Everything is a Go (and Earlier than Expected)
Runoff peaked almost a month ago, flows are receding, and the Snake is getting into solid early season shape with caddis, flavs, yellow sallies, big goldens and the smaller alloperla stones emerging on all reaches (the latter of which is heavy from South Park down to Sheep Gulch). PMDs have also been out in bits and pieces. The infrequent salmon fly is also around below the Hoback confluence. All hatches are popping around 11am until 3pm most days. Surface action has been good with the river exhibiting two feet-plus visibility depending on which reach you focus on. Larger attractors are clearly out performing caddis imitations, although both will work in the right water. Riffles are outperforming all other holding water types. Banks and structure are producing better upstream of Moose than below. Fish your patterns tight. Seams, eddies, and side channels are worth targeting, but not near as much as riffles.
Nymph rigs have been as productive as surface patterns and working in similar water. Dry-droppers are the best way to go. Keep your tippet length in the two to three foot range. Caddis and CDC soft hackle patterns are performing better than other flies.
Streamers have been inconsistent but are worth fishing when targeting banks, submerged and exposed structure, seams and eddy pools. Fish your patterns with floating and hove lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Larger streamers are working best on the lower river.
Dry flies – Purple Bruces, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Adams, Tilt-Wing Drakes, Booty’s DL Cripple, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Cole’s UCon, Mathew’s X-Caddis, and Goddard Caddis.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Glass Tail Caddis, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Coffey’s Articulated Sculpin, Geisha Girls, Booty Call Minnows, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
Flows from Palisades Dam stand at a little over 12,000cfs. Action continues to improve as water temps are warming slightly. BWOs and midges are the main fare on the river at the moment. Any surface action is sporadic but worth sitting on if you find consistency among pods for an hour or so, which has generally been from around 1:30pm on. The lower river from Cottonwood down to Lorenzo is a good place to be but there can be A LOT of inconsistency in terms of productive patterns and productive water. The best bet is to hit everything you can and change things up. It can at least be an OK day and might be a good day with diligence.
Nymph rigs have been producing best from the upper Canyon down to Lorenzo. Water column matters but the best action has been going relatively deep with nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device, particularly in the lower canyon reach. Shorter rigs are definitely worth considering in slower and shallower holding water where four to six feet might be more appropriate. Slower water target have been the prime targets overall, including riffle pools, Seams, and slow current side channels. Flats can offer good action from time to time below Byington. There has been increasing activity on banks with slow to moderate currents.
Streamers are productive on all reaches but are working best on the upper reach in Swan Valley and on the lower reaches from Byington down to Lorenzo. The lower river has been fishing well with brighter patterns.Larger patterns are working better on the lower river while moderately sized baitfish imitations are doing the trick on the upper reach. Slow retrieves are working best but there is some action on faster retrieves during the afternoon hours below Byington. Go with floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range and target banks, structure, troughs, confluences, the head of sweeping riffles, and eddy current margins. Slower days can occur no matter what you target or pattern you employ, so be patient and switch things up.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Brush Hogs, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Pumpkins, Military Mayflies, Devil Jigs, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Sump, Lynch Mobs, Mongrel Meats, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Craven’s Swim Coach, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
The Green continues to recede and/or plateau. Visibility is between 18” to 24” and the Green is getting into good shape. Not a lot of bug life at the moment except for caddis which make an appearance after 1pm on reaches upstream of Daniel Bridge. There is surprising opportunistic surface feeding when fishing larger (#10 to #8) foam attractors along banks and structure, especially those with moderate currents (not too fast. Not too slow).
Nymphs are working well but go with larger attractor patterns primarily (and worm patterns are working as they usually do this time of year). Go with approximately 24” in moderate depths and current speeds and 4 to six feet of leader/tippet in deeper pools and lies. Target the same water as you are with surface patterns. Dry-dropper rigs are performing better in faster currents below Warren Bridge.
Steamers are working throughout the drainage in equal fashion no matter the reach. Banks, submerged structure, troughs, and the head of seams are key targets. Large and moderately sized patterns are working equally well. Go with floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Vary up your retrieves but focus on steady line strips and moderate speed.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Snake River Water Walkers, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces,
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Gob o’ Worms, Duracells, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Flashback Rubber Legged Hare’s Ear Nymphs, and Super Copper Johns.
Streamers – Galloup’s Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Craft Fur Clousers, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, and Kreelux.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake – Good action continues on Lewis Lake with browns and lake trout feeding on flats and more production on drop-offs as well. Equal activity is occurring with baitfish, damsel, dragonfly, gray drake, and callibaetis nymph imitations. Feeding is occurring primarily in the three to size foot level on drop-offs. Deeper feeding is occurring on midge and scud imitations. Retrieval speeds between slow and moderate on hover and intermediate sinking lines is the best way to go. Hand twist/figure 8 retrieves are working best with damsel imitations. Dragonfly imitations are best stripped with pinch retrieves.
Yellowstone Lake – Not big numbers each day but certainly big fish most days when targeting flats and drop-offs. Fish appear to be more spread out than a couple weeks ago. Baitfish imitations are working well with moderate retrieves and eats typically occur at the top three feet of the water column. Balanced leeches continue to outproduce most other patterns. These are working best in the three to six foot level of the water column.