Entering Into the Heart of Autumn Fishing


Snake River

The Snake is fishing well on all reaches as it typically does this time of year with flows from Jackson Lake Dam receding, air temps cooling (peaking under 75 degrees), and some wet, cloudy days to spark autumn emergences. Hecubas, mahogany duns and BWOs dominate on those wet days. Expect to see PMDs most days as well. Claassenia stoneflies are still around, although waning with each passing day. Carpenter Ants are the primary terrestrial on the water and they have been very active. All typical holding water is producing with riffles, seams, and confluences being best in the afternoon.

Nymphs are very much worth fishing as either part of a dry-dropper rig or double/triple nymph rig (the latter on the lower reaches from South Park down to Alpine). Double/triple are best fished with six to seven feet of leader from line/suspension device to trailing flies. Ledge rock pools, seams, and eddies are key targets. Dry-dropper rig fly fishers should go rather shallow – one and a half to three feet – with their tippets, as there is a lot of action in the top two feet of the water column.

Streamers are kicking into gear, although there is more consistency after 11am than before. Floating lines and sinking tips in the 3ips range are working best, although there are times when fishing deeper water with short lengths of 8ips tips or T-11 produces better. Brighter patterns are working best on sunny days and just as well as darker patterns on darker days. Go with moderately sized patterns moderate retrieval speeds. Target banks, structure, seams, riffle pools, troughs, and side channels.

Dry flies – Mary Kays, Purple Burces, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Hares Ears, Parachute Adams, Parawulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Booty’s BWO and Mahogany Emerger, Booty’s DL BWO and Mahogany Emerger, Q’s Loop Wing Cripple, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Duracells, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Copper Johns in copper, Panty Droppers, Psycho Princes, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear Nymphs, Lightening Bugs, Military Mayflies, Two Bit Hookers, Howell’s Shuck It, and Perdigons.

Streamers – SRA Double Bunnies, Mojo Minnows, Craven’s Swim Coach, Sparkle Yummies, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnows, Booty Call Minnows, Beldar Buggers, Lite Brite Zonkers, Kreelux and Clouser Minnows.


South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir are ramping down and the South Fork is benefiting from cooler temps over the past week. Not blockbuster fishing but still better action compared to the previous month and a half. Some PMDs around in the afternoon and a smattering of October caddis but when cloud cover and precipitation is in the card expect to see mahogany duns in the card and BWOs backing them up (the latter particularly when air temps peak under 60 degrees). There is some opportunistic feeding in the morning on attractor/stonefly/hopper patterns along banks and structure with slow to moderate currents and in side channels.

Nymphs are a good choice in riffle pools, eddies and seams. Dry-dropper rigs are working best and you should go with three to six feet of dropper tippet for the most consistency. Double/triple rigs should go with the same distance of leader from line/suspension device to trailing fly.

Streamers continue to produce with the lower reaches from Wolf Eddy down to Menan. Cooler temps have the fish moving a bit better, so expect some decent chases and follows before the eventual hookup. Sinking tips (INT to 6ips) and full sinking lines are working better than floating lines at the moment. Large and moderately sized patterns are producing equally well. Target banks, structure, seams, troughs, and slow current side channels.

Dry flies – Kasey’s Creature, Barrett’s Ant, South Fork Secrets, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Hoppers, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Mahogany Duns, and BWOs, Parachute Adams, Glar-A-Chutes, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics,

Nymphs – Duracells, Brush Hogs, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, Bruised Mays, Military Mayflies, Egan’s Dart, Devil Jigs, and Perdigons.

Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Goldilocks, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Kreelux, and Craft Fur Clousers.


Salt River

Decent hatches of PMDs continue on the Salt with BWOs being added in on those days with cloud cover and precipitation. Terrestrials are also active, particularly carpenter ants and grasshoppers. Moderate gradient reaches are fishing best on warm, sunny days. Low gradient reaches are producing on cloudy days. No matter which reach and no matter the conditions, seams and eddies should be your primary water to target. Riffles and banks are worth fishing as well. Look for the best action to be from 11am to 4pm.

Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Micro Mary Kays, Micro Bruces, Power Ants, Cinnamon Ants, Sparkle Ants, Parasol Ants, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and BWOs, Thorax PMDs, Parachute Adams, Pink Parachutes, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Booty’s DL PMD and BWOs, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Duracells, Hustler CDC Lights, Prince Nymphs, Psycho Princes, Bruised Mays, Military Mayflies, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.


Flat Creek

Still good and challenging fishing on Flat Creek. PMDs and mahogany duns are popping most days from around 10am until 2pm. These bugs – along with some BWOs – have intensified hatches on cloudy days with precipitation that generally start around 11am until after 5pm. Nymphal imitations of these bug are working during the same time period. Fish droppers short with no more than two feet of tippet no matter what water you are targeting. Seams, eddies, and riffle current margins are fishing best.

Dragon and damsel fly nymph imitations continue to work when fished along undercut banks, along structure and seams, and on eddy current margins. Fishing your patterns with a downstream retrieve along undercut banks is producing more than any other presentation. Floating lines is the way to go as long as you fish your imitations with long lengths of fluorocarbon.

Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Snowshoe Duns, Pink Parachutes, Parachute Adams, Booty’s DL PMD and Mahogany Cripple, Film Critics, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.

Nymphs – Fuzy Wuzzies, Chez’s Fur Damsel, Rickards’ Stillwater Nymph, Booty’s Jointed Damsel, GT’s Super Flash, Military Mayflies, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, and Brassies.


Yellowstone National Park

Madison River – Browns are moving deeper up the Madison hand have done so for the past week and a half at least, but we are not seeing big numbers quite yet. Barnes Hole, Riverside, and the Confluence have been key places to target, although the entire river is fishing in a decent fashion at worst. Rubber leg and egg patterns are working well. Swinging soft hackles is a good way to go. Streamers are not getting hammered, yet worth fishing from time to time.

Firehole River – Cooler temps have helped kick the Firehole into some good fishing. BWOs and midges are popping, as are micro caddis from time to time. Surface action is not hot but totally in the card from around 11am to 2pm and longer on days with cloud cover and precipitation. Soft hackles and baetis patterns are the best way to go when fishing subsurface.

Lewis Lake – Just a smattering of brown trout activity in the channels but some good stuff happening on the flats and drop-offs as they, as well as lake trout, become noticeably more active with the cooler air temps and cloud cover. Baitfish imitations are the name of the game but decent action on damsel and dragonfly nymph imitations as well. Use hover and intermediate sinking lines with slow retrieves (especially with damsel and dragonfly nymphs). Suspending chironomid imitations is working as good as anything on drop-offs and deeper flats. Fish them shallow with no more than seven feet of leader.

Yellowstone Lake – Decent action on the flats with baitfish imitations fished on hover and intermediate sinking lines. Slow to moderate retrieves is the name of the game and pausing your line strips every now and then is producing well, but not necessarily needed. Surface with chironomid patters has been good from around 11am until 3pm most days regardless of external conditions. Adult patterns are working just as well as emergent counterparts.

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