It’s exactly as idyllic as it sounds, if you have the patience. Fly fishing is a quintessential Western experience. In Jackson Hole, you have your pick of fishing holes: of course, there’s the iconic Snake River, but there’s also the Gros Ventre River just north of town, the Greys River roughly 45 minutes west, and the Green River about an hour south. You can even cast for native cutthroat trout on Flat Creek, right on the National Elk Refuge.
You’ll need a fishing license to fish these waters, which you can get at local outfitters and tackle shops. If you go with a guide (recommended), they’ll ensure you’re licensed before heading out on the river. Guided trips are your best bet — you’ll get personalized tips while spending a whole day on the river with someone who knows the water and how to fish responsibly.
Fishing responsibly is a great way to help conserve local rivers. Cutthroat trout — the area’s only native fish — are an essential part of this ecosystem. Their numbers are dwindling, so they should be handled with care. Non-native fish, on the other hand, can be harvested to the benefit of native cutthroat. Wyoming fishing licenses allow you to harvest a certain number of fish per day, so aim for the non-native species if you want trout for dinner. Harvesting non-native fish like rainbow trout, lake trout, and brook helps the native cutthroat reclaim their ecosystem.
You can help prevent the spread of non-native species by making sure all of your own fishing gear is thoroughly drained, cleaned, and dried before entering local waters.
Local tackle shops, guides, and visitor centers will be happy to help you plan your day on the river according to The Wild Rules.