On the Cusp of Runoff


Snake River

Warm spring temps have put most of the Snake into runoff, or at least on the cusp of it. The tailwater reach below Jackson Lake dam obviously has the most visibility. However, with GTNP closed, it is inaccessible. The reaches from Pacific Creek down to the Hoback River has around 18” of visibility. Below the Hoback, we are looking at maybe a few inches.

There are more skwalas about, but with decreased visibility, surface action is squeezed into tight, two hour windows and only on those days with substantial emergences. Spring creek confluences offer more consistent action with skwala patterns as well as caddis (which are emerging in surprising strength early than usual). This, however, requires getting to these pieces of water before others. If you want surface action, get started early and sit on the clear water where you legally can.

Nymphs and streamers offer the best chances for decent production on most of the river above the Hoback. Nevertheless, it is intermittent. Fish larger double nymph rigs with nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device and target confluences, the inside current margin of riffles, eddies, and seam current margins. Streamers should be large to moderately sized. Moderately sized patterns can produce in slower water types like side channels and eddies. Larger patterns can work in the same water as well as on the current margins of seams and riffles and along banks and bankside troughs with slow to moderate currents.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, and Cole’s U-Con.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, PR Muskrats, Kaufmann’, Brown Stone, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymphs, Squirmy Wormies, San Juan Worms, and Gob-O-Worms.

Streamers – Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Keller’s Nightmare, J.J. Specials, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.

South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir stand at just under 14,000cfs. The South Fork is running a little off color with tributary runoff but visibility stands at a solid three feet on the upper reach and around two feet below Conant. Surface action is sporadic with larger attractor patterns in riffle current margins, eddies, and along banks with slow to moderate currents. Some decent action is happening later in the day on the inside turn of riffles. None of this is off the charts or even decent, but it can be fun when it happens. Fish your dry with a dropper or two (below the surface is where most of the production is) and be ready to smile if your surface patterns gets a dozen or two eats.

Double and triple nymphs rigs are working very well throughout the system and especially on the upper reaches from the dam down to the confluence of Burns Creek. With flow where they are, it is best to go deep with nine to twelve feet of leader from your trailing fly to line/suspension device. Egg patterns are producing in strong fashion on the Swan Valley reach, followed closely by worm patterns and larger stonefly imitations. Target riffles and riffle pools, seams, confluences, and banks/structure.

Streamers are not red hot but are definitely the way to go if you are looking for larger fish and targeting the right water. Larger to moderately sized baitfish imitations are working equally well. Go with fast to moderate retrieves and incorporate jigs and pauses every so often during your retrieve. Target banks, structure, eddy current margins, seam tails, and riffle pools. Sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range, as well as four to six feet of T-8 or T-11 aare working best.

Dry Flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, J-Slams, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Bugmeisters, and Barrett’s Stone.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Bitch Creek Nymph, San Juan Worm, Squirmy Wormies, Lightening Bugs, Galloup’s Mysis, Meyer’s Mysis, Copper Johns in red, olive, or copper, Brush Hogs, Duracells, Veiled Eggs, Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, and Yarn Eggs.

Streamers – Galloup’s Zoo Cougar, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Keller’s Nightmare, Sundell’s Night Fire, Silvey’s Sculpin, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, SRA Bunnies, and Sculpzillas.

Green River

Flows at Warren Bridge are at a little over 500cfs and visibility is “decent” – a foot and a half or so - from the headwaters down to Horse Creek below Daniel Bridge. Water temps are still a bit cool at around 48 degrees which is rendering surface action sporadic at best. Nonetheless, the Green is very much worth targeting with nymphs and streamers. Nymphs are working best in riffles, seams, eddies, and when fished along undercut banks. Go with lightly to moderately weighted patterns and fish them on seven to nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device.

Streamers are producing just as well as nymphs and are actually outperforming them below Daniel Bridge. Large to moderately sized streamers are working best. Fish them on floating or intermediate sinking lines or tips in the INT to 3ips range. Most of the action is occurring in the top six inches of the water column and most eats are occurring on the drop during pauses in line strips or in the first two to three seconds after your baitfish imitations hits its target. And your targets? – hit banks, submerged structure, eddy current margins, and confluences.

Nymphs – 20-Inchers, Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Flashback Soft Hackle Prince Jigs, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Copper Johns in red or olive, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Biot Bugs.

Streamers – Galloup’s Dungeon, Keller’s Nightmare, Silvey’s Sculpin, Galloup’s Bottoms Up, Dali Llamas, Galloup’s Mini Zoo Cougar, Kreelux, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, and McCune Sculpins.

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