Snake River trout fishing, Wyoming

September 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

A lunch stop on the Snake River, downstream from Jackson, Wyoming, gave me the opportunity to fish the upper, freestone reaches of this  river, before it slows to begin it’s 1,000 mile journey across Idaho to join the Columbia River.

I’d already fished the head waters of this mighty river within the bounds of Yellowstone Park, managing to lose, or be broken, while fishing a deep pool with hoppers, by brown and cutthroat trout, frustrating my attempts to get them in my net, before a thunderstorm stopped play and soaked my wife and I to the skin.

Access is difficult on the Snake, as it has carved it’self through a deep valley, but a boat launching site provided shady parking and shallow water to wade. At this point the river speeds over stones in a series of riffles and rapids and looks unfishable, but trout were rising in front of me within easy casting distance and I waded in to offer my hopper and gold head size  16 pheasant tail nymph. I began casting upstream to the rising fish and watched a cutthroat take a sideswipe at the big hopper, hooking, but losing the trout, when it dropped below me. In hindsight I should have tried an ant, or a klinkhammer, but the foam hopper stayed afloat in the roughest water and I could see it easily. A few casts later, another rise resulted in a fish on and a rod bending fight, as the fish took full advantage of the flow, belying it’s size when finally in the net.

Despite it’s size, the foam hopper could not be resisted by this small cutthroat and many of it’s friends, although setting the hook proved a random event. Having succeeded in putting all the trout down in front of me, I changed tactics and began drifting the hopper downstream, rising a few fish, then hitting into a hard fighting brown trout.

With a series of boats being launched, where I was fishing, it was time to enjoy lunch in the shade of a tree and ponder my next line of attack. The hopper had proved it’s worth against several smaller trout, but I wanted a bigger fish to round off my visit and dug out a Blue Flash Damsel from my box. This is a deadly lure on English lakes and with it’s bead head, it stood a chance of getting down to the larger fish further out.

On my second cast out and across, mending the line to keep the lure out in the stream, I drifted the Blue Flash Damsel downstream, while paying out line, the rod bending over, when a big fish hit the lure. All the slack line was taken in it’s first run and following a few head shaking sessions, the process of bringing it back began, countering each run with steady pressure, until the fish was only a few feet away, rolling in the current, a cutthroat of around 16 inches. My wife was poised with the camera and my net outstretched, as I reeled in the last few yards on this beaten trout, when pop, the hook lost it’s hold. We looked at each other stunned. If there was a fish more ready for the net, then I’ve not seen it.

With many more miles to travel that day returning to friends in Salt Lake City, this was my last chance to fish these big trout filled rivers, and I reluctantly put away my rod, hoping that a lottery win was waiting on my return to the UK.