Grand Teton Fly Fishing

First Float of the year! March 21, 2019

By Josh Gallivan

Josh Gallivan dropped in on the Snake River, March 21, 2019
Photo by Scott Smith

Two days ago I had the privilege of fishing with my two good friends Scott Smith and John Campbell. It was our first float of the year! The snake is at a perfect flow at the moment, so with the 45 degree days we thought we would give it a go. It turned out to be a great decision because within the first hour we had lost count of all these beautiful cutties we were catching on dry flies. I could hardly believe the beauty of the mighty snake river as we navigated over 10 miles that day.

Getting warmed up!
Photo by Josh Gallivan
First early season cutthroat coming to the net.
Photo by Scott Smith

It felt right to get back on the oars again. After all It has been a long winter traveling to the far reaches of the planet in pursuit of fish, sometimes we overlook what is right in front of us. The Snake river is an incredible river and one of the most incredible in the world for that matter. To be able to leave my house and be on this river within 5 mins casting to native trout on dry flies is truly remarkable. I had all of these thoughts in my head as the beavers and whitefish alike waved as we floated by. At one point we saw three eagles fighting over a fish.

Josh Gallivan showing off a stunning, early season cutthroat from the Snake River
Photo by Scott Smith

After dropping the raft in and running our shuttle, we floated under the wilson bridge and past our good buddy Boots Allen who was then kicking himself for selling his raft some years ago. There is still so much snow on the ground and the boat ramps are not plowed so a lightweight raft really is the only option. We were able to slide the raft over the snow and down the steep bank of the river with out any worry. We organized the raft and laid out our things and rigged the rods we thought we would need for the day. I thought I would start streamer fishing since I was in the back of the boat. After all, this time of year you really should keep the pace and move from spot to spot fairly quickly. The fish are podded up in certain areas, so moving along quickly ensures you will find new feeding fish around every turn. Eventually we got down a half mile away from fisherman and footprints and as we rounded the corner, we saw the most beautiful run with midges dancing on the water all around us. It only took my well trained eyes a few seconds to see our first group of feeding fish. There was probably 20 decent sized cutthroat sitting pithing inches from the snow, sipping the oversized midges from the water. It will always remain my favorite part of this sport, sight fishing a small dry fly to a big cuttie. I still had a streamer on but John was up front and was totally rigged for this style of fishing. I watched him execute a perfect cast and after the fly drifted a few feet, the first fish was on his way to the net. I quickly re rigged and had a go. We could hardly contain our excitement as there were feeding fish all around us. After about 30 mins and 10 fish landed, we pulled anchor and floated on.

The bug du Jour.... midges!
Photo by Josh Gallivan
JC hooked up!

The fishing remained consistent until about 4 pm. We only had to fish a dropper once and cut the streamer off almost immediately. We caught 20-30 fish on dry flies on the first float of the year. It was an awesome day with the best company.

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