The South Fork Continues to Impress. But Go Small
Good to solid surface action continues on just about every reach of the Snake as PMDs continue to emerge after 11am. Grasshopper and carpenter ant are also about, and there more Claassenia stoneflies. The only inconsistency is the time of day when the best action is. There are grabby fish in the early morning hours, but the heart of top-water activity is from 9am to 1pm some days, while other days it might be from 11am to 2:30. Expect a fair to decent amount of action after 3pm, but no necessarily a lot of size. Water temps are peaking on the upper reach at around 66 degrees after 4pm.
Dry flies, tandem dry rigs, and dry-dropper rigs are producing in a wide variety of holding water types. Most prominent have been banks and structure with slow to moderate currents, riffle pools and heads, seams, and side channels. PMD imitations fished in riffle pools (even those with substantial depth and current speeds) are very much the way to go in the afternoon hours.
Streamers are working best on the upper reaches from Pacific Creek down to Wilson Bridge. Moderately sized baitfish imitations are outperforming larger articulated patterns at the moment. Fish them on floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range and target banks, structure, bankside troughs, riffle pools, and confluences. Pausing before initial retrieve and spaced hesitations between line strips seems to be making the difference.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Snake river Water Walkers, Purple Bruces, Parachute Hoppers, Grand Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Purple Hazes, Snowshoe Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Copper Johns in red or copper, and Lightening Bugs.
Streamers – Strolis’ Head Banger Sculpin, Booty’s Quad Bunny, SRA Bunnies, McKnight’s Home Invader, Booty Call Minnows, Lil’ Kims, Bow River Buggers, J.J. Specials, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Chicklets, and Strung-Out Leeches.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at around 8,700cfs and water temps remain consistent at between 56 and 60 degress throughout the day. PMDs are the prime bug on the water, appearing at around 11am and waning around 4pm. Grasshopper are the primary terrestrial and are abundant on the lower reach below Byington.. Beetles and carpenter ants are present as well. To top it off, we are starting to see a smattering of mutant stones throughout the Canyon.
Large to moderate sized attractors and hopper patterns will work throughout the day. They can be one of the best bets in the morning (along with caddis patterns imitating the one bug that is hatching in intermittently before 10am) when grabby fish are about. Fish these with dropper nymphs and target banks, bankside troughs, flats, the head of seams, and riffle current margins.
Mayfly imitations are working best of all after 11am. Fishing tandem rigs in riffles, seams, eddies, flats, bankside troughs, and banks with moderate depths and slow to moderate current speeds can get you into more than respectable numbers and size.
Streamers are working best when fished in the top two feet of the water column on floating or initermediate sinking lines, or tips in the INT to 3ips range. Both large and moderately size patterns are working. Bright is outperforming dark. Target banks, structure, riffle pools, and eddy current margins and go with moderate to fast retrieve (consistent line strips matter. Easy up on any pauses or hesitations).
Keep in mind that we are starting to see our first bit of suspended vegetation throughout the water column. Not a lot of it yetyet, but it will likely intensify in the coming weeks. Be vigilant with your riggings and check them every now and then to see if any grabbed a holdof the green stuff. It is obviously easier to tell with smaller patterns than with larger ones.
Dry flies – J-Slams, Barrett’s Ant, Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Amy’s Ant, Whitlock Hoppers, J-Dave’s Hopper, Parachute Hoppers, Parasol Ants, Sparkle Ants, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMD and Mahogany Duns, Parawulffs, Purple Haze, Comparaduns, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Redemption PMDs, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Lightening Bugs, and Rainbow Warriors.
Streamers - Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Booty’s Quad Bunny, B-52s, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Baby Seals, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Gongas.
PMDs dominate the scene on all reaches of the Salt River at the moment (emerging around 10am and waning after 3pm). Tricos make a solid appearance in a tight window between 11:30am and 1:30pm. Crane flies are around in the morning as well. All of this adds up to a typical mid/late summer experience on the Salt.
Fishing has been most active after 10am with the best action coming between noon and 3pm. Trico imitations are getting into fish in eddy pools and slow current confluences. PMD imitations and small to moderately size attractor/terrestrial pattern are taking larger fish in the afternoon when fished in bankside troughs and tight to banks and structure with fast to moderate current speeds. The largest trout are being found on the upper reaches upstream of Freedom.
Nymphs are performing OK but are doing best as part of a dry-dropper rig when fished in riffles and larger recirculating eddies. Smaller crane fly larvae imitations are outshining most other nymphs.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Micro Peanuts, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, AuSable Wulffs, Film Critics, Air-Flo Tricos, and Parachute Tricos.
Nymphs – Mopscicles, Translucent Crane Larvae, Copper Johns in red or olive, Lightening Bugs, Hares Ear Nymphs, and Psycho Princes.
Its mid-August and the fishing is a bit more challenging on Flat Creek. But its Flat Creek! It’s supposed to be challenging. If you want easy fishing, let us take you to the South Fork.
As has been the case the past two weeks, PMDs and caddis have been around primarily in the mid-day hours from around 9am until around 2pm. Crane flies are present and their larva imitations are working as good as anything. And there are a lot more terrestrial – think grasshoppers, beetles, and carpenter ants. More diversity in terms of the imitations you can use. There are more anglers, too.
Nymph droppers and lightly weighted double rigs are still the name of the game most days. Days with cloud cover and some precipitation, however, are producing very good top-water action, at least for a couple hours but sometimes for a few. Whichever way you go, target undercut banks, submerged structure, inside turns of riffles, and eddy current margins. As is typical this time of year, the morning hours and the later evening hours (after 7pm) have been best for surface action. Except when we have clouds and rain in between those time periods. Then all hell can break loose.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Film Critics, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Thorax PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Q’s Loop Wing Cripple, CDC Wing Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Will’s Crane Fly Perfection, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Bear’s No Hackle Flying Ant, Parachute Hoppers, Whitlock Hoppers, and Foam Ants.
Nymphs – Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Beadtail Caddis Pupa, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Psycho Princes, Bruised Mays, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear Nymphs, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges, Translucent Crane Larva, and Mopscicles.