Good Day on the Snake and Some Storms Too….
Thurs. Aug 8, 2013….. Had a another good day yesterday near Moose , WY as Pat Burney and I floated the Snake with Rick Baker at Westbank. Early rise, like 530am again……whew…..coffee, breakfast, then we met up over near Teton Village, a short jaunt from Jackson over the Snake River and into Wilson Wyoming. We met, Rick Baker, who is from Victor , ID (a place I could live!), and Rick drove over from Victor to meet us. We met up with him at 800am and off we went. We floated the Snake section from Deadmans Bar to Moose, an 11mile float through the most scenic part of the Snake that flows through Grand Teton Nat’l Park.
The Snake in this part of the state is like a lot of it, fast and screaming downstream…….not surprising to see signs at every put in /ramp that state that the river is a highly technical river and that only a very experienced oarsman who knows the river should float it. Well said, and absolutely true. Corners that are tight, numerous bars and channels creating a wicked and vexing mix of currents….but hey, that is cutthroat water. Rough. Fast. Tumbling. At least that is what its like in a majority of places where you find them.
A variety of flies worked. Show them something different’……..that is what I like to call it. We did well on Chubbies (Chubby Chernobyl), Large parachute hoppers (the bushes are rife with hoppers right now….), yellow rubberleg Stims (my favorite and what we caught the largest fish with…which is particularly satisfying when I can bring flies from our area and smoke these fish on them).
A wild Snake River finespot cutthroat….these fish are wild, powerful, some of the most strikingly beautiful fish you will catch. Golden yellow with dark olive back, a rainbow like color on the midline, fine pepper spots, orange fins, a reddish/maroon cheek, and the orange slash under the chin…all are the trademark of a wild cutthroat. Sharp fins and a wide, powerful tail…all of which serve this fish well on such a powerful river.
One of the things folks love about these fish is they love dry flies. In fact, we didn’t fish a nymph all day long. They love dry flies……LOVE THEM. And not only that but BIG ONES. Size 6 to 10 flies are the norm with occasional visits to the size 4 realm. That is because of the abundance of large food items…..stoneflies, hoppers, large mayflies……
A fast boiling turn hole with a main current coming into it……..a deep green slot…..an old root wad with some timber in and around it….this is a prime cutthroat lie. They love tangles, logs, timber ….cover. If you look at the river and consider how fast it is, its easy to see why. It offers food, refuge, safety, comfort all in one spot. Why live anywhere else?
Stonefly anyone? This is the typical meal of a cutthroat in Teton Country. Big stoneflies do well here in this super oxygenated water. One note is that the females of this type don’t have wings so they have to ‘run’ across the water to get to dry land once they hatch. If they end up in or on the water they ‘run’ to shore…. that is why the Jackson Hole area is home to and the birthplace of so many rubberleg patterns…..and one reason why flies are often fished with an active retrieve.
Here is another closeup of the stones we are imitating. Quite a meal if you are a trout. These guys were under the dry stones in the riverbed. There were lots of them…
We ended the day with some storms rolling through the valley. Things got dark, stormy off in the distance, but we missed the heaviest of the rain.
Getting ready to head in to town, do some loading work, then meet several of my group guys as they fly in. Three are already here, we had dinner last night, then I’ll see my other two clients today. Once they are all here, we’ll have dinner, then I’ll be picking them up in a shuttle van and we’ll be making our way to the trailhead to ride into the wilderness backcountry river camp.
More to come…..enjoy Your Friday!
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