fishing trip?
- Can I keep any fish?
- What are your prices and how do I book a trip?
When is the best time to fish in your area ?
Not surprisingly, there is no simple answer to this question. The Snake River is best from early August through early October. The Green River typically fishes best from mid/late June through late July/early August. The New Fork River is best from late June through the first two weeks of July. Yellowstone and Lewis lakes are great in June and the first half of July. The Salt River is best from late July through September.
The Snake can also fish quite well from April 1 until runoff starts – usually somewhere around the middle of May.
Bear in mind that all of the above applies only in a “normal” year. Seasonal weather patterns, water levels and conditions, plus a host of other intangibles can mean that those suggested time frames might be moved forward or back in a given year. You can always call us to get a more accurate, up-to-date idea of current and projected conditions.
Suffice it to say that, in addition to pre-runoff fishing on the Snake River, there is good fishing to be had somewhere in the area from Memorial Day weekend through October.
Is there a time period I should avoid?
If you are not willing to travel outside the Jackson Hole valley proper, you do not want to plan on fishing during Snake River runoff season. The Snake usually begins to runoff in mid-May and can end as early as June or it can last until mid-July or even into August in heavy snowpack years.
Check our Current Conditions for a daily update on reservoir levels, stream flows and other pertinent information. Click the Daily Snowpack Data for the Snake River Basin link for snowpack status.
When does the runoff for the Snake River begin and end?
Runoff usually begins in mid-May and typically lasts until mid/late July.
Is there any fishing to be had on the Snake prior to runoff?
The Snake River is now open for trout fishing year round and will provide fair to excellent trout fishing on warmer days prior to runoff, which normally begins somewhere around mid-May. When the cutthroats are chasing streamers you can have some of the best large trout opportunities of the entire season. Dries are also a possibility if the stones are hatching. When the fishing turns off however, it really turns off.
Pre-runoff weather is about as consistent as the fishing, ranging from balmy spring days to all out winter storms. The locals will be out there, but only the occasional visitor. It goes without saying that January won’t have very many, if any, good fishing days. But by the time April rolls around things can really get good. Any trout taken between November 1 and March 31 MUST be released unharmed!
When is your fishing season ?
The Snake River is open for trout fishing year round. Any trout taken between November 1 and March 31 MUST be released unharmed! From April 1 through October 31 the regular fishing regulations apply. Be sure to check the current Wyoming Fishing Regulations for (the file is in PDF format so you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it) for the latest rules. In the Wyoming fishing regulations check ‘Area 1′ for the rules that apply in Jackson Hole.
Yellowstone National Park opens Memorial Day weekend and usually closes the first Sunday in November, as long as the roads are passable.
Do you do a lot of wading on your float trips?
We do get out and wade when necessary or beneficial, but float fishing is generally regarded as “the way to do it” in this area, for several reasons. Our western rivers tend to be medium to large in size, and swift. Wading much more than knee deep is not normally necessary and at times can be outright dangerous. Driftboats provide by far the best way to access the best fishing a given river has to offer, safely and conveniently.
Additionally, many of our area rivers are bordered by private land with the only legal access being via boat. Riparian land owners in Wyoming own the river bed from their side of the river to the mid-point of the river. If both sides of the river are private (not at all unusual) then the wading angler is, by law, trespassing. Some Wyoming landowners consider that it is always ‘open season’ on trespassers…
What type of equipment should I bring?
The most commonly used rods are 5 or 6-weights, 9′ long. 8 – 8 1/2′ rods are also used, but the longer rod is preferable for wind casting and mending purposes. Lighter-weight rods can also be used, but again, the heavier rod is preferable partly because we tend to be throwing larger flies than what you may be accustomed to. Flies ranging from size 12 through size 6 are the norm, not the exception.
See Recommended Equipment for details on what to bring on a guided fishing trip beyond your rod.
What type of fishing will I get to do…dry flies? Nymphs?
