Its Hot! Choose Your Time on the Water Wisely
Claassenia is out in little more with more shucks evident on the banks of every reach. This continues to make larger stonefly and attractor patterns the best bet in the morning hours, especially when fished with a dropper nymph. These patterns, as well as hopper imitations, will continue to work in the afternoon and can outperform the action they produce in the afternoon. Target banks, structure, troughs, and confluences.
PMDs and caddis are unquestionably the most prevalent emergences occurring in a given day (caddis in the morning and PMDs in the afternoon), although not quite what they have been. Fish these in tandem with larger patterns or fish adults in tandem with emergers. Target riffles, riffle pools, seams, side channels, and banks with slow to moderate currents. Water temperatures are still running a bit on the warm side in the afternoon, so please keep that in mind if fishing after 4pm, even when fishing is better after 12pm, which it certainly has been some days. And with the heat in the region, expect some slow days here-and-there.
Nymph rigs have been producing well on all reaches. Dry-dropper rigs have been working best on the upper river from the Dam down to South Park, while dry-droppers and double/triple nymph rigs are working equally well from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. Think six to seven and a half feet of leader from line/suspension device to trail fly with double/triple rigs and about three feet of dropper tippet with dry droppers. All holding water types are producing, especially riffles and riffle pools, confluences, seams, and banks with moderate depths.
Streamers has been hit-or-miss but working with the most consistency from Moose to Wilson and from Astoria down to Sheep Gulch. As has been the case for the past few weeks, floating lines, intermediate sinking lines, and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range are working throughout the day but best from the early morning hours until around 1pm. In the afternoon, if action isn’t consistent on the aforementioned tackles, production can come with heavier tips in the 6ips to 8ips range or six to eight foot lengths of T-8 or T-11. Slow to moderate retrieves are working best. Hesitation on lighter lines in the morning is a good way to go, as is downstream presentations. It’s about half and half between larger batifish imitations and more moderately sized patterns in terms of production. Target banks, structure, troughs, confluences, and riffle pools.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Mary Kays, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Purple Bruces, Parachute Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Grande Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant, Sparkle Ants, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, AuSable Wulffs, Tailwater Humpies, Copper Hazes, Pink Parachutes, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quiglely Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pats Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, Keller’s Peach Fuzz Jigs, Brillion’s Lucent Jigs, Duracells, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or copper, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Halo Girls in pink, Two-Bit Hookers, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, and Rainbow Warriors.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, Strolis’ Masked Avenger, Trevor’s Sculpin, Sundell’s Ghost Dancer, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Baby Gongas, Booty Call Minnows, Doc’s Smelt, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
As on most streams in the area, it is a morning to early afternoon game on the South Fork with the most consistent action occurring from dawn until roughly 2pm. Larger attractor patterns fished with droppers in the morning is producing best with a little bit of movement along banks and structure and bankside troughs as mutant stones continue to emerge. These patterns, along with terrestrial imitations, will work in the same water but less consistently in the afternoon as grasshoppers and carpenter ants begin to move around along banks and islands. The lower river from Cottonwood down to Twin Bridges has been fishing quite solid with these larger patterns, particularly when they are fished tight to banks and structure and given some movement. PMDs continue from about 11pm to 3pm with 11am to 2pm being the general sweet spot. There will also be a smattering of caddis and a few yellow sallies still about. This is creating action in most holding water types, especially riffles, Inside turns on riffles, seams, eddies, and flats. You will have to work a bit harder for your fish than you did a month ago if fishing on the surface, but happy results can occur some days.
Nymph rigs are working throughout the day whether you are fishing droppers or double/triple rigs. Again, dawn to around 2pm is the sweet spot. Banks, structure, riffle pools, eddies, and the tails of seams are productive in the morning hours. Riffles, seams, and eddies added to the choices in the afternoon, and these water produce better than other targets in the after 12pm.
Streamers are working best from when fished along banks, structure, bankside troughs, side channel backwaters, and eddy margins. Faster currents are outperforming slower waters. Floating lines, intermediate sinking lines, and INT sinking tips are working in the morning with sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range performing best in the afternoon. Slower retrieves with hesitations after a few to several line strips. Moderately sized streamers are outperforming larger versions.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, J-Slams, Circus Peanuts, Bean’s Orange Crush, Parachute Hoppers, South Fork Hoppers, Club Sandwiches, Dave’s Hopper, Power Ants, Cinnamon Ants, Sparkle Caddis, X-Caddis, Stimulators, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worms, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Peach Fuzz Jig, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Duracells, Psycho Mays, Copper Johns in red or olive, Deep Stinker Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Egans Green Dart, Lightening Bugs, and Rainbow Warriors.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Strolis’ Masked Avenger, McKnight’s Home Invader, SRA Bunnies, Sculpzillas, J.J. Specials, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
Consistently cool water temps (58 degrees is the norm) is keeping the Salt River in a good place for surface flies and dropper nymphs. Tricos and chironomids dominate, along with some caddis here-and-there. Crane flies and grasshoppers will be evident as well. Moring hours will produce decent action in eddies, foam lines and the inside turns of riffles. In the afternoon, action in this water will be matched by undercut banks, troughs, and the inside turn of riffles.
Nymphing requires no more than about 14” to 18” of dropper tippet from a dry fly, although larger specimens can be had in deeper water with three to four feet of leader or tippet from a trailing nymph to line/suspension device. Target the same water as you would with your surface patterns.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Micro Water Walkers, Parachute Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Club Sandwiches, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Thorax PMDs, Booty’s DL Cripple. Film Critics, and Q’s Loop Wing Cripple.
Nymphs – Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Copper Johns in red, olive, or copper, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, and Zebra Midges.
Thanks to high mid-day winds, action on terrestrial and smallish (#12 to #16) terrestrial patterns – grasshoppers and ants – has been more than respectable when fished tight to banks and even a foot or two off from around noon until early evening. A little twitching and movement can help, but dead drifts are working just as well. Relatively more consistent action is being had in the early morning hours (dawn until around 8:30am) with PMD adult and spinner imitations, particularly those around the #18 range. These patterns are also working well after 7pm. Emergent patterns are working as well, but not as consistently as the former.
Nymphs have been producing in most all water types. Banks, structure, and eddy pools produce best in the morning. From around 11am until around 3pm and then again after 7pm, riffles, seams, and confluences will also work. Go with PMD nymph patterns, small attractors, and crane fly larva patterns. There has been some specificity with what larger cutthroat are taking (see below).
Dry flies – Dave’s Hopper, Joe’s Hopper, South Fork Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers. Micro Peanuts, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Cinnamon Ants, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Thorax PMDs, Pink Alberts, Rusty Spinners, Booty’s DL Cripple, Cole’s Split Wing Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Christian’s C-N Super Flash, Panty Droppers, Psycho Mays, Psycho Princes, Rainbow Warriors, Two-Bit Hookers, Mopscicles, and Translucent Crane Larva.