In an article by-lined “The Hampshire Fly Fisher” the writer says: “On the other hand, as far as fly fishing is concerned, fishing upstream, unless you are trying the Carshalton dodge and fishing with a dry fly, is very awkward.” Dry fly patterns certainly became commercially available around this time. A tackle company of Foster’s of Cheltenham began selling dry flies with upright split wings as early as 1854. James Ogden, another Cheltenham tackle dealer, claimed to have been the first to use a dry fly, stating that he used dry patterns during the 1840’s. But although Ogden certainly fished patterns that floated, others did so before him, without making any claims.
The dry fly took some time to catch on due in part to the equipment limitations of the time. The flies became waterlogged and sank and often were difficult to present. The first recorded trout to be caught on a dry fly was not until 1888, a great deal of time from its first introduction.
Dry flies have definitely evolved from their early beginnings to the sophisticated patterns of the current day. Teton Valley Lodge prides itself on the productive use of dry flies on all the rivers we fish. We are constantly developing new patterns, innovating the dry fly pattern and its uses on our rivers. Catching trout on a dry fly cannot be compared to using a nymph or streamer.
The dry is just that much more fun. Only in fishing a dry fly are you able to see the fish actually break the surface and swallow your fly. Being able to present a dry fly in the perfect spot and have a trout take your fly is unmatched in excitement by any other method.
Our rivers are perfect for fishing the dry fly. In fact, over the past few years, nearly all of our record size trout have been caught on the dry fly. One would think that the streamer might be the ultimate big fish catching method; however, as of late, this has not been the case.
We have chased hatches all of our lives. It all begins with Henry’s Fork in May with the first Salmon Fly hatch of the season. The Henry’s Fork, during the Salmon Flies, is magical. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. What could be more enjoyable than drifting down a canyon, laying a big dry fly in front of and behind boulders, watching giant rainbows slash out with all their power? The hatch lasts about three weeks. Next, we go to the Teton. Again, it’s the Salmon Flies that bring us. They are everywhere. They crawl over the rocks and float down the riffles. Trout of all sizes go nuts for them. Sometimes the fish hit so hard they miss and the big bug goes flying into the air from the force of the strike. But, most of the time the fish are accurate and they nail your fly. These fish love dry flies and they love fast water. Often, the largest fish are in the fastest and roughest water.
In the meantime, we are also fishing the flat water on Henry’s Fork for the monstrous sipping rainbows that come out in early June. It is the challenge of stalking big fish on the quiet water that makes it exciting. The giant dry flies keep hatching for 3 to 4 weeks. What a great time.
So, now we are fishing the dry hatches of the Henry’s Fork and the dry hatches of the Teton and along come to the South Fork with its Salmon Flies. Now we are fishing Salmon Flies on all three rivers at the same time. This is unheard of anywhere in the world. The giant stoneflies line the banks of the South Fork for 15 to 25 miles at a stretch. Everyone is casting to giant Browns, Rainbows, and Cutthroats all day long. It is a dream comes true for any fly angler. The fish are going crazy for the big bugs and we are going crazy for the fish. What a wonderful time. We can’t decide whether to fish the South Fork, the Henry’s Fork or the Teton. What a dilemma!
After all of this Salmon Fly fishing, the Mayflies begin to hatch all over every river. The riffles are filled with tiny delicate dry flies just about the time the trout are tired of eating the Salmon Flies. Fish they key in on the Mayflies and concentrate on nothing else. Until the grasshoppers come out in early August, the fish look for nothing but Mayflies.
Hoppers! Fish love hoppers. They gorge themselves on hoppers. Grasshoppers stay hopping and flying around into October. Once the fish begin to eat hoppers they look for them every day. Hopper fishing is much like Salmon Fly fishing.
Maybe it was just fate that lead Alma to start his outfitting on the Teton River. In 1919, how could he have known that Teton Valley was a center for dry fly fishing? I wonder if he knew that nearly every day of the summer was going to be a dry fly day?
Well, whether he did or not, it has been that way ever since he started outfitting way back in 1919. Fish a dry fly with one of our fly fishing guides on the stretches of the Teton, South Fork and Henry’s Fork and we will show you how contagious dry fly fishing can be.