My Favorite Month is Right Around the Corner
Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are down to 741cfs and the Snake is beginning to get in shape for late autumn fishing. Most of the action is now shifting downstream, with the more consistent production occurring from Wilson Bridge down to Sheep Gulch. Claassenia stoneflies and grasshoppers are starting to wane noticeably. However, PMDs are still about and we are starting to see the most mahogany duns so far this season. October caddis are also starting to appear in bits and pieces. And don’t be surprised to see a few Hecubas as well.
The best top-water action is occurring in typical autumn places – primarily the head of riffles, seams, bankside troughs, and banks with slow to moderate currents. Moderate to smaller sized mayfly and caddis patterns (#12 to #18) are performing best. Tandem rigs with an emergent trailer are a good way to go. Larger attractor patterns will certainly working from time to time, but use them mostly when action slows a bit and you are on the search for grabby fish. It is still good to use a mayfly or caddis in combo with and attractor just to cover your bases.
Nymphs are working best as part of a dry-dropper rig in the same water as single or tandem dry rigs. Go with two to three feet of dropper tippet. Double/triple nymph rigs are getting it done from South Park Bridge down to West Table. Go with six to eight feet of leader from line or indicator to the trailing fly and target banks with sufficient depth and moderate currents, the lower half of riffle pools, and eddies.
Streamers are FINALLY starting to get into fish in a more consistent fashion. Nothing off the charts by any means, but certainly a noticeable difference from what we have experienced over the past few weeks. Target banks, the tail of riffle pools, bankside troughs, and the seams of currentless back channels. Intermediate sinking lines and sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range are working best. No matter what line you use, go with slow to moderate retrieves and hesitate with long pauses from time to time. Don’t be shy with your strip set. Takes have been aggressive.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Parachute Hares Ears, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Tilt-Wing PMDs, AuSable Wulffs, Royal Wulffs, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Emergers, Quigley Cripples, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, and Stimulators.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kafmann’s Brown Stone, Lightening Bugs, Copper John’s in red or olive, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Chamois Caddis, and Mercer’s Bead Tail Caddis.
Streamers – Silvey’s Sculpin, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Keller’s Nightmare, Chicklets, Booty Call Minnows, Beldar Buggers, and Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are on the drop and currently stand at approximately 6.4000 cfs. The algae bloom on the upper reaches is still in effect but is not necessarily putting a damper on the possibilities of a respectable/good day. Being focused and working hard (the same as it has been for many of the past several weeks) will get you into fish).
PMDs are still about, as are a smattering of mutant stones. Mahogany Duns will also be around on those days with cloudy weather and a bit of precipitation. As on the Snake, October caddis are starting to appear, especially on the upper reaches in Swan Valley and the upper Canyon. The best dry fly action has been on the lower reaches, particularly from Wolf eddy down to Lorenzo. Riffles are providing production in the afternoon hours – approximately 11am until around 2pm to 3pm – with mayfly imitation. Flats will do the same mid-afternoon. Seams and eddies can be good but are not near as consistent. Larger stonefly, hopper, and attractor patterns will work along banks and structure, but this has been inconsistent as well.
Nymphing offers the best action on just about every reach. Double/triple rigs are fishing best in just about every piece of holding water and will produce throughout the day better than any other type of approach. Dry-droppers will work from time-to-time, but are producing best during the afternoon hours in riffles, seams, eddies, flats, and side channels.
Streamer fishing remains inconsistent but is certainly producing better on the lower reaches from Kelly’s Island down to Lorenzo. Banks, structure, riffle pools, and the tailout of seams are the best water to target. Interestingly, the top foot and the lower half of the water column are completely outperforming action in between. Obviously, this means going with floating and intermediate sinking lines and intermediate sinking tips or T-8 to T-11 is working best. Slow retrieves are key.
Dry flies – Kasey’s Creature, J-Slams, Barrett’s Ant, Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs & Mahogany Duns, AuSable Wullfs, Comparaduns, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s PMD Mahogany Emergers, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, 20-Inchers, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, San Juan Worms, Duracells. Peach Fuzz Jigs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Zebra Midges, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, SRA Double Bunnies, Kreelux, Slump Busters, Booty Call Minnows, and Tequillies.
Flows on the Salt have been pretty steady at around 550cfs. Fishing has been best with dry-droppers and tandem dry rigs. Streamer fishing, like just about everywhere in the region, has been inconsistent. Whether going with a dry-dropper gig or tandem dries, expect to target grabby fish early in the day. Fishing picks up around 11am and gets better right through the afternoon. You will not notice too much of a slow down until around 5pm or so.
Dropper nymphs are working best in recirculating eddies (going deep with four to five feet of tippet is the way to go), banks with moderate depths, and the tailouts and margins of riffles. Single and tandem dries are performing best in the afternoon hours in riffles, bankside troughs, seams, and the margins of recirculating eddies. Emergent patterns are taking the lion’s share of surface eats.
Keep in mind that getting into the big browns coming out of Palisades Reservoir, or most larger trout, is a hit-or-miss proposition at the moment. But 15” to 16” specimens of both species is completely in the cards. Who the hell is going to argue with that?
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Micro Peanuts, Mary Kays, Parachute Extended Body Mahoganies, BWOs, and Cahills, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, and Air-Flo Tricos.
Nymphs – Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges, and Mercer’s Zebra Midgling.
Streamers – Rickard’s Seal Buggers, Fruit Roll-Ups, Woolley Buggers in rust, olive or black, and Krystal Buggers.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake – Not a ton of swarming lake trout on the flats yet but there are still a fair amount of cruisers around, making fishing with floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines and baitfish imitations quite effective. You should see them throughout the day. Drop-offs are a good second choice as a target. The channel is working fishing as browns are just now starting to move in. However, they are not there in the numbers we will see in the next couple of weeks.
Yellowstone Lake – West Thumb has been offering decent to good fishing over the past month with baitfish, damsel, and dragon fly imitations. Most of the action is occurring with cutthroats on flats with depths in the four to eight foot range. Lake trout can be picked up in shallower flats. Go with floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines and slow, steady retrieves (one to two foot strips).