August 26, 2018

Brookies in Teton National Park

I have a house within minutes of Teton National Park (TNP). Despite this, I don't fish in TNP very often. This is for a couple of reasons. First, there are too many people/visitors (enough said).  Second, the most famous stream to fish in TNP is the Snake River. Sure I've fished it, but it really doesn't interest me, except as a repository for larger fish (which come up into the streams I do fish). Third, most all the streams in TNP have been contaminated with eastern brook trout and no longer have populations of native cutthroat trout.

Exotic species introduction in the west started back in the 1800's and continued until a few decades ago. These introduced species were brought in to "enhance" the fisheries for sportsmen. Unfortunately, most of these species out compete the native cutthroat, or become piscivorous earlier in their life cycle thus eating cutthroat smolts before they can develop. This has greatly damaged cutthroat populations in many streams, and has eradicated cutthroat all together in some watersheds.

As a lover of native cutthroat trout and as an angler who primarily pursues them, I tend to avoid waters that have mostly exotic species in them. That said, I'll admit I do enjoy hunting brown trout (I'm not sure why, maybe it's because my grandfather felt they were the hardest trout to catch). I don't have much interest in catching rainbows or brook trout though (unless I am in their native watersheds, then bring 'em on!). Currently, since invasive brook trout are the main species found in most of the creeks in TNP, I tend to fish elsewhere. I have a lot of waters to choose from as well.

However, on occasion I'll go after brook trout. I did one such outing recently. There is a stream in TNP that in known for its brook trout. The waters are gin clear and the hike in is very beautiful. Just to break the routine, my wife and I hiked into this creek, and while she read and napped I fished.

Using upstream dead drift techniques I took brook trout after brook trout. They fought admirably well as they tried to throw the fly, or swim under snags to get away.

Most were in the 8 inch range, but a few were 10-11 inches or so. They were nice fish and, I'll admit, quite pretty.

The last time I fished this creek it was 2012. Maybe I'll come back and fish it in another 6 years (or maybe sooner 😉).


  1. Tom very impressive. Those streams are so beautiful, and the brookies match the streams.
    Nice fly....

  2. Wonderful stream, beautiful fish. We've has a lot of rain here this summer, limiting the fishing and the catching even more. Just saw an internet reporting an early chilly storm has cold rain and snow falling in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Hope you get in a few more days like this before the snow sets in for the rest of the season. D

  3. I like one of those photos. Ok I like them all but one looks really nice. ;)

    1. It's been a great hammock chair for the day hikes I take.

  4. Really enjoying your blog. I want to get more into the tenkara game. I have a rod and have caught quite a few fish on it, but I’d like to go to tenkara more often as opposed to standard fly fishing. I like the minimalist style of it.

    I also appreciate your love of cutthroats. You mentioned brookies outcompeting the cutts, which is basically the story of a lot of Wyoming streams unfortunately. One victory that I read about from WGFD was about a small desert CRC creek that I like to fish. A long time ago, The cutts were being driven out by brookies that were stocked every year. However, when they stopped stocking it with brookies, the cutthroats retook the stream. They guessed that because the flows were so low in the fall that the brookies were unable to spawn well. So the cutts had a natural edge thanks to the super low water in the fall. Now it’s free of brookies and an awesome Cutthroat stream. Naturally repaired itself!


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