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Fishing Flat Creek always a challenge
Even to the valley’s most committed and competent anglers, fishing Flat Creek can make for a tough outing.
By Taylor Williams, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: August 15, 2012
Wyoming’s first and only waterway exclusively reserved for fly-fishing, Flat Creek winds through the National Elk Refuge like a serpent through reeds, its waters equally prone to laziness and activity.
Fishing in the creek’s fabled stretches — located just north of town — commenced Aug. 1 and continues through October.
One of Wyoming’s few catch-and-release fisheries, Flat Creek has already attracted scores of fishermen from around the region this year.
Most are drawn to the intellectual challenge of matching wits with some pretty smart fish, said Jack Dennis Outdoors outfitting manager Bruce Smithhammer.
“It’s a quality over quantity fishery,” Smithhammer said. “The few fish you do catch you have to work for. But for the fisherman who pays attention to detail and loves a challenge, it’s perfect.”
Unlike most of the valley’s fly-fishing waters, Flat Creek isn’t an “attractor fishery” where a precise insect match isn’t critical to the angler’s success.
On Flat Creek, casters must pay close attention to insect activity in an attempt to “match the hatch,” Smithhammer said.
The picky fish can discern little clues, like a dead mayfly’s wings lying flat on the water, that put them off and heighten the technical challenge.
“In some ways, it’s more akin to hunting,” Smithhammer said. “There’s a lot of stealth and stalking involved. The water is very clear, and the presentation of the fly is really important.”
A.J. DeRosa, a longtime fishing guide in the valley, said the technical demands Flat Creek presents are key to its appeal to fly-fishermen.
“It’s a much more intimate venue,” he said. “It’s somewhere I can go for a few hours and expect a good but challenging fishing experience.”