Due to snowmelt, all the rivers and streams in the Yellowstone Area are running high and the majority are off in color. Here locally in the Jackson Hole Valley, runoff is in full swing and it is going to be awhile until we have any kind of river or stream fishing; just that time of year.
On the positive side ice is breaking up on our area lakes. As the ice comes off the fish will be close to the shoreline and high in the water column. This can be the best time of year to fish them, especially for the fly fisherman. The venerable Wooly Bugger in standard colors, black, olive, and brown can be as effective as any pattern. Also Marabou and Mohair Leeches, in the same colors, should be considered. Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake, and Phelps also have Lake Trout (Mackinaw) and they are very susceptible to brighter colors. If you are targeting them, be stocked with patterns in chartreuse, white, and yellow.
One exception for moving water is the top section of the Snake; the release from Jackson Lake Dam downstream to Pacific Creek will remain clear and fishable. The streamers previously mention will be good choices for this section along with Sculpin imitations. The newish style of Jig Nymphs, Perdigon’s and Duracell’s in sizes 12-16’s are becoming regulars. You may find some dry fly action with Blue Wings and Caddis. Heads-up for this area is, it is bear country. Always carry bear-spray. As long as we are on the subject of the Dam section of the Snake and for all of us that have been concerned with the Bureau of Reclamations plans of only releasing 50cfs from the Jackson Lake Dam, there is good news. Wyoming Game and Fish, Bureau of Reclamation, and Grand Teton National Park have come to a short-term agreement that guarantees recommended minimum flows of 280cfs from Jackson Lake. The Bureau of Rec has pledged to work with Wyoming for long-term solutions for maintaining adequate flows throughout the year. Big Thanks to everyone that sent letters and phone calls to get changes. And thanks to the three entities for working together and coming up with a solution. It has been a slow start for our early season fishing this year, but the Western United States certainly needed a big snow year, and we got it. It will be a big plus for our fishing later this year and presumably for next.
Be sure to stop by at our Summer Kickoff Party + Chamber Mixer next week on Thursday, May 25th from 5pm - 8pm. We have partnered with JH Trout Unlimited, Sporting Lead Free and WYldlife for Tomorrow to bring you great raffles, music, free food and drinks and gear demos!
Until next time, good fishing.
- Howard Cole