The Salt River near Jackson, Wyoming is one of the best-kept “secrets” near Jackson, Wyoming. While so many anglers spend time fishing on the Gros Ventre, Greys, and Snake Rivers, the Salt River is left somewhat alone. If you’re in the Jackson area hoping to fish, then make sure you put the Salt River on your list.
A Little Bit About the Salt River
The Salt River flows for 70 miles along the border of Idaho and Wyoming. The famous Star Valley is a hot spot for anglers looking for a little more privacy, but some of the best views in the entire state. It starts in the Salt River Mountain Range and flows north into the Palisades Reservoir.
Guide Pro Tip: I’ve got 15 Places to Toss a Fly in the Jackson area. Read it all in this article 👉 Where to Fly Fish Near Jackson Hole
The Salt River has a decent amount of access points for anglers to visit. The Star Valley has some private land, but there are numerous points for anglers to either drop in a boat or wet wade. Depending on how many days you’re able to fish, you can drive along Highway 89 and fish the entire river in a few days.
North of the town of Afton, you’ll enter the Star Valley. You’ll want to spend time fishing here. The Narrows Bridge access point is off of Highway 89 and State Highway 238. This point is right where Jensen Creek flows into the water. At this point, you’ll find that the river widens due to the streams that begin flowing into the river at this point. This means that there is ample food and cover for fish. Cut banks and riffles are the name of the game in this section.
You can drop in here and fish your way up or downstream.
Diversion- Mills Creek
A bit further north, you’ll run into the “Salt River- Diversion” access point. This is also right off of State Highway 89 and Whitetail Lane. At this access point, there’s a boat launch in case you’re wanting to drop in your drift boat. This valley is a great place to drift due to the slower-moving water and great places to stop the boat and fish. Mill Creek flows into the Salt River here. Fish right where the creek enters the water. Food is being washed down into the water and fish wait here to feed.
Similar to the Narrows Bridge section, you’ll find that there is a nice amount of cut banks and a few pools in this section where fish hold.
Salt River- Miller’s
As you make your way north towards the town of Etna, you’ll find Miller’s access point. A bit west of Highway 89 you’ll find two parking areas for Miller’s. Miller Creek flows into the salt river here. This is one of the best sections of the river. There are all sorts of bends in the river here with great eddies and deep holding pools for fish. If you enjoy fishing streamers, this is the place you should be fishing. Let your streamer drift into the deep pools and then strip hard towards yourself. You’ll land fish.
Why the Salt River is Perfect for Fly Fishing
Access near Jackson, Wyoming can be hard to find. The large private ranches and businesses control quite a bit of the water, but the Salt River has numerous access points between Afton and the Palisades Reservoir.
Also, there are great places to camp and quite a bit of dispersed land around for you to spend a week or two. If you would like, you’re able to fish several other rivers in the area that hold a nice number of fish.
Also, if you enjoy pool fishing and cut banks, you’ll be right at home on this river. It’s not a fast-moving river with pocket water, so keep that in mind before you make your visit. The fish populations are healthy, and you won’t struggle to land any.
What Stream Flow is Best for fishing the Salt River
If possible, fish this river when it’s around 500 CFS! It’s moving at a good pace, but manageable.
What Kind of Fish Can you Catch on the Salt River?
On the Salt River, you’ll find Brown, Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brook Trout. It’s truly a perfect trout fishery. The extremely cold water keeps the fish healthy and active all year round. Most anglers spend time fishing nymphs and streamers on the Salt River since there are five or six-pound fish available to be caught.
Favorite Flies for the Salt River
You don’t need to be overly creative with your fly choice when fishing the Salt River. Elk Hair Caddis, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, PMD Emergers, Hoppers, and BWOs are some of the best options.
Elk Hair Caddis- Size 18
If you do want to fish dry flies, stick with Caddis patterns. The water is cold and clear, so you don’t need anything extremely large. Stick with thin tippet and drop these flies anywhere you see a fish rise.
Prince Nymph- Size 16
Prince Nymphs are the perfect option for nymphs on the Salt River. These are buggy-looking nymphs that all fish in the Salt River are willing to eat. You can use it as the top of your nymph rig or the bottom of a dry dropper.
Woolly Bugger- Size 8
Streamers are something that every angler needs to use on the Salt River. Many rivers in Jackson are dry fly and nymph rivers and streamers are less popular. The Woolly Bugger is a good fly to start with and you can change your option from there.
Hatch Chart for the Salt River
|Name||Size||Start Date||End Date|
|Salmonfly||10-14||June 1||July 31|
|Golden Stone||14-18||June 1||August 31|
|Little Yellow Stone||18-22||July 1||October 31|
|Caddis||16-24||May 1||September 31|
|Baetis||14-18||March 1||April 31|
|PMD||16-20||July 1||September 31|
|Gray Drake||14-18||July 1||August 31|
|Trico||16-20||August 1||September 31|
|Mahogany Dun||14-18||September 1||October 31|
|Midge||16-24||December 31||January 1|
|Terrestrials||10-16||July 1||September 31|
|Callibaetis||16-22||July 1||August 31|
Fly Rod and Reel Setup for the Salt River
Use a 7 to 9 foot 3 to 5-weight rod with a matching reel. You’re good with a floating fly line and a 3x or 4x leader and a bit smaller tippet.
The Perfect Fly Rod Combo for Wyoming
Orvis originated in the fly fishing business. The Orvis Clearwater Combo is perfectly balanced and comes with everything except flies. It’s so easy to cobble together an outfit that just doesn’t cast right. No worries with that using the Clearwater Fly Rod Combo.
Guides and Fly Shops
Grand Teton Fly Fishing– Grand Teton fly fishing is a fly shop in the town of Jackson prepared to guide you on the Salt River. Plus, they have all the gear you need to have a great day on the water!
Greys River Sports– Greys River sports is located in the town of Alpine right along the Salt River. They’re a full-service guide shop with all of the information you need to land fish on the Salt.
Last Cast for the Salt River
The Salt River is a beautiful river that offers extremely high-quality fishing. Be sure to visit this river next time you’re in the Jackson area. You won’t regret it and you’ll find yourself tying into some beautiful fish
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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