It Finally Feels Like Autumn (with the Fishing to Match)
Winter flows from Jackson Lake dam are now stable and the fishing has had a noticeable uptick since a week and a half ago. Nonetheless, there is still a fair amount of variability regarding time-of-day action. Some days it seems to be squarely during the morning/early hours from approximately 9:30am until 1:30pm (especially on the lower river from Astoria down to Sheep Gulch). Other days, the action is around 11am until well after 3:30pm. No matter when the sweet spot is, the most productive reaches have been on the lower sections from Wilson Bridge down to Sheep Gulch.
PMDs are still about, as are intermittent emergences of October caddis. BWOs and mahogany duns will be present on those days with cool, cloudy, and somewhat wet weather. Target banks with slow to moderate currents, shallow riffles, the margins of riffles pool currents, and seams (the latter particularly in the afternoon). Side channels are also offering good action with BWO and mahogany emergent patterns.
Double and triple nymph rigs have been performing in really consistent fashion from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. They shine in morning hours and keep producing throughout the afternoon. Target deeper banks and riffle pools, submerged structure, and the margin of seams. Takes can be subtle, so be on the ball with your hook set.
Streamer fishing remains inconsistent but there is a noticeable difference (uptick) in activity when there are clouds and precipitation. Small to moderate imitations are producing better than larger, articulated flies (but don’t refrain from using the latter). Fish these with floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines and target banks, structure, bankside troughs, and the margin of riffle pools with slow to moderate retrieval speeds.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanut, Micro Peanut, Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Copper Haze, Comapraduns, Sparkle PMDs, Booty’s PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Emergers, Snowshoe Duns, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Rubber Legged Soft Hackle Princes, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Translucent Sofy Hackle Jigs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph.
Streamers – Teller’s Nightmare, McKnight’s Home Invader, Sculpzillas, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, and Beldar Buggers.
A little uptick in the fishing over the past week as flows from Palisades Reservoir have ramped down to approximately 5,300cfs. Good fishing some days, respectable most others. Don’t expect anything blockbuster, but don’t be surprised if you come off the water smiling. This is the case for every reach from the dam down to Lorenzo.
Mutant stones are for the most part are finished, as are most terrestrials. PMDs, mahogany duns, and BWOs will be found most days, the latter two on cooler, wetter days. October caddis are also present, especially on the lower reaches from Wolf Eddy down to Menan and on the upper reach in Swan Valley.
Dry fly action is inconsistent but can be counted on with a little more probability on days with clouds and precipitation with BWO and mahogany imitations in riffles, seams, on flats, and on shallow banks with slow to moderate currents. Larger attractor patterns can work on grabby fish throughout the day when fished along banks, structure, bankside troughs, and on the current margins of eddies, seams, and riffles.
Nymphing has been working best of all, especially with smaller midge, blue-winged olive, and trico imitations. Lean towards olive hues and go with #16 to #18. Fish these in tandem with larger stonefly and caddis imitations. Target the head of riffles, seams, and inflow currents in back channels. Dry-dropper rigs are working in the same water as well as bankside troughs and shallow banks with slow currents.
Streamer fishing is as inconsistent as it has been since spring. Some good days here and there, mostly OK or decent days. Go with moderate to large patterns and fish them tight to structure, banks, and bankside troughs. Riffle pools will also produce from time to time.
Dry flies – J-Slams, Chubby Chernobyls, Snake River Water Walkers, Thunder Thighs Hopper (Pink), Henrysville Specials, Tent-Wing Caddis, Stimulators, Parachute Extended Body BWO and Mahogany Duns, and Booty’s BWO and Mahogany Emergers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Bruised Mays, BWO Redemption Nymph, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Zebra Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Baby Bunnies, J.J. Specials, Bow River Buggers, Booty Call Minnows, and Chicklets.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake –Lewis is starting to come into its own for autumn fishing with decent to good action on shallow to moderate depth flats for lake trout and drop-offs for both lakers and brown trout. The channel is fishing well on the lower end (below Jumping Rock) and is starting to see a respectable push of fish on the upper channel and near the high gradient reach. Floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines are working foot both species. Focus on moderate speed retrieves with slight pauses and hesitations after several strips. Small to moderate sized baitfish imitations are working best.
Yellowstone Lake - Decent fishing on the flats of West Thumb for cruising cutties, but not necessarily anything off the charts. The best fishing has been from around 10am until around 4 or 5pm. Smallish baitfish imitations – Clousers, Seal Buggers, Fruit Roll-Ups – are working best with a variety of retrieves on floating, hover, or intermediate sinking lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. It’s possible to get into some lake trout as well with the same tackle.
Snake River – Good fishing for resident cutthroat with dry flies in a tight window of 11am until 2pm in riffle pools, eddies, seams, and along structure. Dry-droppers and lightly weighted double nymphs working throughout the day, but still performing best in the same window as surface patterns. Streamers are working best when fished in riffle pools and along structure, and little elsewhere. And yes, streamers are picking up a solid number of browns that have started to move up from Jackson Lake. A tad bit early, but just a tad.