Jackson Hole Brewery Match the Hatch: Fly fishing in the greater Jackson Hole region is special. We are home to some of the finest trout water in the country. With prolific hatches throughout the summer, our local fish have a wide array of food sources from which to choose. The number of rivers available to us as anglers is simply spectacular. The Green River, The Snake, The South Fork of the Snake, The Teton and The Henry’s Fork of the Snake are all in our backyard and packed with hungry trout.
While our local rivers keep us busy chasing fish, our local breweries work hard to ensure a tasty cold beverage is waiting to celebrate the catch of the day. The Jackson Hole region is dotted with breweries, but I have picked five local breweries to sample the best of the best. Whatever your flavor, these breweries will have a brew that will appeal to your palate.
In order to simplify all of the hatches, rivers and beers that Jackson Hole has to offer, I have compiled a list of hatches on our rivers with an appropriate beer for the occasion. This list is by no means comprehensive but will help you sample a little bit of what makes our home so special.
River: South Fork of the Snake
Brew: Melvin Brewing, 2×4 Double IPA
Stoneflies on the South Fork are not to be missed! Golden Stones and Salmonflies explode on the South Fork in late June and early July. Big foam flies are always fun to bounce off the cliff walls in the canyon section. They are just as effective being twitched in slower flat water beneath willows. My days become a lot longer when salmon flies arrive on the South Fork. Whether it’s a dawn patrol before work or a late afternoon session in The Ditch, I make time to fish these big bugs.
A big fly requires a big beer; enter Melvin Brewing’s 2×4 Double IPA. This aggressive double IPA has a powerful hoppy taste with notes of citrus and pine and ends with a nice dry finish. This beer is perfect for long days of tucking flies under bushes, it holds your attention and never lets go. Splitting a six pack with your buddy is a smart move as this beer weighs in at over 9% ABV!
River: The Teton River
Brew: Snake River Brewing, Jenny Lake Lager
The Teton River is a dry fly haven! With a slow and steady flow, the river meanders through Teton Valley before plunging into a wild river canyon. In the valley, late afternoons and evening hatches of Pale Morning Duns make the river almost appear to boil as fish feast away. In my experience, the best time to fish the Teton is always dusk; most of the boaters have left for the day and I can have the river to myself…and the moose. The gentle nature of this meandering river hides a true challenge to any angler. Technical dry fly fishing here is characterized by light tackle, small flies and a lot of patience.
The delicate nature of fishing this river is complemented perfectly by a crisp Jenny Lake Lager from Snake River Brewing. Brewed with German malts, the Jenny Lake Lager has the subtlest of hop notes meant to allow you to casually sip away while sight casting to rising fish. It is a light beer that pleases every time. Just like the Teton, you can’t over power this beer so enjoy it all the way into the fading twilight.
River: The Snake River
Brew: Grand Teton Brewing Co., Sweetgrass
Hoppers are one of my favorite flies to fish with. They’re versatile, effective and downright lethal when paired with the appropriate dropper fly. Cutthroat Trout on the Snake river snack on hoppers throughout the summer. The right hopper fly can evoke amazing reactions from Cuttys. Floating through Grand Teton National Park is a stunning float only made better by slinging foam flies to Snake River Cuttys. Hoppers will fish late into the fall which makes it one of the more consistent flies for our region.
In the dog days of summer, I enjoy a cold beer that can quench my thirst and Sweetgrass by Grand Teton Brewing Company never disappoints. Brewed in Victor, Idaho, this American Pale Ale is a big, bold beer that is brewed using five different varieties of hops. The drinkability of this beer is simply amazing, its smooth taste and slightly spicy finish truly pops –especially after landing a gorgeous cutty.
River: The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River
Brew: Mighty Bison Brown Ale, Wildlife Brewing Co.,
Drakes on the Henry’s Fork. Not much more needs to be said, however, I’ll elaborate. The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River is a bug factory. Beginning in early May with the Mother’s Day Caddis, the river plays host to Salmonflies, Goldenstones, Yellow Sallies, Baetis, PMDs, Caddis and Drakes. Of all of these flies, the Drake is the most revered, bringing anglers from all over the country to fish the fabled waters of the Henry’s Fork. With Green Drakes Brown Drakes throughout the entire river system, the Henry’s can play host to triumph and heartbreak but always seem to leave me with a smile on my face.
Fishing the Henry’s Fork can be demanding, requiring careful selection of flies and precise presentations. Mighty Bison Brown from Wildlife Brewing is a precision crafted and delicate American Brown Ale. Brewed using Northern Brewer and Cascade hops Mighty Bison has a complex taste that you can savor while sitting on the bank waiting for fish to begin rising. The malty taste almost acts as a late evening coffee with the taste lingering long after you have finished drinking it. This beer goes down as smooth as you hope your fly line will.
River: The Green River
Brew: Avarice and Greed Belgian Golden, Q Roadhouse
The high elevation sagebrush plains that surround the Green River conceal one of fly fishing’s most unlikely attractor patterns, the Mouse! The rise in popularity of fishing mouse patterns and hunting for carnivorous brown trout has led many anglers to the Green. These massive imitation flies are best used in the light of a full moon where they can skate across the water, making a small wake that trout have a hard time ignoring.
Mousing the Green requires late nights and an unyielding beer that will last you through the moonrise. Avarice and Greed Belgian Golden, from the Q Roadhouse and Brewery in Wilson, WY, has just the qualities you need walking a riverbank at night. It is deceptively smooth with a peppery aftertaste. As Neil Albert from The Q explained, the name for the beer comes from the lyrics from a Phish song which is more than appropriate; “But I warn you that all knowledge seeming innocent and pure, becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of avarice & greed.”
Fly Recommendation Technician