Everything is Starting to Fish!
The Snake is slowly clearing and receding, giving fly fishers more opportunities than just the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam. There is two and a half feet of visibility on most of the river downstream of Pacific Creek and good emergences of rhyacophila and glossassoma caddis, PMDs, flavs, and the smaller golden stones. Cicadas have also been out in heavy numbers. Surface action is respectable in side channels, along banks with slow currents, and in confluences. There is a little surface feeding early in the morning (prior to 10am) but it picks up after noon and continues until 5pm.
Dry-dropper rigs are performing just as well in the same water as surface patterns and double/triple nymph rigs are working even better in deeper, slow water pools on the lower river below South Park. On these reaches, deep riffles and eddies have been key targets.
Streamers have been hit-or-miss on most of the river but have been producing well and consistently on the tailwater reach below the dam, especially over the past week. Moderately sized streamers fished on floating or intermediate sinking lines is the best way to go. INT and 3ips tips are good choices as well. Target banks, structure, eddy current margins, and seams.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Mary Kays, Snake River Water Walkers, Stimulators, Speed Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Parawulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMD and Mahogany Duns, Purple Hazes, Copper Hazes, and Royal Wulffs.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Hustler CDC Lights, Duracells, Rabid Squirrels, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Copper Johns in red or black, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymphs, Hares Ear Nymphs, and Lightening Bugs.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Goldilocks, Galloup’s Mini Peanut Envy, Baby Gongas, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, and Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at 9,300cfs and holding steady for many days. The river has a slightly green tinge that lessens further downstream. Regardless, all of the South Fork is fishable and success comes with the right strategies and tactics. Salmon flies are popping on the lower river from Byington down to Menan as are yellow sallaies and PMDs and there are drakes around from Cottonwood down to Lorenzo. Surface action is far from stellar but there can definitely be action from around 11:30am until 2pm on larger attractors and stonefly imitations. Target banks with moderate currents, the head of riffles and seams, and the current margin of eddies. Riffles can produce from time to time when these patterns are twitched and skittered. PMD and yellow sallie imitations can get into fish more sparingly in a 2pm to 4pm timeframe in side channels and the recirculating currents of eddies.
Nymph rigs are working consistently on all reaches with riffles, seams, eddies, confluences, bankside troughs, bank drop-offs, and structure being the best waters to target. Productions is best from around 10am until 5pm, although it starts a little bit later on the upper reach from the Dam down to Conant. Leader lengths of seven to nine feet from trailing fly to line/suspension device is the best approach with double/triple rigs. Dry-dropper rigs are best fished with tippet lengths of four to seven feet and are working well on riffle shelves, the head of seams, in side channels, and around submerged structure.
Streamers continue to produce in hit-or-miss fashion but are working best in the Canyon reach and on the lower reach below Byington. On days with better action, floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range fished with moderate retrieves are working best. Slower days might require going deeper with sinking tips in the 6ips range or short lengths of T-8 fished with slower retrieves are the way to go. Non matter the day, target banks, structure, side channels, the inside turn of seams, and eddy current margins. Moderately sized streamers are working best.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Barrett’s Red Ant, Bean’s Orange Crush, South Fork Stones, Stimulators, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, and Booty’s DL PMD Cripple.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Brush Hogs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Olive Hares Ear Nymphs, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymphs, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Lynch Mobs, Strolis’ Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silvey Sculpins, Keller’s Knightmare, Rustic Trombones, Goldilocks, Geisha Girls, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
Still a lot of up and down with flows on the Green but it has typically been fishing well when flows are ascending, on the descent, and when visibility is two foot or greater. Left over caddis around in good numbers, but golden stones and yellow sallies are also present. PMDs are less consistent but can be dominant some days. Dry fly fishing is less than stellar but still worth doing when fish are actively feeding, typically from around 12:30pm until 4pm. Banks with slow currents, seams, and the upstream recirculation of eddies are key targets.
Nymph rigs have been the most consistent approach and are getting into fish throughout the day, with primetime being from 11am until roughly 3pm. Dry-dropper and tandem dry-dropper rigs are the best way to go with tippet in the three to five foot range being the go-to. Seams, submerged structure, and fast current riffle margins (particularly at the head of riffles) have been most productive.
Streamers have been inconsistent with some days producing well and others being just okay. Either way, baitfish imitations are out-producing surface patterns just about every day. Banks, structure, eddies, and seams are the best waters to target. Fish large and moderately sized patterns on floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range (the latter depending on depth and speed of the water being targeted. Slow to moderate retrieves with slight hesitations has been the best tactics.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Stimulators, Red Butt Sallies, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Golden Stones, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Sparkle Worms, Duracells, Hustler CDC Lights, Rabid Squirrels, Chez’s Biot Bugs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Rainbow Warrior’s, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Psycho Princes, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, GT’s Super Flash, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Rustic Trombones, Galloup’s Mini Peanut Envy, Craven’s Swim Coach, Booty Call Minnows, Craft Fur Clousers, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Kreelux, and Marabou Muddlers.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Lake - The southern portion of the park is open and the lakes are a good place to be. Yellowstone Lake is fishing well on flats with three to eight feet of depth with balanced leeches and chironomid patterns. Swimming nymph imitations – particularly drake and callibaetis imitations - are also producing. Surface action is also picking up with chironomid and smaller mayfly imitations working best
Lewis Lake – Good fishing in the morning with baitfish imitations and damsel and dragonfly imitation in the mornings on flats when fished with hover and intermediate sinking lines. The most active flats are in the four to eight foot depth range. This water has also been very active with midge patterns fished under suspension devices (think five to seven feet of leader to trailing fly. Most days, the surface activity comes alive on the west flats of the lake with drakes and callibaetis emerging in strong fashion. 60 ft. casts are often required to get hook ups. Activity is bet from approximately 1pm until 6pm.