Grand Teton Fly Fishing

Spring Fly Fishing Update – May 8, 2017


Neil Chamberlin

We’ve had some excellent spring fishing out here. I personally started my spring fishing in early February this year and we’ve managed to put some really nice fish in the boat since then.   I’ve been fishing both the local rivers and traveling all around our area chasing the best fishing. Locally the Snake, South Fork, Henry’s Fork, Green River, and many of the lakes have been fishing very well. Spring started off as usual with low clear flows that required primarily nymphing and streamer fishing. In the spring, the best fishing tends to be on the best weather days. Nice warm sunny days tend to wake the fish up and get them in a feeding mood. This doesn’t mean you can’t have good fishing on cloudy day, it’s just more pleasant for the fisherman to be in sunny warm weather than cloudy cool weather. The one plus of cloudy spring days is that you can have excellent streamer fishing at times with extra-large fish looking to eat your streamer. When fishing with us this time of year expect to be fishing primarily sub-surface. Streamer patterns and nymphs are the name of the game. The best nymphs vary but, I like to fish midges in primarily red and black, stonefly patterns in large sizes, scuds (where they’re present), prince nymphs, rainbow warriors, black and red copper john’s, and egg patterns where rainbow trout are present. For streamers I like to fish slightly smaller patterns, 2-3 inch, in white, brown, black, and extra flashy. I like streamers with lots of weight that get down quickly and get into the strike zone, true “chuck and duck” fly fishing. There’s been a recent trend in fly fishing to throw HUGE streamers, 5-8 inches, with multiple large hooks. I don’t like this for a few reasons. One is that the large hooks, especially if they’re barbed, kill and damage a lot of fish and when doing this you limit yourself to only some of the largest fish in the river and exclude all the other good sized fish you should be catching. I assure you, big fish eat far more 2-3 inch baitfish than they do 7-8 inch baitfish. An example of this is the large lake trout that is pictures with this post. This is a 15 lb fish and it ate a 4 inch long pattern, not an 8 inch long pattern. The person who is fishing a 3 inch long streamer will catch exponentially more fish than someone who is throwing an 8 inch long, triple articulated streamer. Even with our primary tactics being based around nymphing and streamer fishing, you can get into some excellent dry fly fishing in the spring. I personally just caught my first dry fly fish of the year, a beautifully colored 16 inch brown last week on a little black ant pattern. The Snake River in particular has some excellent dry fly fishing in the spring. We see great hatches of midges, blue winged olives, and skawalas which are a small (size 12-14) brown or olive stonefly. I like to fish parachute patterns, small spinner and emerger patterns, small Chernobyl ants in a variety of colors, black ant patterns, and small parachute adams. It never hurts to hang a small nymph below one of these dry flies either.  At times you can find large groups of fish podded up in slower water gorging themselves on these first good hatches of the year. If you find yourself in this sort of situation you’re going to have a day that you’ll remember for quite some time. The fishing should continue to be good until full runoff hits our area and blows out the local rivers. This will happen sometime in May when we start to get warmer weather and a large amount of snowmelt. When this happens it will cause some of the rivers in our area to be unfishable but, as always, some rivers will continue to stay clear (particularly the South Fork and the Snake River tailwaters) and some of the lakes will still fish very well. Give me a call if you’re looking to get out and try to get yourself into some of the quality spring fishing that our area has to offer. My contact info is as follows: phone #419-349-1049, email [email protected], website, and follow me for updates and fish pictures at username neil.chamberlin on Instagram. Good luck out there!

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