Things are Picking Up
The Snake is in runoff but there is crystal clear water on the tailwater reach from Jackson Lake Dam to Pacific Creek, and this is the place to be. Water temps are still cool up there – topping out at 41 degrees most days – but this is more than enough to offer decent action most days.
Midges are on the surface and you will observe some surface feeding activity by trout on the upper half of this reach above Cattleman’s. It is sporadic at best. Going subsurface with nymph rigs will produce more action. Double nymph rigs are producing best in deep eddies, but you may have to go fairly deep and use some split-shot. Seams are also working.
Streamer fishing is still offering the most consistent production throughout the day. The action has been best in the spillway below the dam and on the lower section from Oxbow Bend down to the Pacific Creek confluence. Going deep with T-8 sinking tips and using slow retrieves and smaller baitfish imitations below in the spillway is working best. Giving a six to eight second countdown before retrieval might be required. Below Oxbow Bend, hover lines, INT sinking lines, and INT sinking tips are working best. Use slow retrieves and small to moderate patterns.
Dry Flies – CDC Wing Midges, Parachute Midges, Furimsky BDEs, and Parachute Adams.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or black, Zebra Midges, Stalcup’s RS-2, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Clouser Minnows, Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Rickards’ Seal Buggers, Booty Call Minnows, and Kreelux.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir are at approximately 14,100 cfs. The South Fork is running green at the moment with increasing runoff but has approximately two and a half feet of visibility on the upper reach and around a foot and a half to two feet in the Canyon. That may not be enough clarity for consistent top water action, but it is more than enough for subsurface patterns. The upper reach in Swan Valley is offering the best fishing at the moment, with the Canyon a close second.
Double and triple nymph rigs in the eight to ten foot depth range are producing in riffles, eddies, seams, and along banks with moderate flows. These can be shortened to the four to six foot depth range in shallower riffles and seams. Larger nymph patterns are producing better than smaller ones.
Streamers are fishing well on just about every reach. Go with larger patterns and fish them along banks, structure, seam margins, and in riffle pools and confluence lines. Sinking tips in the 3ips to 6 ips range, as well as intermediate sinking lines, are the best way to go. Moderate to fast retrieves are working best, although varying retrieval speeds and stripping lengths can produce just as well at times.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, San Juan Worms, Rubber Legged Flashback Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Glo-Bugs, and Veiled Eggs.
Streamers – Galloup’s Zoo Cougar, Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Sundell’s Night Fire, Sundell’s Moss Fire, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Strung-out Leeches, and J.J. Specials.
The best action on the Henry’s has been on the lower reaches from Warm River down to Chester. Caddis have been active and we are starting to see the first salmon flies of the year (not a lot, but wait another week or so). Not a lot of surface action at the moment, yet it is still enough to keep most people interested. If you want to go top water, your best is to use caddis, chironomid, and larger attractor patterns in riffles, seams, and flats. Surface activity has been best in the afternoon hours from approximately 1:30 pm until dusk.
Nymphing has been working throughout the day and has been producing best in riffles, seams, and along banks and structure. Stonefly nymphs have been the most productive patterns, which makes sense as salmon flies become more active. Caddis imitations are a close second, particularly soft hackle patterns swung deep (three to four inches) below the surface. Baetis and attractor nymphs will also produce.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Orange Crushes, Elk Hair Caddis, Tent Wing Caddis, Mathews’ Sparkle Caddis, Cole’s U-Con, CDC Wing Midges, Renegades, and Furimsky BDEs.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Rubber Legged Soft Hackle Princes, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Soft Hackles, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Copper Johns in red, black, or olive.