Return to an Old Favorite – Flat Creek

by | Aug 18, 2019 | flat creek

Snake-river-CutthroatIt’s great having my South African friend Garth Wellman in town and even better that he’s got no car and is staying with his family in Jackson, Wyoming.  It’s forcing me out of Idaho and over Teton Pass to Jackson to pick him up.  Which in turn, it has me fishing the Jackson Hole area instead of Idaho.


Flat-Creek-WYI lived in Jackson from 1987 to 1993 and fished the Jackson waters all the time.  This included the Snake, Hoback, Gros Ventre, Buffalo and the list goes on.  But the place I fished most was Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge.


Jeff-Currier-Flat-CreekI loved Flat for the technical dry fly fishing and huge Snake River Cutthroats.  I guided hundreds of people there those years.  I was a guest on the TV Show, “Fishing the West” with host Larry Schoenborn.  I even spent time out there with legendary sports announcer, Curt Gowdy and a few other famous folks as well.  So after the spirited day yesterday, today Garth and I took on Flat Creek where you park the car and walk four minutes and usually find your first rising fish.


National-Elk-RefugeI knew Flat was the right choice minutes in.  It felt so good to be back.  It was the look on Garth’s face as he proceeded out with me – the blue sky behind the Tetons – the sandhill cranes, it was mesmerizing.  Then of course, the tiny winding river of Flat Creek itself.


trout-fishing-wyomingThere were other anglers out there as always.  I observed their locations and fishing habits.  Then I chose a section and showed Garth the idiosyncrasies that come with Flat.  On Flat the eddies, back-currents, undercut banks make presenting a dry fly a challenge.  And you must spot the fish before you cast.  This isn’t always so easy because the bigger the fish the more subtle the rise.  But Garth has seen this before and soon he was in position casting to a fish.


Garth-Wellman-fishingThis cutty was decent and munching on micro Pale Morning Duns.  Seriously, the duns on Flat in August are 18’s and smaller.  Garth was using one of my favorites, the Thorax Mahogany Dun and within two casts he hooked up.  The problem however, Garth was fishing on the side of the river of the undercut bank.  The cutty fought upstream to start but then ran down and into the bank.  With 5X this kind of battle doesn’t last long and soon it was the trout 1 and Garth 0.


mountain-whitefishThe next couple fish we saw were small but Garth picked them off.  There were a lot of small fish up and I spanked a few as well.  They are great fun and can be as wise as the big ones so its good practice.  Each pool also has a few mountain whitefish along the bottom nymphing.  Garth caught his first whitey yesterday but it was small.  When he saw a big one today he put on a nymph and hooked up quickly.


Garth-Wellman-whitefishA big whitefish on this small stream is a chore to land.  The often disrespected native will kick your butt just like a big cutthroat by running you downstream and under a bank.  Garth learned about the banks first thing today so he took some extra care this time.  Soon he was holding a hefty 14” fatboy whitefish!




cutthroat-troutFishing was good.  The fish continued to rise steadily despite bright sun and by mid-day, huge wind.  While most the fish were smaller than the average for Flat Creek, we found a few good ones. None landed larger than this 13” but nice enough to make a great day.


flat-creek-anglerIt was at around 5 PM that the hatches really began.  The Pale Morning Duns continued to trickle but now we had some caddis and crane flies to go with.  That’s when Garth stuck the fish we were after.


Garth-Wellman-Cutthroat-troutGarth managed this big boy with utmost care.  He hooked him on a tiny South African pattern he tied.  His tippet was light so as the fish fought downstream Garth eased along with.  I forgot my net so we used this gravel beach as our spot to land him.  Garth didn’t want to leave Jackson Hole without a nice cutthroat to add to his species list and now he’s got him!


catch-and-releaseWe fished until shortly after 7.  Day 2 was another fun filled gem of a day.  And being that our cutthroat trout fishing has been so good, I’ve convinced Garth to join me to Blackfoot Reservoir.  Yes, I’m very excited that tomorrow we will be chasing down the mirror carps!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!