Ending September on a high note. At least on most of our waters.
Flows have ramped down from Jackson Lake Dam and we are at a sustained release of 550cfs for the immediate future. During the ramp down, there was decent to downright good action on dries, nymphs, and streamers on those days with cloud cover and precipitation. At the current levels (and flows will be slowly receding with tributary recession throughout the next couple of months), the best plan of action is to fish small to moderately sized dry attractors as well as imitations of the standard bugs for this time of year – PMDs, mahogany duns, Hecubas, and October caddis – through bankside troughs, riffles and riffle pools, side channels seams, and side channel pools near main channels. Lean towards tandem surface rigs (dun and emerger combos) and #10 to #12 attractors.
Nymph rigs are working very well on the Canyon reaches below South Park Bridge with short leader lengths in the five to six foot range from trailing fly to line/suspension device when targeting ledge rock pools, outer current margin of riffles, and submerged structure. Dry-dropper rigs are working on the Canyon reaches but also performing well on the mid-reaches from Moose down to South Park. On this part of the river, target riffles, bankside troughs, and seams.
Streamer fishing has turned on in a big way and is the best it has been since late August. Floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines, as well as sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range, are working best. Target banks, submerged structure, bankside troughs, riffles pools, and the slow currents of seam margins. Both large and moderate sized patterns are producing. The one bit of inconsistency with streamers is the retrieve. Some days it is slow strips and timed hesitations. Other days it is fast retrieves with long timed hesitations. Other days it is a moderate line strips with a downstream retrieve imitating a fleeing baitfish. Vary things up as much as you can and find the presentation that works on a particular day.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays,
Nymphs – Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs,
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Sundells Night Fire, Strolis’ Head Banger Sculpin, Booty’s Quad Bunny, SRA Bunnies, McCune Sculpins, Booty Call Minnows, Arums Lil’ Kim, Strung-Out Leeches.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir are at just under 4,000cfs. The best action has been on the lower reaches from Cottonwood down to Menan where rainbows and cutties have been active and brown are on their spawning run. PMDs are prevalent as are October caddis and mahogany duns. There is also a fair amount of grasshopper around still. On sunny days, surface feeding is limited and most production is coming on larger attractor patterns. Expect a fair amount of inconsistency. Cooler, wetter days can produce with mahogany, PMD, BWO, and larger caddis imitations in riffles, eddies, seams, and banks with slow to moderate current speeds.
Nymphing has been the most productive manner of fishing over the past week or so and this is the case on every section of water. Short leaders in the five to seven foot range from trailing fly line/suspension device on double/triple nymphs rigs are producing along banks, eddy seams, and in riffles. Dry-dropper rigs are also producing on flats, riffles, and in side channels.
Streamers are producing in decent fashion but with inconsistency on most reaches except for the lower river below Byington where they can be go-to at times. Slow retrieves is the name of the game for moderately sized patterns fished on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines. Target banks, submerged structure, riffles pools, and flats. Flat and the dropoff margin of flats are a particular good target on the lower reaches from Wolf Eddy down to Lorenzo.
Dry flies – J-Slams, Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Tent-Wing Caddis, Stimulators, Comparaduns, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s DL Mahogany, PMD, and BWO Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Code Reds, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, olive, or copper, Mini Mopscicles, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, and Zebra Midges.
Streamers – Kreelux, Ornaments, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Barely Legal, Sculpzillas, Galloup’s Mini Dungeons, J.J. Specials, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone River – Think BWOs, minute caddis, and mahogany duns, especially on cooler and wetter days and in the late morning to mid-afternoon hours. There is decent to very good surface action with small mayfly and caddis imitations in riffles pools, riffle shelves, and on seams. Nymphs – primarily mayfly nymphs and caddis larva imitations are working in shallow riffles and seams and along bankside troughs water when fished with two to three feet of tippet whether fishing a double rig or a dry-dropper. The Yellowstone is offering some of the more consistent action in the Park alongside the Madison and the Firehole.
Lewis Lake – No real staging or spawning yet detected by browns and lake trout but there is action in the eight to twelve foot level of the water column, especially on drop-off edges. The best action has been with slow retrieval of damsel, dragonfly, and baitfish imitations on hover and intermediate sinking lines after long – 10 to 12 second – countdown. Suspended nymph rigs can also get it done with midge and Mysis imitations fished at the same level. Short, slow retrieves is the name of the game if going this route.
Snake River – Gonna be a while before we see Jackson Lake browns up on the Snake but the cutthroat fishing has been decent with small attractor and mayfly imitations despite the lack of consistent hatches. Target banks with deep to moderate water levels, submerged structure, riffle pools, seams, and confluence seams.