Runoff is really pumping now on the Snake. Snowpack is under 60% as of this past weekend, so it will probably end sometime in June unless some cooler and wetter weather moves in, which would not be a bad thing.
The only reach with clear, fishable water at the moment is on the tailwater reach from Jackson Lake Dam down to Pacific Creek. Releases from the dam remain at approximately 550 cfs. Water temperatures are cold, so almost all of the activity is subsurface on nymphs and streamers. Don’t expect anything off the charts, but there are fish to be had.
Nymphs are producing in eddies and along submerged structure. There is a little bit of action in the few riffles on this reach. Don’t go too deep. Focus on smaller attractor nymphs, with #10 to #12 as you lead fly and smaller ones as your trailer. Streamers are working in specific water types, particularly deep eddies and banks and structure with slow currents and a fair amount of depth. Retrieves should be slow to moderate and fish your streamers on sinking tips and lines ranging from intermediate to 6ips.
Effective nymphs – Flashback Rubberleg Hares Ears, RL Softhackle Princes, Flashback Princes, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red and olive, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Emerger.
Effective Streamers – J.J Specials, Clouser Minnows, Beldar Buggers, Baby Bunnies, Sculpzillas, Silvey Sculpins, and Cheech’s Leach.
Flows have been steady at 12,300 cfs for over a week now and this has made for much more consistent fishing over the past week in the Swan Valley reach and in the Canyon reaches. It MIGHT be safe to say that the South Fork is the place to be in the Snake River region. The bite is OK in the morning but action really picks up as you fish into the afternoon and early evening. The one place that is offering solid activity throughout the entire day is below Palisades Dam down to Irwin. This is due to spawning rainbows that are now on their beds. Fly fishers are targeting these fish with egg patterns, San Juan Worms, and streamers with good results.
Production has been picking up in the afternoon on the entire river from about 1pm until dusk (due in part to warming water temps). Nymphs are working in riffles and seams and, to a lesser degree, along banks. Really focus on the riffle, as it is hard to fish one that doesn’t produce at least one fish during the afternoon. Most of us have being going deep with a double rig and some small split shot. Lighter rigs will start to perform better in the mid to late afternoon hours. A variety of streamer sizes are working in the same water as well as along structure.
Surface action is not quite there yet except for in side channels starting in mid-afternoon. But we are starting to see a few more blue-winged olives and caddis each day.
Effective nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, San Juan Worms, Yarn Eggs, Copper Johns in red, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Hickey’s Auto Nymph.
Effective streamers – Sex Dungeons, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leach, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Galloup’s Boogey Man, Silvey Sculpins, Kreelux, J.J. Specials, and Tequilleys.
Flows are increasing on the Green but have been fairly steady over the past few days. Currently the gauge at Warren Bridge is reading flows at about 800 cfs. The river is a little off color with about two and a half feet of visibility. Fishing is actually pretty decent with nymphs and streamers. There are very few rainbows around at the moment but the brown trout have been quite active in comparison to the past few weeks. The best target water for nymphs is submerged structure and riffles. Fish these as double rigs with #18 to #10 point/lead flies and have your trailers in the #12 to #18 range. Another route is to go with a dry-dropper rig composed of a large #6 to #8 surface attractor and a #12 or smaller nymph dropper. Dropper tippet lengths can be two to three feet. Don’t be surprised if trout rise to your surface pattern. It is happening in bits and pieces.
Streamers are producing in the same water and are also working along banks (especially banks with overhanging vegetation). Floating lines are working fine. Intermediate lines and tips are also effective. Larger articulated patterns are working as well as moderate sized streamers, but both are bringing in good sized trout. Brighter patterns – gold, tan, white, etc. – are working best with the clear, sunny weather we have been experiencing. Darker patterns, particularly black or dark olive, are also producing with the off-color water.
Effective nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Flashback Rubberleg Hares Ears, RL Softhackle Princes, Flashback Princes, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Psycho Princes, Bruised Mays, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, San Juan Worms, LOF Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Biot Bugs.
Effective streamers – Zoo Cougars, Peanut Envy, SRA Bunnies, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogey Man, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leach, Strung-Out Leaches, Silvey’s Sculpin, Bow River Buggers, Beldar Buggers, J.J Specials, Tequilleys, and Lite Bright Zonkers.
Effective dry flies – Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Great Whites, and Trina’s Carnage Stone.