Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — April
Both the Snake (between Jackson Dam and Palisades Reservoir) and the Green River are open to catch-and-release fishing year-round.
The Green River, one hour drive south of Jackson, tends to be a bit too low for float fishing in April. However the public stretch of the river upstream from Warren Bridge offers a great deal of wading access, and can provide good spring fishing, in addition to stunning scenery. If you are interested in a guided wade fishing trip at this time of year, this stretch of the upper Green is the best bet. If, on the other hand, you would like to fish with us in April, and you really want to driftboat fish, then the Snake River is by and large the best option.
In a normal year the Snake is clear and fishable until sometime in early to mid-May, when runoff begins in earnest (check our fishing reports for current status and updated projections throughout the season).
The potential for very good fishing exists during this pre-runoff season. Inclement weather can be a factor however, and this keeps less hardy anglers from traveling to Jackson Hole this time of year. That said, the early season can have some fantastic fishing, if you're willing to bundle up in exchange for seeing few people on the river.
While April fishing can be excellent, it may not be as consistent as later in the summer. No big deal if you really want to go fishing however. On a given day, warmer temperatures will provide opportunities for dry fly fishing, while streamers like Buggers and JJ Specials will work in more varied conditions. If you hit it right, the action can be fast and furious, with large cutthroat trout moving aggressively to the fly. In fact, once the runoff begins in early May, you usually won't see many large trout on the Snake again until mid to late August. So in that regard, April is one of the best times for above average-trout on the Snake River.
To sum it up, while locals may be using April to wet their first lines of the season, not many visitors tend to (a major plus to crowd adverse anglers). Weather is unpredictable and sometimes reminds us that winter isn't quite over yet. Dry flies are a definite possibility on warmer days, but streamers can work whether the day is warm or cool.
If you happen to be in Jackson Hole during this time of year, or are just anxious to wet a line after a long winter call us toll-free at (866) 733-7210 for the latest information or to book a trip.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — May
As you probably know, Jackson is also famous for great skiing, and lots of snow, and sometime in late spring/early summer, all of that snow has to melt and go somewhere. As a result, May can be a tough month for fishing in the Jackson area – typically, our rivers and streams are starting to blow out, or already have, making them high, muddy, and unfishable. Lakes have often still not iced out, making stillwater options slim to none as well. Of course, the timing of spring runoff and ice-out is completely weather dependent – based on the extent of the snowpack we’ve received over the previous winter, and based on how quickly temperatures are warming up in the moment, causing all that snow to turn into water and follow gravity.
This isn’t to say that fishing can’t be found in May, just that it can be a highly variable month in terms of what options we have. If you are thinking about a guided trip in May, please call us and check our online fishing reports for the latest on current conditions and predictions for the season.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — June
June can be a tough month for fishing in the Jackson area, as our annual snowmelt runoff will usually be in full swing for most, if not all, of this month. You can pretty much bet that the Snake, and its tributaries such as the Gros Ventre, Hoback, etc. will be running high, muddy and unfishable during the month of June. This is a time when locals will tend to turn their focus elsewhere.
The upper Green River in the Pinedale area will typically be a similar story, though being a much smaller river system than the Snake, it is not uncommon to find the Green fishable by late June. The Green is also one of those rivers where you don't need to wait for it to be crystal clear to be fishing well - some great days on the Green can be had when the water is a little off color and the water level is still dropping from higher runoff levels.
Many folks will also turn their attention to the Henry's Fork at this time of year, and late spring/early summer is one of the best times for the lower Henry's, with good caddis and stonefly hatches getting the fish up to the surface. We do not offer guided trips on the Henry's Fork, but there is plenty of public access and easy stretches to float if you have a boat. It is about an hour and half drive from Jackson. Stop by the shop and we can give you more detail on where to access the Henry's and what stretches are fishing best.
June is also a great time to take advantage of recently iced-out lakes in Grand Teton National Park. Fish are hungry after a long winter and will readily chase streamers and even sip midges, etc. on the surface. Cutthroat and lake trout are the common targets on these lakes. Again, stop by the shop and we can give you more details on where to go and what flies are working best.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — July
At some point in early July, the Green and New Fork Rivers, both southeast of Jackson, begin to clear and the fishing really picks up. The first good, fishable hatches on the Green usually begin in early July and continue for the better part of two months. The New Fork, while an outstanding river, is a little harder to time just right due to irrigation demands which can render the river undoable overnight (due to low water). Fortunately, this is not a problem on the Green, which is an outstanding river in its own right.
