For fly anglers, no trip to Jackson, Wyoming is complete without a fishing trip on the Snake River. These waters run right through the heart of Jackson and provide fly anglers with amazing cutthroat trout fishing opportunities. I’ve had the honor of fishing the Snake River for years on my trips out west and something inside me gets extra excited when I know I’m going to be able to spend time on this river.
The Snake River originates in Yellowstone National Park and travels into Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. From there, it becomes a tailwater and eventually empties into the Palisades Reservoir. Anglers will find wide water with seams and pools, but you’ll also have access to riffles and cut banks! The Snake River provides a great variety and challenges for every angler that visits.
The Snake River portion of Wyoming is only 120 miles of the 1,070 total miles! However, much of this water flows through public lands! You’ll only run into around 15 private miles of water. Take a look at the access points below
Guide Tip: Looking for fishy water in Jackson Hole? Let me help with this article – Where to Fly Fish in Jackson Hole
Emily Stevens Park- Constant Action!
Emily Stevens Park is a great place to start your fishing excursion on the Snake River. Located between the towns of Wilson and Jackson, you’ll find an ample amount of parking and fairly easy access! Depending on the level of the water, you’ll find that fishing is easier at some times of year and others.
As you head down to the river, you’ll see a nice section of riffles that leads into a deeper portion of water. Spend time fishing here! Once you’ve exhausted this area, you’re able to move up and downstream without worrying about running into private land. In the mornings and the evenings, the hatches are plentiful! The Snake River provides some of the best dry fly fishing in all of Wyoming.
Between Hoback and Bondurant- More Solitude!
If you’re interested in driving between locations, there’s a pull-out between the towns of Hoback and Bondurant that provides a nice amount of access. This is a great place to visit because Red Creek flows into the Snake River here. Red Creek brings in all sorts of food and nutrients for the fish.
You can park your car at the pullout and spend time working your way up the river. Wading or covering ground on the shoreline is possible. You’ll find more solitude in this portion of the river! Anglers have been rumored to pull out some pretty impressive Cutthroat trout out of this section.
In Hoback- Easy Access
If you aren’t interested in traveling very far or working too hard to find access to the Snake River, then the town of Hoback gives you a couple of great options. Right along State Highway 89, you’ll see a pull-off across from Astoria Hot Springs and the park. Here, you can either drop in your boat and float downstream and fish or fish from shore.
There are eddies up and downstream from here that will continually produce fish for you. Again, be prepared in the mornings and evenings for hatches! You can’t make a trip to the Snake River and not spend time fishing with dries.
Why the Snake River is Perfect for Fly Fishing
The Snake River is perfect for fly fishing because of the access, local attractions, and fish count! You’re going to be fishing alongside the Teton Mountains and right next door to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. These parks provide days and days of fun for you and the entire family.
Guide Pro Tip: This area of the U.S. is legendary among fly fishers. I’ve got a complete guide to where to fish the Grand Tetons. Read it -> Where to Fly Fish in the Grand Tetons National Park
Combine the location with the amount of public access and the fish count and you have one of the best western United States fly fishing rivers. The cutthroat and brown trout populations are extremely healthy and they continue producing fish year after year. It’s one of the most sustainable cutthroat trout populations in the country.
What Stream Flow is Best for Fishing the Snake River?
If you can fish the Snake around 1500 to 2000 CFS, then you’re in good shape. Runoff can last a long time on the Snake River, but pre-runoff is a great time to visit the river! The fish are active and easily able to feed at this pace.
What Kind of Fish Can You Catch on the Snake River?
The Snake River has a nice variety of fish for anglers to target. The most famous fish are the cutthroat trout! These are both beautiful and aggressive fish. If you have a chance to target them, do it. You won’t regret hooking into one.
There are also a nice number of brown trout and mountain whitefish throughout the river! All of these are accessible throughout the entire Wyoming section of the river! However, fishing below the Jackson Dam is going to have the most consistent water temperatures throughout the year.
Favorite Flies for the Snake River
All types of flies are in play when you’re fishing on the Snake River! The fish are willing to eat in all levels of the water column!
Pheasant Tail Nymph- Size 18
Come spring, the Pheasant Tail Nymph should be at the top of your list! Bounce these along the bottom and wait for the fish to take them.
Little Yellow Stonefly- Size 14
Throughout the summer, Little Yellow Stoneflies are going to be extremely productive. Anywhere you see a rise, throw one of these flies! A great easy to tie version is the Super Easy Yellow Sally.
Woolly Bugger- Size 6
The Woolly Bugger is a classic streamer that continually produces fish. Find any pool or seam and let your fly swing or dead drift through the fishable areas. Try a few methods and eventually you’ll find a fish to take it.
Hatch Chart for the Snake River
|Fly Name||Size||Start Date||End Date|
|Blue Winged Olive||16-24||March 1||November 31|
|Caddis||16-24||June 1||October 31|
|Golden Stonefly||16-22||July 1||August 31|
|Grey Drake||10-14||July 1||August 31|
|Little Yellow Stonefly||12-16||July 1||September 31|
|Mahogany Dun||12-16||September 1||October 31|
|Midge||16-24||January 1||December 31|
|PMD||14-18||July 1||September 31|
|Salmonfly||8-12||June 1||July 31|
|Trico||18-20||August 1||September 31|
|Terrestrial/Stimulator||8-12||July 1||October 31|
Fly Rod and Reel Setup for the Snake River
A 5-weight or 6-weight rod with a matching reel should be your go-to for the Snake River. You can use 7-to-9-foot leaders ranging from 0x to 6x.
Looking for the perfect fly rod combo for the Snake River WY?
The Sage Foundation Fly Rod Combo comes with everything minus flies. The rod in made in the U.S.A. and comes with the typically lifetime warranty. The fast action allows you to cast in the windy conditions found along the Colorado. Even better – when your buddies see you casting a Sage you’ll get the jealousy looks.
Guides and Fly Shops
- Snake River Angler– Snake River Anglers is a great full guide service located in Jackson, Wyoming!
- Fish the Fly Guide Service– This is a full guide service located in the heart of Jackson! They’ll give you all the necessary information you need to be successful on the water.
Last Cast for the Snake River
The Snake River is one of the staple fly fishing rivers in the Western United States. Even if you aren’t landing fish, you still have amazing views and scenery to observe. Thankfully, the fish counts continue to be high and anglers have great chances to land trophy cutthroat trout!
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills – These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout – Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish – Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon – Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.
Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fly fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fly fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It’s a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels