Tailwaters and Lakes


Snake River

Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are currently at around 4,500cfs. The tailwater reach above Pacific Creek continues to have the best visibility. Jackson Lake, however, is in turn over, so that visibility is far from crystal clear. Nonetheless, there is still around three feet of clarity. Don’t expect off-the-charts action, but there are fish to be had.

Nymph rigs are performing best when fished along banks, seams, and eddies.

Streamer fishing is debatably producing better than nymphs at the moment. Almost all of the action is happening on banks (especially undercut banks) and, to a lesser degree, along structure. Large articulated patterns are working better than moderately sized streamers. Both are worth considering. Fish them with a variety of retrieves (faster line strips are working a tad better than slower ones) on sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Hot Head Pheasant Tail Jigs, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, and Copper Johns in red or copper.

Streamers – Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnows, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Sundell’s Sun Fire, SRA Bunnies, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Chicklets.

South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir currently stand at approximately 15,000cfs. Erratic flows have persisted over the past week but are starting to ramp down nicely. We are still dealing primarily with a nymphing game in riffles and riffle pools, seams, bankside troughs, and eddies. Go nine to twelve feet with your leader from trailing fly to line/suspension devise.

Streamers reamin a good choice in slower water types along banks and submerged structure, side channels, and seam current margins separating side channels from main channels. Both large and moderately sized baitfish imitations are working equally well. Go with slow to moderate retrieves and use intermediate sinking lines or sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range. Six foot lengths of T-8 or T-11 is a good choice as well.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Cheater Belly Stones, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jig Nymphs, Pinky Jigs, 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, Hello Kitties, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, Trevor’s Sculpin, Kill Whitey, SRA Bunnies, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, J.J. Specials, Marabou Muddlers, and Sparkle Minnows.

Yellowstone National Park

Firehole – Still some decent to solid fishing on the Firehole most days with the best action occurring on the prime current lines of riffles as well as seams. Hatches are diversifying with caddis popping in the morning and inermis PMDs and yellow sallies being the main fare later in the day. Top water feeding is still sporadic but when it does occur it is generally in the 11am to 3:30pm range. Nymphing has been producing consistently. Caddis pupa/larva imitations and mayfly nymph imitations are working best.

Lewis Lake – Lewis opened to watercraft the end of the last week of May and is worth the effort when the winds cooperate. Fishing the flats and tributary inlets is decent enough the there is little reason to target drop-offs and submerged bars at this point. Baitfish, damsel, and dragonfly imitations have been working best with slow retrieves on hover and intermediate sinking lines. Most mayfly nymph imitations are working, but with a lot less consistency. Chironomid imitations are worth fishing in suspension on flats in the five to eight foot depth range.

Lewis River – The best action remains on the lower river but there is a lot of water down there and it is moving fast. Your best approach is to use larger and heavier stonefly imitations or general attractor nymphs and target current margins and areas when there is a visible transition in depth. It’s not easy, but it is producing more size than other streams in Yellowstone other than the Madison.

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