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Early Season Below Jackson Lake Dam

Its a long held belief amongst veteran guides in Jackson Hole that early season fishing on the Snake River below Jackson Lake Dam is a fruitless endeavor that is reserved solely as a last resort - maybe when guests have only a few hours to be on the water or other rivers are closed or not fishing well due to runoff. 300 cfs is the average winter flow from Jackson Lake from October until releases increase in late May. It is usually around 2,500 cfs when we see a noticeable upsurge in activity, both above the surface and below.

In early May 2015, it became evident that things were changing on this reach. Double digit fish days were not uncommon. Size was there like we had not seen before. A blip on the radar screen many of us figured.

Surprisingly, this trend has continued this year. Releases from the Dam are going to be on hold longer than usual in 2016. We may not see them until early June. But fishing has once again been pretty solid on this reach. Dry-droppers are producing in the slow pools on the upper reach. The streamer bite has been exceptional in the lower "Dead Sea" reach, so much so that I have been putting streamer sticks in the hands of novices. And the surface action is getting better by the day. A couple of weeks ago, trout were rising only in the Cattleman's Pool and above the confluence with Pacific Creek. Yesterday, trout were rising from Cattleman's all the way down to the take-out.

Either fishing is getting better up there, or we are starting to figure things out in ways that we haven't before.

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