Jackson Hole One Fly Practice on the Snake River

It’s basically been off the plane from New Hampshire and straight into the Jackson Hole One Fly.  I’m not complaining as the One Fly is an absolute blast for me as it means enjoying time with a lot of old customer/friends of mine.  I also get to fish while someone else rows!  Last night the tournament kicked off with the cocktail party where we drew for stretches and guides.  As usual, I drew one of the more difficult sections of the Snake River, Pritchard to West Table (will I ever get a Park stretch?).  That’s Saturday.  Then on Sunday I’ll fish the feared Upper South Fork which already kicked my butt when my team captain Gary Eckman and I practiced on Wednesday.

Today Gary took us on a guided trip down the Snake with the famous Boots Allen for one last chance to practice.  Boots has been on the blog before.  In fact he was recently on the blog back in April and May because I illustrated his most recent book, Modern Fly Fishing for Trout (Hopefully available by Christmas).  Boots is one of the best guides I’ve ever fished with.  He always explains his game plan from start to finish.   He explains why, tells you where and he listens when you have an idea of your own.  Today our idea was not to practice on one of the stretches that Gary or I drew for the contest, but rather go beat up someone else’s.  We floated Deadman’s Bar to Moose.

Deadman’s Bar to Moose is the fastest flowing section of the Snake through Grand Teton National Park.  This section sinks more boats in a season than any other.  You must be excellent behind the oars.  This scenic section also requires good angling skills and the ability to get out of the boat and hike and wade the many side channels.

Gary and I started our day with streamers.  Being that we were beating the stretch up I rigged up my typical multiple streamer rig and nailed a couple nice cuttys just to loosen my arm.  Then I switched to a small dry fly as I’m almost sure this is what I will fish during the One Fly on both the Snake and the South Fork.

After playing around with some Pale Morning Dun, Mahogany Dun and ant patterns, I determined that a size 16 honey ant worked best.  I proceeded to see exactly how many fish I could land on the unique ant if I stuck with it.  At the end of the day I’d estimate that I caught about 20 gorgeous cuttys including several up to about 17 inches.  This is definitely the fly for me. 

Fishing such a small fly for two straight days will not be easy.  My eyes aren’t as young as they used to be and concentrating from start to finish on both One Fly days is a must.  I’m ready for it though.  In fact I’m darn right excited as hell! 

The tournament will start at 8:30 AM tomorrow.  My guide is long time friend Jean Bruun and my opponent is also a friend, Ray Thurston.  Fishing Pritchard to West Table will be challenging as it’s not nearly famed for large fish, something you need to win the One Fly.  However, there’s plenty of small fish and they count too.  I’ll have my work cut out for me. 
I’ll be fishing hard and enjoying the after fishing events throughout the weekend so expect the story, photos and results posted on around Tuesday.
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