Mid-September on Two Wonderful Rivers
Continuing cool air and water temps are pushing fishing on the Snake River into prime autumn form. Claassenia stoneflies are still around and Hecubas are making more of an appearance with each passing day. PMDs dominate from around 1pm until 4pm.
Surface action in the morning has been best with larger to mid-sized attractor patterns in most water types, although riffle pools, seams, and side channels with slower currents are outperforming others. Banks and structure remain a good second choice. Smaller attractor and mayfly imitations can be fished with production throughout the day but are working best from around 11am until dusk. Target every conceivable piece of holding water but focus on riffles, troughs, seams, and side channels.
Nymphs are producing throughout the drainage with larger soft hackle patterns working better in the morning and smaller PMD, caddis, and midge imitations producing well from 11am until late afternoon. Fish these as part of a dry-dropper rig on most reaches or as components of a double/triple nymph rig on the lower reaches from South Park down to Sheep Gulch. Keep your leader length in the 6ft to 7 ½ ft range for double/triple rigs and 2 ½ ft to 4ft dry-droppers. Target banks and submerged structure, riffles, seams, eddies, and ledge rock pools.
Streamer fishing is the best it has been since April and are getting into good size from Deadman’s Bar down to Sheep Gulch. Floating lines with heavily weighted patterns are working best, but good things are happening with sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range or short – 4ft to 6ft – lengths of T-8 (nothing heavier). Target banks, structure, troughs, and seams. Surprisingly larger cutthroats are being caught in shallow water types in the afternoon hours. Moderate retrieves with downstream presentations (think fleeing baitfish) has been out-performing other methods.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Turck’s Power Ants, Sparkle Ants, Hippie Stompers, Parachute Hares Ears, Tilt Wing Hecubas, Booty’s Hecuba Emerger, GT’s Hecuba Emerger, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Au Sable Wulffs, Parasipper PMD, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Film Critics, and Galloup’s Tilt Wing Rust.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Brillion’s Mellow Yellow, Flashback Hares Ear Nymph, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, and Perdigons.
Streamers - Sundell’s Ghost Dancer, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey’s Sculpin, Ishiwata’s Grand Master Flash, Double Fuegos, Mojo Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Kreelux, Booty Call Minnows, and SRA Forage Fish.
Pailsades Reservoir is at 13% capacity and flows from the dam stand at approximately 8,100cfs. Despite some discoloration and suspended vegetation, cooler overnight lows have keep the South Fork in the game. There is at least decent action each day and downright good action most days. Mutant stones are still around, offering production on larger attractor and stonefly patterns, especially in the morning. PMDs are present at least in a smattering fashion from around 11am until 4pm. Banks are structure are key targets for larger patterns. Giving your fly movement is a good idea. Riffles, seams, eddies, and side channels are key targets with mayfly and midge patterns throughout the day, but particularly in the afternoon.
Nymphs are producing throughout the day in the same water where dry flies are producing, although riffles and eddies will out performs other types of holding water most days. Moderately sized attractor and stone imitations are definitely taking the cake. Larger CDC soft hackle patterns are a close second. Where consistent feeding in the water column happens varies from day to day, although going deep and damn near ticking the bottom with your trailing fly or weight is noticeably producing better than being higher in the water column.
Streamer fishing has been kind of hit or miss but are working best on the upper reach from the Dam down to Conant and on the lower reaches below Byington. The lower river can be tricky, as fish are holding very tight current lines, riffle shelves, banks, and structure. Precise placement of your streamer is key. Go with moderate to fast retrieves with serious hesitations between line strips every now and then. Use floating lines or long sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range. Larger baitfish imitations are out producing smaller patterns.
Dry flies – Kasey’s Creature, Snake River Water Walkers, Barrett’s Ant, Parachute Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant, Stimulator-X, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Au Sable Wulff, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, B, Nymph Formerly Known and Prince, Hustler CDC Light, Jake’s Double Money, Chamois Caddis, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Bruised Mays, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red and purple, Egan’s Dart, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Game Changers, Goldielocks, Keller’s Nightmare, McKnight’s Home Invader, Kreelux, Murphy’s Bling Minnow, Marabou Muddlers, and Zanac Attack.