Friend Gary Eckman and I fished Jenny Lake today in Grand Teton National Park. Rather than fish at sunrise when it was about 20°s we met at 10 AM at the lake. This gave me time to enjoy the Park before fishing. We have lots of snow up high in the Tetons already.
Gary prefers to fish Jenny Lake by boat. The boat eliminates the ten minute hike to get to my spot that ends by sidestepping down a steep wet hill. At 77 years old I’d want to skip the hike too. However, to catch the lake trout in Jenny during October, all you need to do is wade out to your thigh and cast your streamer off the drop off. Wade fishing is easier too because you don’t have to deal with controlling a boat in the wind.
When we arrived there wasn’t any wind to worry about. Jenny was glassy calm. There was some sun but clouds were moving in. The weather on the lakes around here can change in a heartbeat and the clouds indicated it might. Gary and I each waded out and cast our streamers off the ledges.
I was using my Scientific Anglers Stillwater WF6I line and two streamers – a chartreuse bead headed woolly bugger and a heavy nymph. Lake trout prefer brightly colored flies so I recommend anything chartreuse, yellow or white. Lake trout surprise you and devour nymphs as well thus my nymph added to the rig. I also suggest stripping them slowly.
Fishing was lousy to start but when there’s not even a ripple from wind fishing is often tough. Fish know they’re vulnerable to predators when the lakes surface is like glass. This tends to put them deeper. It also gives them a clear view of a fly line crashing on the water. They can be easily scared away before seeing your fly.
October days rarely remain void of wind for long. As we fished we watched the clouds continue to pour in. Along with the clouds came a breeze. Then a light wind. Then a full on steady gust followed by rain and snow. This change of weather happened in less than 30 minutes. Thank god we didn’t bring the boat!
But one thing that goes hand and hand with bad weather on lakes is bad fishing often turns to good fishing. I’ve noticed this to be particularly true with lake trout. Today did not disappoint. Although it was hell to deal in the extreme conditions, Gary and I caught lake trout on nearly every cast for a solid half hour. I even nailed a dandy cutthroat.
Although I’ve taken a few big lake trout of over 20lbs on Jenny Lake, most that we catch on the fly are in the 18” to 24” range. And although I’m a 99% catch and release guy, I always take a few of these tasty little dudes home. When we catch the odd one over 25” it gets released immediately to keep the good genes alive.
Gary and I pulled out of Jenny around 1 PM. The waves and wind were hectic. Gary in particular was getting pummeled by the waves towards the end. What a great day. It’s so good to be fishing a bunch again!
With the Holidays charging on us fast, keep in mind that I sell great gifts for the fly fishers that have everything. Visit my store where you can buy online both my fish art coffee mugs and beer steins! And a friend and I are building a decal biz. We don’t have many available yet but you can order what we presently have on Amazon. We would greatly appreciate some reviews to help us get this gig going!