2018 fishing season
People often ask me what I do this time of year in the fly shop. While the day-to-day slows down, one thing that is always constant is the phone. Customers, new and old, will call and want an idea of what the fishing will be like when they are able to come to Mecca. People that have met me in the past know I am a glass half full kind of guy and my response is always going to be the same. You’re fishing in some of the best waters in the world and fishing is going to be great! I truly believe that, any day on our waters is in fact great. As far as catching goes, some days are better than others, but being here and casting flies to wild fish is top notch in my mind. I love it and can’t wait for the long summer nights in the crater, hunting the fish that swim around in my dreams.
I think the best way to predict the upcoming season is to look at what the snow pack is doing. As of today most of our area drainages are at, or slightly above, average. This is great news. I often tell folks that we have an “instant trout fishery here, just add water”. The trick is how long will the snow stay. On years when the snow stays late you can plan on hatches coming later. In 2016 I knew we were in trouble. I found handfuls of big salmon flies on the banks the first week of May. That was not a good snow year and by March we had very little snow left. The adult salmon flies hatched on May 12th that year. It was great fishing early but the river was done by early July. 2017 came in with a bang and snow pack stayed late. Last year we saw the adult salmon flies closer to the traditional time, the end of May. This past year was spectacular. Plenty of water everywhere. As a matter of fact we didn’t even start fishing the South Fork of the Snake until mid-July. Both the Teton and Fall Rivers had great flows all summer. In Montana, we also had great fishing. In Yellowstone Park, I had to swim to get out to some of the spots on The Yellowstone River that I like to fish.
The good news for 2018 is that we have lots of water left over in the reservoirs. This combined with near average snow fall, in some areas above average. I would say that both fishing and catching in 2018 will be very good! The next couple of months are critical. We want to avoid an early spring so the longer we can keep snow in the mountains the better. I will not try and predict when the big bugs hatch because I think it’s too early to make that call; however, if I had to guess, I would say plan on what we saw this last year. The Henry’s Fork Foundation is a great resource to see what’s going on in our area. Dr. Rob Van Kirk sends out a daily E-mail that includes flows and snow pack information. The Foundation is truly an asset and does great work on this river. If you’re not familiar with the Henry’s Fork Foundation, you need to check out the work they have done, https://henrysfork.org; while you’re there become a member and get involved.
The things I will never be able to predict is what the weather is going to be like the day you arrive or what day is the best for you to come out and only catch twenty inchers on dry flies. I also cannot tell you where to go find fishing spots that you will have to yourself—as that’s a tough thing to find. What we can do here is give you solid advice on where we think fishing is good, we can give you quality flies that will help you be successful on all our area waters and provide you with great guides. We will do that with a smile and a handshake. My final prediction for the 2018 season: I would get here! It’s going to be great!