When you come to the Jackson Hole region you are coming to Dry Fly Heaven. It’s entirely possible to spend your whole fishing trip tossing nothing but large dries. Of course, that’s up to you. It goes without saying that while dries are effective most of the time, it may behoove you to drop a nymph off that dry or go to a streamer.
Streamers are a close second to dries in terms of effectiveness, particularly for cutthroats and browns.
What types of flies do you use?
Most of the time you’ll be fishing large attractor patterns such as Wulffs, Humpies, Stimulators, Turck’s Tarantulas, Power Ants, Parachutes, Trudes, Hoppers and so on in sizes 12, 10, 8 and even 6′s.
For nymphs, try Yuk Bugs (8 & 6′s), Girdle Bugs (8 & 6′s), Bead-head Prince (14-10′s), Pheasant Tail (14 & 12′s), and Red Fox Squirrel Tail (14-10′s).
For streamers, use JJ Specials, Muddlers, McCune’s Sculpins, Zonkers, and Bugger variations in size 6 and 4′s.
I’m a beginner…is it worth it for me to hire a guide?
Absolutely. You’ll learn more in one day with a guide than you will in months (or even years) of fishing on your own. Our guides have the ability to tailor your trip to your ability level and needs. Talk to your guide at the beginning of the day and let him/her know what you hope to gain from the day. Are you primarily interested in learning, or would you rather just go out and have some fun? Is improving your casting a high priority? Would you like to learn more about entomology? All of the above? Let your guide know and they’ll do their best to help you accomplish your goals. Ideally, we see a day of guided fishing as being about more than just catching fish – we want you to finish the day having learned to become a more skilled, well-rounded angler.
Why so much talk about float fishing? What about wade fishing?
Because for our larger rivers, float fishing is by far the most effective way to cover water and access more of the river. Certainly, there are also a number of smaller tributaries in the area that offer great wade fishing as well.
For those intermediate to advanced anglers looking for a technical, spring creek-type challenge, we also offer guided wade trips on Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge, from August 1st to October 31st. Selective fish is the name of the game here – you’ll want to bring your “A-Game!”
Why so much talk about the Snake River?
Because the Snake River is right in our backyard, so to speak. The Green, New Fork, and Salt Rivers, as well as Yellowstone, all involve a certain amount of travel. While we love all of these rivers, and are happy to fish any of them, we naturally prefer to fish the Snake (assuming it’s fishing well, of course) when possible. Less driving = more fishing.
Can three people go on a float trip?
We generally discourage it, but in certain circumstances it may be possible. Driftboats are really designed to carry two anglers (one in front and one in back), and the guide. A third person can easily overload a boat beyond its designated carrying capacity. This reduces the boat’s maneuverability and therefore the margin of safety. Also, only two anglers can fish at a time.
However, some of the guides have larger boats than others and may be able to add a third passenger, such as a small child (10 y.o. and under is the general rule). We leave it up to the individual guide whether they will accept a third passenger.
How far in advance should I book my trip?
It is not unusual for us to book all of our guides on a given day so we do advise making your plans in advance. Especially if you’ll be here in July, August or September. If you have a flexible schedule, two weeks lead time is usually enough. However, if you have only one or two days within which to take your trip we recommend booking a month or so in advance.
Perhaps more important than booking your trip in advance is booking your accommodations well in advance. Jackson gets very busy during the summer and finding a place to stay can be much more difficult than booking your fishing trip.
Check our Links page for some ideas on where to stay.
When do you decide where we will be going on our fishing trip?
Usually the morning of the trip. The guide will take into account all the various factors involved in choosing a destination before making a decision. These include, but are not limited to, water conditions, weather, fishing pressure, hatches, your ability level, and, of course, your preferences.
Can I keep any fish?
No. Because the Snake River Fine-Spotted cutthroat is a fish native to the upper Snake, we practice only catch and release fishing.
What are your prices and how do I book a trip?