YNP is Open and the South Fork is the Place to Be
With the Snake in runoff, the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam continues to off the best fishing opportunities. No watercraft allowed at the moment, but it is still fishing well via wading. Visibility is very good also. Cool water temps means the best action is below the surface. Double/triple nymph rigs fished in eddies, seams, and along banks and structure are producing when fished in the six to nine foot range of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device. Midges are working best, followed by BWOs and then moderately sized attractor nymphs.
Streamer fishing has been decent, although not near as consistent as nymph rigs. If you do choose streamers, go with small to moderately sized patterns fished with slow to moderate retrieves on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines. Tandem rigs can out produce singles some days. Target the same water as you would with nymph rigs. Hesitations between every half dozen or so line strips should be considered if even retrieves are not producing.
Nymphs – Flashback Hares Ear Nymph, 20-Inchers, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Flashback Pheasant Tail Jigs, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Redemption BWO, S&M BWO, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Beldar Buggers, Lite Brite Zonkers, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, Sculpzillas, and Rickards’ Seal Bugger.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at 13,800cfs. Topsy-turvy flows over the past week but still very good visibility on the upper reach and around three feet of visibility in the Canyon and lower reach. The South Fork remains a solid choice if you are will to go subsurface with double/triple nymph rigs or streamers. Not much has changed over the past two weeks. Nymph rigs are working on all reaches but especially the upper sections running from the Dam down to Black Canyon. Go with nine to twelve feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device and target riffles, riffle pools, seams, eddies, and bankside troughs.
Streamers are working best in slower holding water types on all reaches. Large patterns are working well but moderately sized patterns are clearly outperforming them. Target seam current margins, the tail of the inside turns of riffles, backwater reaches of side channels with slow currents, and banks/structure with slow to moderate currents. Intermediate sinking lines and sinking lines in the 3ips to 6 ips range (as well as six foot lengths of T- to T11) is a good way to go. Even if you are going deep, don’t retrieve too fast. Slow to moderate retrieves is the best approach.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Cheater Belly Stones, 20-Inchers, Bitch Creek Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, S&M BWO Nymphs, Redemption BWO Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, Yarn Eggs, Clown Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, SRA Bunnies, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, J.J. Specials, Marabou Muddlers, and Krystal Buggers.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole River – relatively moderate flows on the Firehole and surprisingly cool water temps. Lightly weighted nymph rigs are taking the cake with five to seven feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device. A wide variety of nymphs are producing, but especially BWO, caddis, and midge imitations. Attractor nymphs like Lightening Bugs, Hares Ears, and Pheasant Tails are also working well. There is dry fly action with hatches of inermis PMDs and crane flies about (Although caddis and BWO imitations are taking the cake in terms of surface imitations. Whether using nymphs or dries, you should target bubble line seams, riffles, and micro-eddies.
Lewis River – Much better action on the lower Lewis that the upper (warmer water temps on the lower). Not a lot of surface action but it can happen in bits-and-pieces with moderately sized patterns. Best to fish your surface flies with a dropper nymph, as nymphs are easily taking the cake. Nymph rigs and dry-dropper rigs are producing best on confluence seams, riffles and along banks and structure.