Other than the public land upstream from Warren Bridge, the vast majority of the Green (and New Fork) flows through private property and is not accessible other than by driftboat. But, as you'll come to realize, driftboat fishing is far and away the preferred method for accessing our large and often swift western rivers. If you've never experienced driftboat fishing, you don't know what you're missing. We often get fishing clients who tell us they want to wade fish as much as possible....until they get their first 100'-long, continuous dead drift from the boat, and they realize that the only way to get a fly in tight on the overgrown, brushy banks is via a boat. Not to mention that some of our rivers are simply too fast for extensive wading.
In years where the Jackson area has not seen a huge snowpack, it is also not unusual to see the clearing of the Snake River right here in Jackson Hole by the latter half of July. As the Snake begins to clear (but still has a greenish color), the spin fishing is nothing short of outstanding. Once the green color gives way to clear water, the dry fly fishing begins, with optional streamer fishing. The Snake is home to our native, indigenous Snake River Fine-spotted cutthroat trout, a unique sub-species of cutthroat found only in the upper Snake River. It is becoming exceedingly rare to find a unique species of trout in its native habitat - the habitat in which it actually evolved, and we consider ourselves blessed to have such a fishery in our backyard.
July is also the time when we start to have the Salt River, an hour south of Jackson, as another good option. The Salt is a pleasant, meandering river offering good fishing for cutthroats, rainbows and browns in an idyllic, typically quiet, setting.
In short, July sees the clearing of a number of fine rivers in our area, and things really start to "turn on" for the summer. Dry fly fishing becomes much more likely as does your chance of finding the fish in a cooperative mood.
If you'd like to give July fishing in Jackson Hole or on the Green, New Fork or Salt rivers a try, give us a call toll-free at (866) 733-7210 for more information or to book a trip.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — August
August finds HCF guides in one of two primary locations - the Snake River in Jackson Hole, and the Green River, one hour to the south. Both are excellent rivers with fun-as-can-be dry fly fishing using large (some would say huge) dry flies.
The Green River will continue to drop throughout August and can have great hopper fishing. The Snake can still be fairly high at this time but, nonetheless, produces good action on large attractor dry flies. Many anglers only dream about the large dry fly style of fishing we experience on a regular basis in and around Jackson Hole. Size 10 and size 8 dry flies are the norm, with occasional excursions into the size #6 and #4 realm. Seriously!
And if you think that's cool, what if we told you it is often better to move and twitch your fly, not simply dead drift it? That's right - these trout think they're bass, and it's often the motion of the fly that triggers the strike. Many don't believe it until they see it with their own eyes.
August is a great time to experience the dry fly fishing you've been reading about in books and magazines all these years. It honestly doesn't get much better than this, anywhere.
If you'd like to give August fishing in or around Jackson Hole a try, give us a call toll free at (866) 733-7210 for more information or to book a trip.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — September
Sometime in early September we typically bid a fond farewell to the Green River. It simply gets too low to float with a driftboat, and often too warm to provide enough good fishing to warrant the drive out there. Not to worry however, because September is when the Snake River in Jackson Hole demonstrates just what an outstanding fishery it really is. In fact, we frequently tell people that if there is only one time of the year that your schedule allows for fishing the Snake, make it happen in September.
What differentiates the Snake River in August from the Snake River in September is the water level. September flows are typically lower, and bring dry flies closer to the bigger fish that have been hunkered down in the deep runs and holes all summer. Combine low flows with some of the better hatches of the season and you end up with outstanding dry fly fishing to native, indigenous cutthroat trout.
The first half of the month we'll still be using quite large dry flies, eventually giving way to smaller patterns in the latter half of the month as the weather cools. We also find many crisp September mornings where we might be fishing small mayfly imitations and then switching to bigger terrestrial attractors as the day heats up.
September, especially the latter half of the month, can see some inclement weather, so be prepared for anything. But you should also be prepared for seeing a world-class Western river in its fall season prime, surrounded by stunning scenery as the cottonwoods lining the river turn yellow and the colors of our brilliant cutthroats tend to do the same.
If you'd like to give September fishing in Jackson Hole a try, give us a call toll-free at (866) 733-7210 for more information or to book a trip.
Guided Fishing Trips in Wyoming — October
Here's the deal with October fishing on the Snake River in Jackson Hole: while the weather can become quite variable - from sun to snow, the fishing can be extremely good. In some years, October fishing produces, arguably, the best action of the season.
Warm sunny days sandwiched between cool mornings and evenings will produce the best action. The usual attractor dry flies will still be effective, but one should not overlook streamers. With less total water in the river, the smaller fish get "squeezed in" with the larger trout, which begin looking for large and nutritious meals in the form of their smaller brethren. This creates the possibility for good streamer action to large trout.
Baetis and midge hatches can also account for some of the best "match the hatch" dry fly fishing of the entire year.
If you'd like to give October fishing in Jackson Hole a try, give us a call toll free at (866) 733-7210 for more information or to book a trip.