Fly Fishing the Snake River

Encountering the domain of the Snake River cutthroat is a unique fishing adventure that delights Jackson visitors and local anglers alike. Few other river systems in this country maintain a healthy, wild, strain of the native trout as does the Snake River and its major tributaries such as Pacific Creek, the Gros Ventre, Hoback, Buffalo, Greys and Salt Rivers.

Over a dozen different cutthroat trout subspecies survive in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Great Basin portion of the West. Eminent biologists agree that the Snake River cutthroat subspecies ranks as the strongest, heartiest and best fighting member of this easy to recognize trout family.

The Snake River cutthroat’s exuberance for surface feeding is so well documented that dry fly fishing the Snake River for this fish enjoys a storied heritage. Despite the losses of shady braided side channels and tree-covered river island habitat from Corps of Engineers river channelization due to levies that protect private property, native trout continue to reproduce in private spring creeks off major channels. Cutthroat spawning activity is monitored by Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists to insure the continued health of the Snake’s trout population without stocking.

Beginning in February and stretching well into July, various Snake River cutthroat strains spawn at different times in their natal creeks. The most resilient Snake River subspecies comes from the Bar BC spring creek adjacent to the Gros Ventre River. A very dominant trout that has been recently propagated in Jackson’s National Fish Hatchery on the National Elk Refuge. The Bar BC cutthroat display amazing growth and acclimation to streams in other parts of Wyoming as well as in North Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Arkansas and Missouri.