January is for Midging
Same story on the Snake as we had in December, although warmer days are producing a bit better surface action if you are patient. This top-water action has been in a tight window from around 10:30am until around 2pm. Use low-laying film patterns fished in tandem with a higher riding pattern and target eddies, slow water along banks and structure, and riffle pools.
Nymphs are producing best and can be fished with consistency from around 10am until 4pm. Midge imitations are producing best, although larger jig nymphs are actually getting into fish in some faster holding water types. Target riffle tails, riffle pools, and eddies with slower currents. Six to seven feet of leader from trailing nymph to line/suspension device has been most productive. At times going two feet short can pay off.
Streamer fishing has been decent in slow water types, especially eddies, backwater pools near seams, and riffle pools. Use floating and hover lines or INT sinking tips. Go with slow to moderate retrieves and slower retrieves with line strips in the two foot range.
Dry Flies - Parachute Midges, Snowshoe Midges, CDC Midge Emergers, and Furimsky BDEs.
Nymphs – Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jigs, Peachy Jigs, Rickards’ Stillwater Nymph, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges, Miracle Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Slump Busters, Rickards’ Seal Bugger, Pine Squirrel Zonkers, and Marabou Muddlers.
The midge game continues with the most consistent action coming on the Swan Valley reach and the lower reaches from Kelly’s Island down to Lorenzo. Slower water types are the name is the game, especially riffle pools, eddy current margins, and banks. Use shorter leaders when nymphing - three to five foot range from trailing fly to leader/suspension device. Colder days with cooler water temps may require double to leader length to reach more insulated holding water types.
Dry flies are working in bits and pieces from approximately 11am until 3pm. Don’t expect a ton of consistency, although there is definitely enough action some days to keep most anglers interested for a couple of hours. Target the same water as you are with nymph rigs.
Streamers are not near as productive as they were a couple of weeks ago. Floating and intermediate sinking lines are working best. Go with small to moderate sized baitfish imitations and slow retrieves. Target riffle pools, submerged structure, and seam margins.
Dry flies – CDC Wing Midges, Parachute Midges, Snowshoe Midges, and Trico Spinners.
Nymphs – Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Jujubee Midges, Copper Johns in red or black, and Lightening Bugs.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Matukas, Krystal Buggers, J.J. Specials, Slump Busters, and Fly Fry.