Fishing in the Tetons

By Dub Paetz

May 5, 2013 Fishing No comments

Fishing in the Tetons is second to none!

Having been a fly fishing guide here for 7 years, I have spent a tremendous amount of time on the river.

huge bull moose in the river on the south fork of the snake in Idaho

A bull moose wades in the river on the lower South Fork

I was born in Michigan and before I came to Teton valley Idaho, I never knew just how good fly fishing for trout with large dry flies could be.

I first started Fly fishing when I was around 4 years of age, and spent most free time growing up doing it as much as possible. After years of putting it off I finally decided to move out west on 2003 to work in Yellowstone National park. When I started there I was hired as a room attendant. I shortly moved up the ranks and was hired as a linen truck driver. Driving around the linen truck I got to see a lot of the park and it allowed me opportunities to seek out the hidden holes in the national park.  On every day off I traveled and fished as much as possible. By the fall of my first season in the area I had found the south fork of the snake and Henry’s fork. I had read about them in all the fishing magazines  for years, but it was great to finally see them for myself. I went back to Michigan that fall and dreamed about coming back. Shortly after I was hired as a guide in Idaho, fishing on the very same rivers I had read about my entire life. The most trout infested waters anywhere in the world.

The South fork of the Snake river

The south fork is a tail water that flows out of palisades reservoir in southeast Idaho. It is fed by the upper snake after it flows through Jackson hole and out of its headwaters area in Yellowstone National Park.

Cutthroat trout on the south fork of the snake river in Idaho

Cutthroat on the south fork of the snake river in Idaho

When you first step into the boat in the morning it is generally a little cool out. Once it starts warming up, and the water temperature rises the insects often begin to hatch. These insects are not the biting kind, they are the kind the fish want to eat. They are composed of Stoneflies, mayflies, and caddis. The fish really enjoy eating these insects and a prolific hatch of them can often encourage large quantities of fish to begin feeding.   Floating down the south fork any time of year is a spectacular sight. Starting at palisades dam all the way down to lower stretches of the river near Rexburg.

The Henry’s fork of the Snake

The Henry’s fork is a great fishery that has a lot of every type of fishing available. There are fast stretches littered with boulders, and slow stretches of water that you can barely even tell it is flowing. The slow sections tend to be more difficult for the Beginner angler. The calm water makes it easy for the fish to critique your flies entry into the water and also examine your drift.

An Osprey eating a trout on the Henry's fork

An Osprey on the Henry’s fork eats a nice Cutthroat trout. I took this near Ashton a few years ago.

The lower sections of the river around Ashton are often really great for fishing in the early part of the year. Once the water begins to warm around early summer the fishing tends to slow down a bit. But rest assured there are plenty of stretches to catch trout every day of the year.

The Teton river

The Teton rivers headwaters in Teton valley Idaho start out slow (similar to parts of the Henry’s fork) with a large amount of fish. The small dry fly fishing in this area is tremendous. Almost every evening like clockwork the flies begin to show up and the large trout begin feeding. These trout are a great challenge to catch. They have the advantage in this section of river because they can see so far in the crystal clear slow moving water.