Rivers and creeks are running clear just about everywhere, so when anglers walk into Orvis for advice on where to head, they have options.
“When people ask me where to go fishing, I just ask them which direction they’re driving,” Orvis manager Maggie Heumann said. “It’s all been really good.”
Flows are hanging right around seasonal averages all over the area, Heumann said, with a few exceptions. What’s been different this year was the lack of a real “mega burst,” as a handful of snows in June and low temperatures kept the runoff from becoming too overwhelming at any point this summer. In fact, Heumann said a few anglers she knows never stopped fishing this summer, still finding success even in typical peak runoff season.
While most fishing is pristine, spots still too murky to bet on are the upper Gros Ventre and upper Buffalo Fork. Lakes are getting a little too warm for shore fishing, Huemann said.
Will Broeder, manager of Snake River Angler, said he is sending folks to sections of the Snake River, naturally.
“Right now we’re starting to point to the Snake,” he said. “There’s still some high water for this time of year, but everything is fishable. We’re catching [cutthroat] with the type of flies we like to throw in Jackson, foam flies.”
Flows in sections of the Snake River are mostly hovering around 5,000 cubic feet per second. On Tuesday the Snake near Moran was running at 2,320 cubic feet per second, 5,460 below Flat Creek and 4,030 at Moose.
“In all honesty, it’s a fairly average year,” Broeder said. “A lot of people had this idea it would be a huge water year with all the snow in February. The only thing that set us back was how cold the spring was, the runoff was very slow and not as fast as a lot of years.”
The time for nymphing is well over. Broeder said TMD, chubby Chernobyl ants and foam flies are some of the go-to patterns right now, though fishermen have been finding success with streamers in the forest sections of the Snake.
Heumann said she’s began seeing grasshoppers near Flat Creek, a good sign for fly fishing in August.
“We’ll be starting to crank out the grasshoppers,” she said. “They’re always there, but when they’re getting bigger and closer to the river it gets more exciting for the anglers.”
Creek fishing is slowing down, but Broeder said he estimates there’s another week or so of good opportunity on the creeks before water levels drop too low.
“Pacific Creek is still fishable, but we’re coming up on the tail end of that,” he said. “The big spawns are moving out of the creek.”
As far as the fish themselves, guides have been landing quality fish, though Broeder said he hasn’t seen anything jaw dropping, not yet anyway.
“The big cutties are just starting to get back into the main part of the Snake,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything huge, though I have seen some big browns in the Snake below Jackson Dam.”
The plethora of clear water around Jackson is also opening up opportunity for boats. When early season sections were clogged with anglers, that shouldn’t be the case from here on out.
“Within a week or two, this is the time where I’m transitioning back into drift boats,” Broeder said.
Those interested in learning more about what patterns are working can go to Orvis’ Match the Hatch event with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation on July 31. The event will have a flycasting demo, an advocacy session and information on local hatches.
Information on Snake River Angler’s guide trips and fishing reports can be found at SnakeRiverAngler.com.