Weather permitting, fall is prime time for fishing the Tetons. Although this week’s deluge has presented a doozy: showers usually inspire fish to rise, but the steady downpour of recent days has turned the Snake River a shade of latte – too murky even for fish’s intrepid appetites. According to our resident expert Reynolds Pomeroy, anglers would be best to wait a couple of days before venturing out with their rods. In the name of planning, we picked Reynolds’ brain for his tips and take on fishing in Jackson Hole.
What characteristics or features make fishing in Jackson Hole a unique experience?
Hard to beat the scenery! Snake River Finespot Cutthroat (especially the bigger so-called “yellow bellies”) are not only native to the Snake River drainage (tributaries included), but also some of the feistiest cutts you’ll find. Plus, JH is at the literal hub of a 200-mile radius of outstanding fisheries. And, the dining options are fantastic.
What is your favorite place to take first timers?
The Snake River. Its cutties are numerous and eager to take a dry fly, perhaps the best way to incorporate the visual feedback that helps new anglers “get it.” Fly fishing, that is.
What advice do you give people new to fishing Teton waters?
Hire a guide for at least one day during your visit, preferably at the beginning of your stay. In addition to teaching and instruction, a pro will get you oriented, and in a day together (often 8+ hours) you’ll learn more about the region’s options (where to go, what to use), special places, flora, fauna, geography, tackle, knots, etc. than you ever would on your own. Contribute to the success of your day by asking questions, engaging at both the sport and personal level. Some of the best and longest lasting relationships start and are maintained through the sport. And remember, it’s called fishing, not catching, so set your expectations accordingly. Always tip your guide!
Beyond the act of fishing, what elements do you incorporate into a day on the river (whether that be a gourmet picnic or a lucky piece of equipment)?
As per the above, it can and should be a full-body experience, i.e. heart, mind, body and soul. Good food is always part of it, before, during or after the fishing as time and circumstances allow. Good equipment (usually provided by pro-guides) makes the fishing easier and more efficient. If you’re headed out on your own, do your research first, whether online or at one of the local shops. Remember, this is bear country and (at this time of year) rutting moose love water environments. Stay attuned to your surroundings for pleasure and safety. And bring a friend. No whining.