Mid-July Report from Southern GYA
Good to solid fishing on just about every reach as the Snake continues to gain more visibility each day with more than enough to offer decent dry fly fishing on the entire stream. Not a lot of bruiser fish quite yet, but that should be coming in the next couple of weeks. The most consistent action has been on the upper reaches from Jackson Lake Dam down to Moose followed by the lower reaches from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. The upper and middle reaches have been best from the early morning hours until around 3pm. The lower reaches below South Park have a bit more consistency throughout the day until around 5pm.
PMDs and caddis dominate the scene with a smattering of yellow sallies and Calineuria golden stones also about. As such, fishing tandem rigs – attractor/stonefly imitations in combo with a mayfly or caddis pattern – is a good way to go if you are focused solely on dry flies. Banks and structure fish best in earlier on the day but wane significantly in the afternoon. Riffles, seams, and troughs, on the other hand, are active from around 10am until the mid-afternoon hours. Side channels on the middle reaches are a saving grace for those willing to wade in the late afternoon when action slows noticeably.
Nymph rigs are working on all reaches but become less consistent producers later in the day unless you are willing to go fairly deep (think eight to nine feet from trailing fly to line/suspension device). Dry-dropper rigs are working as well as double/triple rigs if you got with three-plus feet of dropper tippet from dawn until around 2pm. Target riffles, seams, bankside troughs, eddies, and confluences.
Streamer fishing has been hit or miss for the most part unless you are hitting the upper river from Jackson Lake Dam down to Deadman’s Bar. On this reach, larger articulated patterns and moderately sized baitfish imitations are producing when fished tight to banks and structure, on seams, and along the current margins of eddies. Floating and intermediate sinking lines as well as INT to 3ips tips are working best. Below Deadman’s, action can be had in riffles, seams, and backwater areas with slow currents and deep to moderate depths. Go with small to moderately sized patterns and slow to moderate retrieves. Floating lines and INT tips are working best on this part of the river.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Mary Kays, Royal Wulffs, Royal Humpies, Goddard Caddis, Peking Caddis, Stimulators, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, Bitch Creek Nymph, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Copper Johns in red and copper, Lightening Bugs, Two-Bit Hookers, and Prince Nymphs.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, SRA Bunnies, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Sculpzillas, Slump Busters, and Rickard’s Seal Bugger.
Salmon flies are deep into the upper Canyon but their emergence is being outpaced by that of PMDs and Yellow Sallies (particularly after 11am). A decent amount of caddis are appearing in the morning and golden stones are filling out the rest of the hatch roster. If you are sticking strictly to a surface game, the mornings are a bit inconsistent but fish can be had with larger attractor/stonefly patterns fished along banks and structure. Caddis can also produce in slow water targets like eddies and the inside turn of riffles. Surface feeding begins in earnest between noon and 1pm. Big bugs will continue to produce along banks and structure as well as bankside troughs, eddies, and seam tailouts. Much better action is coming on PMD and yellow sallie imitations in riffles, bankside troughs, and seams.
Nymph rigs – be they double, triple, or dry-dropper rigs – are producing throughout the day but have been a good bet in the morning in comparison to surface rigs and streamers. Fishing nymphs close to bank edges and riffle current margins in the morning is a good way to go. Throughout the rest of the day they will produce even better in riffles, seams, and flats.
Streamer fishing is decent but is definitely best on the lower reaches from Cottonwood down to Lorenzo. Target banks, structure, seams, and bankside troughs with floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Going deep with short (five to six feet) lengths of T-8 or T-11 can come in handy on hot and bright days (which we have had a lot of as of late). Larger baitfish imitations are working best in the morning, after which more moderately sized patterns perform better.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Winged Peanuts, Circus Peanuts, Will’s Twisted Stone, Barrett’s Ant, Bean’s Orange Crush, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Stimulators, Outrigger Sallies, Parachute Sallies, Elk Hair Caddis, Sparkle Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Cheater Bellies, San Juan Worms, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Flashback Pheasant Tail Jigs, Duracells, Sexy Lexy Stones, Biot Bugs, Copper Johns in red, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Perdigons, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Galloup’s Bottoms Up, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, McKnight’s Home Invader, McCune’s Sculpin, Booty Call Minnows, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.
A bit of a slow start to July with tour gorged on worms and adjusting to high flows but things have settled down and fishing is getting back into shape (keep in mind that water temperatures are getting into the high 60s by late afternoon).
Dry fly fishing has been decent with large attractor/hopper/stonefly imitations fished along banks, structure, and on seams. Caddis, PMDs, and a smattering of yellow sallies and gray drakes continue to emerge, and their imitations are working in the same water as well as in riffles and eddies. Surface action has been best in the morning hours and slows considerably after 2pm. After that, most of the action is on large to mid-sized attractors fished tight to banks and structure.
Streamer fishing has been fairly solid and is outperforming most other approaches but, like dry flies, the action slows quite a bit after 2pm. Target banks, structure, bankside troughs, eddy current margins, confluences, and seam tailouts. Both large and mid-sized patterns are producing on floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Moderate retrieves with one foot line strips are working best. Hesitating after several retrieves can be a good way to go if you are getting follows but no eats, especially in the post-2pm slow spell.
Nymph rigs are getting into fish in the same waters as dry flies. Dry-dropper rigs are the best approach with two to four feet of trailing tippet. In the morning hours, dropper nymphs do not necessarily need to be fished tight to their intended target, but they definitely will be in the afternoon.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Bart’s Lipstick, Winged Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Parachute Pares Ear, Hares Ear Wulff, Booty’s Gray Drake Emerger, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Sparkle Caddis, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Silverman’s Epoxy Back Red Tag Sallie Nymph, Sexy Lexy Stone Nymphs, Lightening Bugs, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Copper Johns in red or copper, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Silvey Sculpins, Sundell’s Ghost Dancer, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, McKnight’s Home Invader, SRA Bunnies, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Baby Gongas, Strong-Out Leeches, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Lite Brite Zonkers, and Doc’s Smelt.
The Salt is running with significant visibility (around three feet) and experiencing broad hatches of PMDs and caddis as well as some yellow sallies and drakes. The early hours from 8am until around 1pm is when the nest surface action has been. Imparting movement in attractor patterns is generating strikes early in the day, after which caddis and PMD patterns produce from about 9:30am until early afternoon. Eddies are fishing best, followed by confluence seams and riffles.
The Salt is one of the few rivers fishing better on the surface than below, but it is still worth throwing nymphs as either part of a dry-dropper rig (two to three feet of tippet) or double nymph rigs in the four to six inch range. Target eddies, riffles, banks and structure.
Dry flies – Bart’s Lipstick, Mary Kays, Micro Peanuts, Double Humpies, Turck’s Tarantula, Lime Trudes, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Stimulators, Lawson’s Diving Caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Film Critics, and Klinkhammers.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Hares Ear Nymphs, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Two-Bit Hookers, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Copper Johns in red, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, and Rainbow Warriors.