Snake River - Drifting for Cutts

by K. Christopherson; photos by J. Straley

Where can you flyfish for native cutthroats, enjoy some of the best scenery our country has to offer, and view eagles soaring while drifting on a great river? On the Snake River - one of the best trips Wyoming has to offer.

The Snake is a large river, with average stream flows in the 1000's of cfs. Coupling this with limited shore access means that floating or drifting is the best way (and most pleasant!) to fish the river and find the trout.

wyoming cutthroat trout Note the 'fine' spots of the Snake River Cutt (photo courtesy Jackson Hole Anglers)

The Snake can be 'dry fly heaven' and it doesn't get much better than catching native Snake River Cutthroats on a dry. These gorgeous trout have fine black spots when compared to the other, larger-spotted subspecies of cutts. And, these opportunistic cutts love to take dries. With luck, you'll be present during a stonefly hatch (get out the BIG dries), but otherwise numerous hatches occur during the fishing season (which runs from April 1 to October 31) including various mayflies, midges, and caddis. Still like the BIG fly idea - then fish during the latter part of summer when terrestrials are plopping into the river.

Wyoming fishing A perfect day - drifting near the banks

Most everyone who fishes larger rivers will remind you that they are "really just many small rivers put together". The well-worn phrase is true of the Snake - fishing the banks, riffles, seams is all made so much easier when doing it from a boat. If yoiu want a rest from slinging the large flies, you can relax for a few minutes and watch the world go by.

Snake River Wyoming fishing Big water in big country

You'll have to pick your season for a Snake River float - runoff can last well into July. The best, and most fun, is probably had during August thru October. Fishing in the fall can be wonderful as there are less crowds (both on and off river), cooler temps, and changing colors.

wyoming cutthroat trout Heading downstream for more cutthroat action


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