Happy Easter Dammit!
Surface water temps are hitting 48 degrees and this means that skwalas are starting to come out in a big way. The down side is that flow from Jackson Lake Dam are ramping up and currently stand at 2,100cfs.. Tributaries are on the rise as well. We are not in full runoff yet but it will be happening soon. Nonetheless, if you hit the right water at the right time – roughly noon to 5pm – the surface action with moderately sized attractors can be more than respectable. There is around three feet of visibility. That will probably last another few days or so. The best water to target is banks and structure with slow to moderate current speeds, the head of riffles, and – more than anything – side channels and spring confluences with slow to moderate current speeds. Midge and Capnia patterns are also working well in side channel water.
Streamer fishing is producing and is one of the only games in town in the morning hours until noon or so. Moderate sized patterns are working best. There can be good action on larger articulated patterns from time to time. Fish these on INT to 3ips tips and vary retrieval speeds and pause timing/cadence significantly. Focus on what is producing and stick with it throughout the day. Again, runoff is coming, so the streamer bite will slow substantially.
Once runoff hits, the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam will be the name of the game and the only reach that will remain clear over the next couple of months.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanut, Winged Peanut, Chubby Chernobyl, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Furimsky BDEs, Mating Midges, CDC Wing Midge Emergers, Parachute Midges, and Griffith Gnats.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, CDC Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jigs, Hare’s Ear Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Mopsicle, Redemption BWOs, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Jujubee Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Lil’ Kims, Chicklets, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow Booty Call Minnows, Bow River Buggers, Strung-Out Leeches, Galloup’s Boogeyman, and Booty’s Quad Bunny.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are currently at 18,000cfs and continue to ramp up. A fair amount of discoloration with continuing increased releases but with periods of relaxation there is increased clarity and fishing can be at least respectable. Water temps remain cold – 38 degrees on average – so the best action is in a tight three to four hour period from around noon until 3pm to 4pm, particularly on the Swan Valley reach where there is noticeable better visibility compared to the Canyon or lower sections below Byington. Keep in mind that we have caught fish in higher flows than what we are currently experiencing. We just need more clarity in a more consistent matter.
Nymphing is gets you into more fish throughout the day using double or triple rigs in the nine to eleven foot range from line to trailer. Target banks with slow to moderate current speeds, riffle pools, and the margins of seams. The upper reach is the best place to be with nymph rigs by far and the best action is from the Dam down to the confluence with Palisades Creek.
Streamer fishing has taken a step back but is still worthwhile with larger to moderately sized patterns fished on 3ips to 6ips tips. Go with slow retrieves in slower currents and faster retrieves in faster currents. It is worthwhile to put significant pause time before the initial retrieve and then a solid two to three count a couple of times after several retrieves. Don’t expect a ton of action, but there is enough from time to time to keep most interested.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Film Critics, Booty’s BWO Emerger, CDC Wing Midge Emergers, Parachute Midges, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and Renegades.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns in red or black, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Redemption BWOs, Zebra Midges, Dorsey’s Mercury Midges, and Day-2 Midge Pupas.
Streamers – Keller’s Nightmare, Sundell’s Night Fire, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silvey Sculpins, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Lite Brite Zonkers, Beldar Buggers, and J.J. Specials.
Green and New Fork Rivers
Flows are increasing on both the Green and the New Fork and both are losing clarity, although this varies by reach. The upper New Fork above Pine Creek has noticeably more clarity than the sections running from the Airport down to the confluence. The Green has limited clarity below Horse Creek but only a glacial tinge above. All reaches are producing, but action is not necessarily great. Those reaches with more clarity are fishing best.
Streamers are your best bet with both moderate sized and larger, articulated pattern working well. The best water to target is banks, structure and confluence seams. Hit these as tight as possible using floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range and alternate between slow and rapid retrieves with hesitations in your strips every now and then.
Nymphing is a good second choice but flows are still relatively low so go with lightly weighted patterns and short tippets – six feet from indicator to trailing fly at most. Fishing a dry-dropper rig will work just as well. Target banks, structure, bankside troughs, riffle margins, and seams.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Prince Nymphs, Biot Bugs, Copper Johns in red or olive, and Psycho Princes.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Keller’s Nightmare, Silvey’s Sculpin, Sundell’s Nightfire, Chicklets, Kreelux, and Booty Call Minnows.