February in the 40s again
The Climate Prediction Center's forecast for this February looks eerily similar to what we have been having over the past several years. air temperatures are suppose to be in the 40s for the most part. This makes for some solid fishing on the Snake and the South Fork. But could this now be another year when we see water temperatures in the high 60s in August? Ominous indeed. nonetheless, we won't know what is going to happen until the spring forecast comes in. That could make the difference.
Regardless, lets enjoy what we have now. Check out the latest report below -
Still beating the same drum over the past month or so. Variable temperatures but little by way of overnight lows below zero is keeping the river free of ice flow. In fact, the early February forecast is for temps to peak in the low to mid-40s most days. This means lots of open water. Trout remain podded up in eddies and backchannel seams and feeding is active from about 11am until dusk when water temperatures cooperate. If these temps are above 36 degrees, expect fish to eat in a respectable manner. Riffles are also worth hitting, although they are not coming into play until 1pm or so most days.
Midges remain present and give fly fishers the chance at top-water action in the afternoon. Nymphing is still producing throughout the day in riffles, seams, and eddies. However, a case can be made that streamers are probably producing equally well if not better below the surface. Use a floating line, hover line, or intermediate sinking tip in riffles and seams and backchannels with minimal flows.
Dry flies – Parachute Midges, CDC Wing Midges, Air-Flo Tricos, Parachute Midge Emergers, Furimisky BDEs, and Griffith Gnats.
Nymphs – Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Rojo Midges, Mercer’s Zebra Midgling, and Copper Johns in red or black.
Streamers – Fruit Roll Ups, Rickards’ Seal Buggers, J.J. Specials, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnnow, and Booty Call Minnows.
The South Fork is fishing must the same as it has over the past couple of months. Still decent to good surface action on midges, particularly midge cluster patterns and adults that are given some movement to imitate hovering prey. The top-water action is still best on the lower reaches from Heise down to Lorenzo. It is almost strictly an afternoon affair. Target seams, deep riffle tailouts, and the current margin of dead-water channels. Slow riffle tailouts are producing with midge adults and clusters on the upper reaches in Swan Valley.
Small and mid-sized streamers continue to work well in riffles and seams when retrieved slowly on floating lines. Nymphing is still producing more consistenly throughout the day. Double/triple nymph rigs of four to six feet in length from line-leader joint to trailer is the best way to go. A dry-dropper with a tippet length of two tfeet can also produce in shallower water. Chironomid imitations are the name of the game. Hit eddies, seams, and riffle tailouts and work deliberately with several casts through a given piece of water.
Dry flies - Parachute Midges, CDC Wing Midges, Griffith Gnats, Renegades, Furimisky BDEs, and Krystal Wing Midges.
Nymphs – Flashback Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackle Princes, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge, RS-2s, and Mercer’s Midgling.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Booty Call Minnows, Murphy’s Bling Minnow, Strung-out Leeches and Krystal Buggers.