spring run-off alternatives

Fly Fishing Alternatives to Spring Run-Off on the Snake River

Snow high in the mountains slowly starts to make its way to the valley floor, starting the spring run-off. This water fills the reservoirs like Jackson Lake and flows into the rivers from various smaller tributaries. When the winter is less snowy, the run-off is usually smaller and shorter. In the winter of ‘22, Jackson Hole received a record-breaking amount of snow with 595 inches total. While this will likely make the run-off bigger and longer, it is very beneficial for the entire Snake River drainage and there are still plenty of fishing options!

Spring run-off on the Snake generally starts sometime in the first week of May, while the first week of June is usually when the river hits its peak flow for the year. The large rush of water causes sediments to move through the water, causing it to turn off color or muddy. This can make fly fishing difficult as the fish cannot see the fly. As the river starts to clear up in the middle of June, spin fishing can be productive as the lures have a flash that the trout can see. On some sections of the Snake River, crystal-clear spring creeks merge with the muddy water. These spots can also be productive for catching trout later in June. 

fly fishing spring run-off

The Green River

The Green River near Pinedale, Wyoming can offer great fly fishing through spring run-off, starting in May. This smaller river is around a 1-hour and 20-minute drive from Jackson. The Green River is home to brown trout and rainbow trout. Both types of trout will eat brightly colored flies under the surface in muddy water conditions, whereas the Cutthroat trout on the Snake will not. If the water level is on the rise the trout will not eat, but if it is steady or dropping, they will eat very well. We watch stream flows daily to get the best idea of fishing conditions, join us on a Green River fly fishing trip!

Lewis Lake

Lewis Lake is located in the Southern Park of Yellowstone National Park. This freshwater lake is also a 1-hour and 20-minute drive from Jackson. Lewis Lake opens for fishing on May 27th or whenever the ice melts. Because the trout in this lake haven’t been fished since the prior fall, spring fly fishing conditions are often great. This lake holds large Lake Trout, also known as Mackinaw, along with Brown Trout. Sinking fly lines with leeches or small baitfish imitations work well.  Different types of lures and soft plastics also work very well. Lake Trout are the only type of trout we are allowed to keep because they are non-native. They make for very good fish tacos!

Honorable Mentions: 

The Salt River

The Salt River, about 45 minutes south of Jackson, tends to start fishing a few weeks before the Snake River does. Deep nymphing tends to be the best option. During spring run-off, the lower reaches are where we usually fish on our Salt River fly fishing trips.

Snake River Scenic Float

Some guests have limited time on their vacation, so they opt for an activity a bit closer to Jackson. Grand Teton scenic float trips on the Snake River are a great way to still get on the water even if no fishing is involved. The views and the wildlife make for a great time on the river!

Be sure to check out our Jackson Hole fly fishing options and give us a call for any questions!

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