The official start to Spring is less than a week away and already the annual buzz is in full swing here in Jackson Hole and the Northern Rockies. The 6 week long snow cycle that began on January 29th has, for now, come to an end and local recreation is bursting at the seams. Recent temps have skiers stoked on beautiful afternoon corn snow and if you know where to look, powder. At the same time cyclist and yes, fisherman are scurrying around the valley soaking up the stunning fresh air and warm, vitamin D rich sunlight we have been deprived of for over a month.
The big question among anglers in this area is what can we expect from this massive snowpack looming in just about every drainage in a tri-state region? Well, simply put… a large and sustained runoff that hopefully has already begun yet is not recognizable at this time. Just two weeks ago the storms changed their character slightly and the valley warmed enough to go into a hyper melt. Flat Creek running through town had a nice flush for a week or more and just south of town, where I live we lost at least 18″ of base in just a few days. Now we are in a perfect March cycle of warm afternoons and cold nights, this will continue to erode the valley pack and minimize our April through May flood chances. No doubt however, we are in a precarious position this Spring, if it warms too quickly or rains at high elevations the region is in trouble. Snow in the Snake River Drainage is over 140%. The good news is trout love and thrive in clean, cold, fresh water and the rivers always benefit from a solid flush(flood stage). This region is defined by extremes and I will always prefer the gluttony of water over the opposite– similar to what California is experiencing. Lastly, our reservoirs are very low so much of this water will be stored, this is good news and may come into play as the best fishing months approach.
To summarize our Jackson Hole Spring Fly fishing Report expect the later part of March to bring some of the best angling of the year as the Snake River warms to a cozy 38-40 degrees, sometimes higher late in the day. Midges and some baetis round out the primary fair earlier in the Month but as we move into April larger nymphs and minnows are on the move as well, bringing the big cutthroats to the shallows. Its worth mentioning before the return of the osprey in mid-April the trout can be gullible and hang out near the surface in shallow water sipping midges, are rare sight any other month. This river is very peaceful in the pre-runoff and if you find yourself in the right place at the right time it will impress the most experienced fly anglers. Enjoy the Season!