My favorite time to fly fish is in the fall. The water and air temperatures have dropped with the water levels which makes it easier to see where the native cutthroat trout and other fish are pooled up or holding along the banks. There is less pressure on the fish as our summer visitors trying their luck have left and the waters are all ours! With the light being crystal clear as the summer atmosphere has cleared up from diminished moisture in the air, smoke from forest fires and tilling of the potato fields in Idaho, you can see the fishing rising to your flies and that magical moment of the take. These are the things I dream about when trying to fall asleep. Fall fishing is the best!
Listen To the Elk Bugle
I sleep with windows open each fall (late August to mid-October) so I can enjoy listening to the bugle of the bull elk during the fall rut. I really cannot think of many places where one can live and do this, but you’ll need to live outside of the town of Jackson. My neighborhood in Skyline Ranch is on a migration corridor and elk are often in the yard. Since I can’t invite you all over, alternatively just go up to Grand Teton National Park at sunrise or sunset for the show. If it’s early morning, drive north of the Moose entrance station and generally before you reach the Bradley/Taggart Lake turnout you’ll see them. If you want to take it up a notch plan an evening picnic at the White Grass Ranch. Just drive up the Death Canyon trailhead road on the Moose-Wilson road and as you near the parking area the ranch will be to your right (north). Walk out in front of the cabins being restored and set up your spread. Don’t forget the telescope and rent one if needed from Teton Backcountry Rentals.
Biking on the Pathways
Catching the warmest part of the day, you can zoom along our pathways and almost have them all to yourself. I love that my biggest concern is running into a moose, elk or deer deciding to cross in front of me, something that keeps your awareness heighten in a good way.
Jackson Hole hosts many events in the fall that attract folks from all over the world. Things kick-off with the almost two-week Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival that leads into the Jackson Hole Film Festival (alternating years), TedxJacksonHole and then the WILD Festival, and finishing off with Sh/ftJH. On top of that you should attend the annual Fireman’s Ball, Black Tie, Blue Jeans Ski Ball and Dancing with the Jackson Hole Stars, all great fundraisers and social events.
A ritual as old as mankind kicks in each fall as the harvest begins. What was a way of life and need for sustenance to get your through the winter has evolved into a way of clean eating, communing with nature and growing the bonds of friendship over this shared experience of going after big game. Unlike my days of deer hunting in North Carolina, hiking yourself miles deep into the mountains in darkness, awaiting an opportunity for a shot and then to realize you have 300 to 400 pounds of field-dressed meat to move is a whole new paradigm. If you did not get in good enough shape in the summer, don’t worry—fall hunting will build up those ski legs and you’ll experience nature in a very heart pumping way as you try and stalk animals three times your weight. The bonus is you have currency for the social sharing of game meat as you head into the holidays.
Photos: Latham Jenkins