The Snake and the South Fork in Early November
Midges have been out in force on most reaches just about every day from the 11am to 3pm. Blue-winged olives are also making an appearance when air temps are in the 40s, especially on those days when we have cloud cover and precipitation. Their imitations are working best on the surface. Moderately sized attractors are still producing with grabby fish, especially in the morning, but play second fiddle to midges and BWOs in the afternoon. No matter what you use, target banks and submerged structure with slow to moderate currents, riffle pools, side channels, and seams.
Nymph rigs are working through the day and some days seem to be the only game in town. It’s a toss-up between going with dry-dropper rigs or double/triple rigs. Whatever route you go, consider using leader in the three to six foot range. Make your adjustments based on the depth and current speed of the water you are targeting. Focus on riffle pools, submerged structure, ledge rock pools, and seams or eddies separating main currents from backwaters.
Streamer fishing is hit or miss but is worth considering when it happens to be on. Go with moderately sized imitations fished on sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range or six to seven feet of T-8 or T-11. Target backwater pools, the current margin of seams, eddies, and downstream pools created by structure. Consistent slow to moderate retrieves with lines strips in the one to two foot range are working best.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body BWO or Mahogany Duns, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Booty’s DL Cripple, Film Critics, Furimsky BDEs, Parachute CDC Midges, and Chez’s Krystal Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Pennington’s Stone Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns, Redemption BWOs, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Zebra Midges.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Chicklets, Marabou Muddlers, Lite Brite Zonkers, J.J. Specials, Sculpzillas, and Mini Masked Avengers.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir stand at just over 1000 cfs. It’s pretty much a small fly game now with midges dominating most days and BWOs on those cooler and wetter days. You might see an October caddis here and there as well. This is the case on all reaches of the South Fork. 1pm to around 4pm is primetime, with respectable action coming as early as just before noon. Emergent imitations are outperforming adults or duns. Both are worth fishing. Tandem rigs are really the best way to go. Target riffle pools, seams, eddies, and bank edges with moderate depth and slow currents.
Nymphing is respectable throughout the day but clearly plays second fiddle to surface flies in the afternoon most days. The river is low and currents moderate to slow, so going with light to moderately weighted patterns and short tippet lengths is a no brainer – three to five feet from trailing fly to line/suspension device will suffice. Target the same water you are when fishing dries.
Whitefish are at the beginning stages of their spawn, so egg patterns are becoming a bit of a realistic option. Just a smattering of action at the moment, but more is on the way. Target riffle pools and tails as well as bank edges with three to four feet of depth.
Dry flies – Stimulators, Chez’s Speed Stimulator, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Copper Hazes, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Parachute Midges, CDC Midges, Mating Midges.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Hares Ear Nymphs, Redemption BWOs, Cole’s LOF Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in olive or black, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Veiled Eggs, and Yarn Eggs.