Local Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Spots
Resident-recommended scenic spots where the water flows and the fish are hungry.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The natural beauty of jutting mountains contrasting with flat plains, epic landscapes, and all the outdoor activities anyone can dream of make it the destination for those who want to experience nature in its purest form.
Fly fishing, while more popular outside of America, has made its home in Wyoming’s most famous city, Jackson Hole. Here, anglers are equipped with the best gear on hand and know where to go find trout — especially the brag-worthy breeds. “Trophy” size fish aren’t a rare occurrence in the rushing, cool Snake River or a nearby fishing hole that a guide shares on a full-day adventure of Jackson fly fishing.
There are plenty of rivers, lakes, and hidden ponds and creeks throughout the area that are ideal for Jackson fly fishing. To make it easy, we’ll break it down into three regions which offer some of the best spots for catching trophies each season.
The Snake River, the Green River and New Fork River, and Yellowstone National Park River are all great places to fish in Jackson Hole. Here’s a bit more about each spot:
The Snake River
A must-stop for incomparable Jackson fly fishing and remarkable mountain views.
This stunning stretch of water is characterized by high levels and fast flows when compared to other river systems on both sides of the Continental Divide. With an impressive headwaters fishery and access to trophy trout throughout its entire length (from Wyoming into Idaho), it’s obvious why the Snake River is one of the most popular Jackson Hole fly fishing spots.
Fishing this free-flowing river is one of Wyoming’s most treasured outdoor events. This scenic stream flows through some amazing landscapes in both northern and southern Wyoming.
Best Season: Mid-March to April is a good pre-runoff time to visit, as the fish are hungry and there are no crowds. Late June to mid-November is ideal for good weather and hefty hatches.
Common Species: You’re likely to see Finespotted Cutthroats up to 24” and Mountain Whitefish.
Best Techniques: The stonefly and hopper populations make the Snake known for big bug fishing. Usually, a hopper-dropper system works when Nymphs are dropped 1−2’ below the larger flies. During mayfly hatches in the earlier and later ends of the season offers match the hatch conditions.
Best Flies: Mostly stick to dry flies, though some nymphs and streamers can be helpful during the right season. See more detailed recommendations here.
The Green River and New Fork River
Just an hour drive from Jackson Hole, catch Browns, Rainbows, and Cutthroat trout.
The Green River is a popular destination for Jackson Hole fishing. The river has great trout and contains the largest brown trout of any tributary to the Snake River. It’s also known as one of the best places to catch large rainbow trout per mile anywhere on earth! New Fork River offers an awesome alternative with its crystal-clear water and many trophy size fish waiting patiently for your lure or fly.
Make sure you bring plenty of bugs — these rivers are absolutely loaded with hungry trout!
One day may not be enough because there are so many good locations: Ridgeline Fishery, Crazy Woman Creek, Cain Ranch Lakes (a favorite spot), Big Springs Hatchery…the list goes on! Come prepared with plenty of time and a good fly-fishing reel!
The New Fork River is one of the best places to catch large rainbow trout per mile anywhere on earth.
Best Season: The Green and New Fork Rivers are known for huge Stonefly and Grey Drake hatches, peaking in mid-summer — June to late July. To avoid the crowds, an option is to visit in April to early May. With Caddis hatches daily during the summer, this is a prime spot.
Common Species: You’re likely to see Colorado River Cutthroat, Brown and Rainbow Trout, and Mountain Whitefish. Average sizes are 10”-14” though some fish here are measured by the pound.
Best Techniques: Nymphing finds a lot of success and streamers are great for coaxing a trophy on to your hook.
Best Flies: Dry flies, nymphs, and streamers are great year-round, as well as the obvious Caddis, Stoneflies, and Grey Drakes. See more detailed recommendations here.
The Yellowstone National Park Rivers
Postcard-worthy views and rich wildlife make fishing at Yellowstone a relaxing outdoor experience.
Yellowstone National Park has many popular rivers that are accessible for Jackson fly fishing, the Lamar, Madison, and Firehole Rivers. But let’s be honest – a day fly fishing here is more for the views than the trophy potential.
The Lamar River
This scenic body of water flows through Grand Teton Park, west of Jackson. A particular 7‑mile stretch of this 40-mile-long river offers trophy size browns, rainbows, cutthroats, and even some grayling (rare for upstream). If you’re looking for an alternate spot than downstream at Jackson Lake, then this could be your spot, where fish gather near the meeting with Shovel Creek. Other spots to check out include Slough Creek, which is known for ample rainbow trout that average about two pounds.
