Backpacking to Amazing Fishing

By Wilderness Adventures July 24, 2013

We have emerged from the backcountry covered in dirt and glory after two wildly successful backpacking adventures. We are on our way back to Jackson to get clean and play in the pools at the Rec Center before our float trip on the Snake tomorrow. The guys can hardly contain their excitement.


After our days of training in Idaho, we were prepared to hunt down some backcountry trout. We rose early on July 19 for a scenic sunrise drive along the Tetons, passing herds of bison along the way. We curved east over the Togwotee Pass toward Dubois, WY where we stopped briefly to organize our gear before we hit the trail. The road to the trailhead led us along painted hills and rugged terrain surrounding pristine mountain lakes. We continue higher into the Wind River Range until we arrived at our trailhead in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness. The hike was arduous, but Dayton had us laughing throughout the entire climb with his hilarious remarks. Stefan led the pack on our march up the trail. We stopped to admire a rushing waterfall where Andrew took some excellent photos. Halfway up the trail we had a well-earned lunch before continuing toward our destination, a hidden valley at the base of Bomber Falls. As we made our final turn, the meadow and stream opened up before us, and we all were thrilled to have reached our campsite. The fishing, and catching, soon began. Our valley was not frequented by anglers, so the beautifully colored brook trout were not wise to our tricks. Stefan and Oliver explored upriver while Aran and Dayton moved downstream, discovering pools full of fish. Andrew found a great spot in the meadow, while Teddy fished in a deep pool formed by downed trees. After an afternoon of fishing and a delicious dinner of jambalaya, we settled in for a night’s rest before another day of fishing.


The next day, we explored farther afield, stumbling upon excellent eddies and pools to find fish. Oliver and Stefan hauled in tons of fish while Andrew reeled in a fat brookie that we added to the menu for dinner. Aran and Dayton helped gut and clean the fish by the creek before we threw them in the frying pan for a tasty appetizer. We then dined on delicious burritos before heading to bed. The next morning, we gathered our gear and headed back onto the trail with Oliver at the lead. As the sun rose, we descended from the mountains back to our dependable van and Uhaul. Motoring through Dubois, we cruised back east towards the Teton Wilderness. 


That afternoon we found ourselves near the top of the pass, preparing for our next backcountry adventure. Aran and Teddy helped gather wood for a blazing campfire over which we roasted wonderfully sticky s’mores. The next morning, we arrived at Brooks Lake and began our trek toward the Jade Lakes. We marched past horse packers and old veteran fishermen on our way into the backcountry. Aran was our fearless leader on the hike, scouting out the trail. Higher and higher we climbed until we rounded a bend and finally understood why they were called the Jade Lakes. Before us stretched Lower Jade in breathtaking shades of Kelly and emerald greens. Oliver and Teddy rushed to the shore, amazed by the brilliantly colored water. As the group hiked along the shores to our campsite, the boys called out to each other, spotting large trout cruising through the shallows. After quickly setting up camp, we rushed back to the water. Stefan and Oliver made laps of the lake, snagging trout on streamers. Andrew and Dayton favored dry flies, marveling at the sight of trout grabbing flies in the crystal clear green water. While we had caught many brook trout in the Winds, at Jade Lake the cutthroat trout were very large and plentiful. Each catch was a prize. That night we watched a dazzling full moon rise over the mountains and went to bed excited for another day of fishing. The next day was bright and clear and again the fish were rising. We felt as if we’d stumbled on a legendary hidden fishing spot. At the end of the trip, we were expert backcountry fisherman. The float on the Snake River tomorrow will be the culmination of our trip. It has been a fantastic adventure and a delight fishing, hiking, and camping with the guys. And we can assure you, most of those fish tales they will tell you are true!