The Mid-May Report
Same story as earlier this month of the Snake. With the River is full runoff, the tailwater reach from Jackson Lake Dam down to Pacific Creek is the place to be. Flows are at 5,000cfs and the water remains substantially clearer than just about every other option in the area. Still not a lot of surface activity, but the action on nymphs and streamers is good and getting better as water temperatures continue to warm into the mid-40s.
Eddies and riffle are providing the most production on nymph rigs. Most takes are occurring at the head of primary current lines. Going with a standard 9ft leader from line to trailing fly is the best way to go.
Streamer fishing remains consistent and has been best at the dam spillway and on the lower section of the tailwater reach from Cattleman’s down to Pacific Creek. The spillway will require a fast sinking tip in the T-8 to T-11 range. Further downstream floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines have been most productive. Target banks and structure and go with streamers that are moderately sized and light in color.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, Hotwire Princes, Copper Johns in red or black, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Stalcup’s RS-2.
Streamers – Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Muddy Buddies, Rickard’s Seal Bugger, and Clouser Minnows.
Just like the Snake, we have the same old story on the South Fork. Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at 16,000cfs and visibility is in the three foot (on the upper reach) to two foot (on the Canyon and lower reach) range. Perhaps this is not enough for consistent dry fly fishing, but the subsurface action on nymphs and streamers has been pretty solid and is getting better.
Nymphing has been best in riffles and riffles pools, seams, and recirculating eddies. Double and triple nymph rigs that are nine to ten feet in length will get you where you need to be. Split shot can help from time-to-time. Going a bit shorter – six to seven feet – will work in side channels and holding water with slower current speeds. Swinging your nymph rig into the dangle with caddis pupa imitations is working in places as caddis emerger (they are doing so sporadically but throughout the day).
Streamers are not working near as well as nymphs but are getting into trout (and some large ones) when fished along banks, structure, riffles pools, and the tail of seams. Moderate to fast retrieves on 3ips to 6ips tips or 10 feet of T-8 or T-11 is producing best. And don’t be Afraid to go big with your patterns. Action has been better mid-day (say 10am to 3pm) than it has earlier or later.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Mercer’s Glass Tail Caddis, Sanchez’s Glasshouse Caddis.
Streamers – Sundell’s Nightfire, McKnight’s Home Invader, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Beldar Buggers, and Booty Call Minnows.
Fishing on the Henry’s Fork has been best on the lower reaches From Warm River down to Chester and in Box Canyon. Caddis are the dominant bugs on the water and salmon flies are starting to appear below Warm River. Still not a lot of surface action but most production has been coming on caddis imitations fished along banks and in the tail of riffles. Some action is also occurring on larger attractors, although there is still quite a bit of inconsistency.
The nymph fishing has been quite good either on standard double nymph rigs or dry-dropper rigs. Fish is best on stonefly imitations and caddis pupa imitations as well as general attractor nymphs that are suggestive of baetis, PMDs, and March browns. Fish these along banks, structure, on seams, and in riffles.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Elk Hair Caddis, Tent Wing Caddis, X Caddis, Peacock Caddis, CDC Wing Midges, Renegades, and Furimsky BDEs.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Rubber Legged Soft Hackle Princes, Bird of Prey, Taylor’s Gut Instinct Caddis, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Soft Hackles, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Copper Johns in red, black, or olive.