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Jackson Hole One Fly

I spent last week in Jackson Hole Wyoming competing in a genuinely fun event - the Jackson Hole One Fly. The idea here is that you pay a big hunk of money (it goes to river restoration) to fish on a team of 4. You get to choose one fly for each of the two days of competition; if you loose the fly, your scoring is done for the day. Points are awarded based on the total size of all fish caught, with bonuses for large numbers of fish and a bonus for keeping your fly all day. All of the fishing is done along 12 different stretches of the Snake River near Jackson Wyoming and along the South Fork near Swan Valley Idaho.

I joined my friends Rick and Jon along with Jon's friend Mike early in the week and we spent several days scouting out the areas we could possibly fish. Even after much thought and deliberation, it wasn't clear what fly we should choose.

The first day of the competition, I was in a boat with a guide from Jack Dennis Outfitters named Brandon Powers and another participant, Liz. We floated the "Deadman's to Moose" section of the Snake and since this was Brandon's home water, I let him choose the fly for the day. He gave me a sparse Chernobyl Ant that he had tied himself. It was a tough day, with very few fish showing themselves and I ended up catching only 5 fish, but I kept my fly.

The second day I fished the "Canyon Section" on the South Fork with Eric Campbell as my guide. I've fished this water before, and always done well with streamers, so I chose a Wooly Bugger variant that I had tied myself for the fly of the day. In the first 90 minutes of the competition, I caught an 18 inch brown, a 9 inch cutthroat, and a 17 inch lake trout. The lake trout was a huge surprise. By this time, I was very happy with my choice of flies, and I was looking forward to a great day and a high score. Then disaster struck; on a back cast, my leader broke and my fly when sailing into the middle of the river. With over five hours of fishing time left, I was done scoring for the day.

In the end our team ended up placing 30th out of 40 teams. Not bad for a rookie team, but we're determined to do better next year. And we had a really good time fishing some great water.

Click here for more info on the Jackson Hole One Fly.

Posted by Bruce on September 15, 2004 4:53 PM

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