Jackson Hole has some of the finest angling in Wyoming, with native Snake River cutthroat (a distinct subspecies) and brook trout in the river, along with Mackinaw (lake trout), cutthroat, and brown trout in the lakes.
The Snake is a particular favorite of beginning fly-fishing enthusiasts; popular shoreside fishing spots are just below Jackson Lake Dam and near the Wilson Bridge. Jackson Lake may provide higher odds for catching a fish, but you’ll need to rent a boat from one of the marinas. This is the place parents take kids. Another very popular fishing hole is just below the dam on Jackson Lake.
Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge is an acclaimed spot for fly-fishing. Note that Wyoming fishing licenses are valid within Grand Teton National Park but not in Yellowstone, where you’ll need a separate permit.
A variety of exotic plants and animals may threaten the Snake River and other waterways, including New Zealand mud snails, zebra mussels, and Eurasian water-milfoil. Help prevent the spread of these pests by carefully cleaning boots, clothing, waders, gear, and boats. More information is available online at www.cleaninspectdry.com and www.protectyourwaters.net.
Many local companies guide fly-fishing float trips down the Snake River and other area waterways. Two people (same price for one person) should expect to pay $400-450 per day for a guide, rods and reels, lunch, and boat. Your fishing license and flies are extra. The visitor center has a listing of local fishing guides and outfitters, and its racks are filled with their brochures. You’ll also find links to many of these at www.jacksonholechamber.com.
On Your Own
If you’d rather do it yourself, pick up a copy of the free Jack Dennis Sports Fly Fishing Guide, which offers descriptions of regional fishing areas and advice on which lures to try. Find it at Jack Dennis Sports (50 E. Broadway Ave., 307/733-3270 or 800/570-3270, www.jackdennisoutdoors.com). While there, you may want to buy a regional guide to fishing such as Flyfisher’s Guide to Wyoming by Ken Retallic (Wilderness Adventures Press, www.wildadvpress.com) or Fishing Wyoming by Kenneth Lee Graham (Falcon Guides, www.falcon.com).
Jackson has several excellent fly-fishing shops, including the aforementioned Jack Dennis Sports. Westbank Anglers (3670 Teton Village Rd., 307/733-6483 or 800/922-3474, www.westbank.com) is a nationally known fly-fishing dealer with a slick mail-order catalog, excellent fishing clinics, and float trips.
High Country Flies (185 N. Center St., 307/733-7210 or 866/733-7210, www.highcountryflies.com), Orvis Jackson Hole (485 W. Broadway Ave., 307/733-5407, www.orvis.com/jacksonhole), and Will Dornan’s Snake River Angler (in Moose, 307/733-3699 or 888/998-7688, www.snakeriverangler.com) all offer fly-fishing classes and sell quality gear.
Rent fishing rods, fly rods, float tubes, and waders from Jack Dennis, High Country Flies, or Leisure Sports (1075 S. U.S. Hwy. 89, 307/733-3040, www.leisuresportsadventure.com).
© Don Pitcher from Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton, 5th Edition