The latest for early May
Runoff is underway on the Snake, although fluctuating high elevation air temperatures can bring on increased visibility from Pacific Creek down to Hoback. When this visibility is around three feet, there is opportunity for surface action on skwala patterns and large, articulated streamers. This activity can last anywhere from two to four hours in the afternoon, typically from between noon and 3pm.
The tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam offers the most consistent fishing where there is significant clarity and flows from the dam standing at 2,100cfs. Water temperatures are still cold, fluctuating from between 36 degrees and 40 degrees, so top water activity is inconsistent and, when it is occurring, lasts between two to three hours and in specific slow water pieces, particularly eddies and seams.
Going subsurface offers more consistency, although you will have to provide solid presentations and get your flies right in the face of the fish you are targeting. Go with smaller midge or attractor nymph patterns with deadly perfect drifts. Streamers should be fished on floating, hover, or full sinking INT lines with slow retrieves. Small to moderate sized baitfish imitations are producing better than their larger counterparts.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Trina’s Carnage Stone, Winged Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Purple Bruces, and Rubber Legged Double Humpies.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, CDC Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jigs, Lightening Bugs, Redemption BWOs, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Jujubee Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Lil’ Kims, Chicklets, Booty Call Minnows, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silk Kitties, Booty’s Quad Bunny, and Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir have been receding and currently stand at 14,000cfs. Not a ton of clarity on the South Fork and water temps are still cool but better than we had a week ago. Fishing is respectable on the upper reach in Swan Valley and on the upper reach of the Canyon if you are willing to get down and dirty either deep sixing your nymph rigs or fishing deep sinking tips with streamers.
Rainbows are beginning to spawn on prime beds. 9 foot minimum nymph rigs are required with sufficient weight to get them down there fast even at these flows (partly due to the cold water temps, as trout are not moving to far from their positions). Egg patterns are working fine, as too are stone fly nymph imitations. Worm patterns will also perform well. Takes can be subtle, so be on the ball. Water temps range from 38 degrees to 41 degrees.
Streamer action has been inconsistent, but targeting banks, structure, riffle pools, and seam margins with 6ips to 8ips tips or 10ft lengths of T8 to T11 can get the job done. It may take several dozen casts between each take, but the payoff can be worth it. Eats have been slow, and your retrieval speed should be slow as well.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
Streamers – Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silvey Sculpins, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, and McKnight’s Home Invader.
The Green is a little off color but has cleared noticeably as the river has dropped after this latest cold spell (flows at Warren Bridge currently stand at approximately 350cfs). There is still quite a bit of dark water coming in from Horse Creek, so your best bet is to be fishing from Daniel Bridge upstream to the Lakes. Fishing is not great, but there is a chance to hook into a couple o’ three bruisers in a day.
Streamer fishing is the name of the game on just about every reach. Target banks, structure, eddies, bankside troughs, and confluence lines. Fish moderate to larger articulated patterns on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines or INT to 3ips tips. Water temps on the Green remain cold, so go with long, slow retrieves with strategically times pauses every three to four line strips.
Nymphs are working best when fished as part of a dry-dropper system or on short double rigs running four to five feet from trailing fly to line joint or indicator. Target the same water as you would with streamers, but focus on bankside troughs and confluences. There is also some action in riffle pools and tails. Nymphs should be a bit on the large side and somewhat “gaudy”.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silk Kitties, Galloup’s Boogeyman, McKnight’s Home Invader, SRA Bunnies, Booty Call Minnow, and Chicklets.
Nymphs – San Juan Worms, 20-Inchers, Nymph Formally Known as Prince, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Mopsicles, and Rubber Legged Copper Johns in red or black.