It’s officially Fall here in the Tetons- the foliage is peaking, the elk are getting busy, and some of the best fishing of the season is just beginning. Many of our guides are currently balancing the excellent fishing with equally successful hunting, and I am looking forward to heading into the high country with WBA guide emeritus, Don Gable, for the first week of elk rifle season.
Recapping on Summer 2014, we were excited to see new and familiar faces back in the shop and we are very grateful for all our friends of Westbank! Heading into the Spring with over 500 inches of snowpack at the 10,000 foot level, we were anxious to see Jackson Lake get refilled, which was at single digit water capacity, but not before waking the cutty’s up with some great pre-runoff fishing. A warm spring melted the thick snowpack quicker than anticipated, and while we waited for the JH Snake to clear up, the South Fork fished incredibly!
In the middle part of July the Snake started to clear up and the fishing gradually became more and more productive. The opening of Flat Creek on August 1st was an annual celebration for hog stalkers, and the planned continuation of the long term stream restoration project that was started last summer holds a bright future for this crucial spawning habitat. The Green River, which usually offers a short floating season, provided great fishing flows for drift boat fishing well into the end of August, with many people commenting that it was one of the longest seasons in memory.
With Jackson Lake at 77% capacity, and The Palisades reservoir at 44% capacity, it is a comforting feeling knowing that we will enter into the winter with a favorable nest egg of water resources in our region. The Bureau of reclamation released a flow reduction schedule as of this morning outlining their tentative plans for reducing flows out of the Jackson Lake Dam to winter flows, which is set to start on September 28th and wrap up on the 10th of October. The first few days of flow reduction the fish will be slightly displaced; however, they are usually pretty quick to make a rebound.
Many of our guides were excited to see Sulphur PMD hatches on the snake today for the first time this season. Additionally, mahogany and small mayfly patterns continue to work excellent. The weather report is consistent with warmer temperatures and clear skies the next couple of days, which will give way to cooler temperatures settling in by the weekend. Stop by the shop to get your favorite fall fly patterns and to check out our new Fall Simms apparel and luggage lineup! Below are a few pictures of some of the memorable fish I encountered this summer including Arctic Grayling at Toppings Lake.