Keep in mind that the cutthroats are super slow in rising to the fly (hoppers, ants, and beetles), sometimes causing premature hooksets. This river is unpredictable day-to-day, but if you hit a good day, it’s worth it!
Best Season: July and August are the best two months for fishing the Lamar River.
Common Species: As other nearby areas, you’ll run into plenty of common trout, but keep your eyes peeled for the rare Westslope Cutthroat Trout, too.
Best Techniques: Nymphing and streaming are productive techniques to employ on the Lamar River.
Best Flies: Your best bet is to match the hatch here — Gray Drakes, Terrestrials, and sedges, or pull out an attractor dry fly and you’ll be good to go. For more helpful tips, go here.
The Madison River
This well-known river is one of the largest at Yellowstone, home to rocky landscapes and a bevy of wildlife, like elk, bison, and the elusive Trumpeter Swans. With green aquatic grass glinting in the water, this river is a beautiful place to spend a day fly fishing. Fall is the time to come, as summers are too warm due to thermal activity in the area.
When you do feel a tug on your line (using nymphs and streamers), it could be a sizeable Brown or Rainbow Trout — be sure to pack a heavy-duty rod, just in case you get lucky.
Best Season: June is a good month to fish the Madison before the temperatures get too warm but come back September and October for prime fall fishing.
Common Species: Brown and Rainbow Trout are the mainstay at the Madison River.
Best Techniques: Find success dry fly fishing in June and save your nymphs and streamers for the fall influx of big boys (with a strong rod to match).
Best Flies: If you get tired of nymphs and streamers, there are great hatches of Blue Winged Olives in the fall, particularly on cloudy days. This helpful article shares a lot more details.
The Firehole River
Flowing through one of the most active geyser basins on the planet, fly fishing the Firehole River is a unique experience. The trout must be healthy with all the minerals that are being pumped into the river by famous geysers like Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic spring. It’s a guarantee to see some wildlife and stunning landscapes, whether you catch dinner or not. Be sure to prepare for windy conditions, too.
Prime fishing time for the Firehole is in early fall the first weekend in November. Brown and rainbow trout caught here average 8 – 12 inches but are eager to gobble up flies.
Best Season: The Firehole River opens Memorial Day Weekend and is pretty good fishing through mid-June before slowing. In fall, come after the first cold snap in September through October.
Common Species: You’ll most likely run into Brown and Rainbow Trout here.
Best Techniques: You’ll see fisherman here swinging soft hackles or wet flies in the classic down and across method with great success.
Best Flies: Dry flies, nymphs, and soft hackles will help you out at the Firehole River. Here’s a helpful article with more details.
Permits, Licenses, and Other Things to Keep in Mind
Stay out of trouble with the proper licenses and permits — which are required for fishing public waters.
There are a handful of things that you’ll want to check into before going on your Jackson Hole fly fishing adventure.
Pack Your Permits: Find out from your fly shop what permits might be necessary for specific waters at different times during the season (i.e., catch-and-release only, barbless hooks only, etc.). In general, a Wyoming Fishing License is required to fish in Jackson Hole.
Buy your fishing license online or get more information at the Wyoming Game & Fish Department website.
Season: Think of the time of year you’ll be visiting and where there may be seasonal restrictions on certain rivers and streams, as well as water levels and conditions.
Protected Species: You will want to know about any migratory fish species that may be protected due to their status and protection under state law.
Closed Roads: There is always a possibility of closed rivers if snow has fallen recently, so make sure to ask your guide ahead of time for current conditions.
Guided Fly Fishing in Jackson Hole
Go with the professionals to guarantee a trophy or two.
If you want someone who knows where the best trout flies are at any given time, think about taking a guided fly-fishing tour. Friendly guides can give pointers on what type of fly pattern works best on certain bodies of water, the best flies, or the location of less-known spots.
To set up your Jackson Hole fly-fishing trip, just book an individually guided day with one of our local outfitting companies, which will provide all the necessary equipment and instruction for beginners, as well as experienced anglers.
Whether you go on a guided tour, explore with your own gear, or just enjoy the natural beauty of Wyoming, we hope you have a memorable trip — and a trophy to remember it by.
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There is so much to do in Jackson Hole. Rush downriver in a kayak. Ride horseback through a sea of golden grass. Cast a line into water clear as the sky, while the fish flash by like stars. There’s hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and of course, skiing. The Clear Creek Group affiliates with the best service providers in the area, people as passionate as we are about providing great experiences. We can arrange anything imaginable, from backcountry pack trips and heli-skiing to the selection of a personal chef.