Flows from Jackson Lake Dam have dropped from 4,500cfs to 3,500 cfs over the past week, greatly improving the dry fly fishing on the tailwater reach down to Pacific Creek. Callibaetis and gray drakes are the primary bugs on the water, with Chironomids and some caddis making appearances throughout most days. Eddies and seams are the most productive water to target with dry flies and nymphs. Riffles are just starting to perk up with feeding trout. Submerged structure and banks are also producing with dry flies, streamers, and nymphs.
There is fishable water on the west bank of the Snake from Pacific Creek down to about 100 meters below the Osprey Channel. Surface action is as good here as it is upstream of Pacific Creek. And you will find more by way of caddis on this reach as well.
Effective dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Snake River Water Walkers, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, Booty’s Gray Drake Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Film Critics, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, and Comparaduns.
Effective nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann Black Stones, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymphs, Lightening Bugs, Robins, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Bubbleback Pheasant Tail Nymphs, and Psycho Princes.
Effective streamers – Clouser Minnows, Coyote Ugly Clousers, Lite Brite Zonkers, J.J. Specials, El Caminos, and Bow River Buggers.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir have been ramped up from 10,300cfs to 16,5000cfs. With the leveling out of flows over the past three days, fishing has returned to being ALMOST as good as it was a week ago. This is mirrors in some ways what we had this time of year in 2009, when flows were 10 to 15 percent higher than normal, but visibility was superb and fish was quite good.
Mornings offer relatively good fishing, but the afternoons are fishing noticeably better on most days. All the action has been on nymphs primarily, with streamers bringing in fish when targeted water is hit properly. On the lower reaches – Cottonwood down to Lorenzo – trout are being brought in with distended bellies, indicating that they are feeding heavily. They are doing just that, especially on larger stonefly imitations. Double nymph rigs are working just about everywhere, with riffles and seams producing best, followed by banks and big eddies. Nine feet of leader from the indicator to the lead fly will suffice, but going deeper – 11 to 12 feet – is more effective at times.
Streamer action has been best when fished tight to banks and structure and along seams. Floating lines, intermediate sinking lines, and sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips are producing with equal effectiveness. Go big with your streamers. And if you go with more moderately sized streamers, make sure that are bright. It is making a big difference in such high, but clear, water.
Effective nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Foxy Sallie Stones in gold or olive, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, and Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph.
Effective streamers – Galloup’s Zoo Cougars, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leech, Silvey Sculpins, Kreelux, and Tequilley’s.
After having flows increase a week ago from warmer weather and precipitation, the Green is now leveling off and receding slowly. Visibility is at around two to two and a half feet from about mid-morning until about 3pm, at which time it slowly goes more off-color. Fishing is best with nymphs fished along submerged structure and in eddies and seams. San Juan Worm in red, wine, or olive are hammering it and can rack up big numbers. But be prepared to lose a dozen or so on the bottom. Streamers are getting into fewer fish in the same water, but solidly larger specimens, which can make the effort much worthwhile. If you are going in this direction, go with brighter colored baitfish imitations and fish them on floating and intermediate lines.
Production on dry flies is possible during a tight window running from about 11am to 1pm, with a little leeway on each end. Banks are the best place to target with #10 to #6 attractors. Fish them with moderately sized bright nymphs, and the early afternoon period can fish pretty damn solid.
Effective dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Stimulators, Snake River Water Walkers, and Chubby Chernobyls.
Effective streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Cheech’s Leech, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leech, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpin, SRA Double Bunnies, and Marabou Muddlers.
Effective nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Bitch Creek Nymphs, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worms, Zug Bugs, Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Flashback Prince Nymphs, Psycho Princes, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Copper Johns in red, and Robins.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Lake – West Thumb is still fishing very well, as is the west shore down to Plover Point. Streamer fishing with Clouser Minnows, Kreelux, and Zonkers. Slow retrieves of nymph and scud patterns are also producing.
Lewis Lake – Very good fishing all over the lake, although there is a noticeable slowdown this past weekend in both hatches and fish.. As on Yellowstone Lake, Clouser Minnows, Kreelux, and Mohair Leeches are producing on floating, hover, and intermediate lines. Slow pinch retrieves and hand-twist retrieves of damsel imitations are working just as well. From noon until late afternoon, callibaetis and drakes are emerging, and dun imitations can get fly fishers into several fun trout on the surface. There are also some carpenter ants about, and on some days that are carpeting (pardon the pun) the flats.
Crawfish Creek – Caddis are everywhere. Surface fishing is best above the falls with adult imitations in the #12 to #18 range. Below the falls, nymphing is the way to go.
Snake River/Lewis River Confluence – fishing is getting better each day with the Snake clearing. Fishing is best with streamers, but there is more and more action on the surface with moderately sized attractors. Fish these with a dropper of two to three feet in length. There have been a good ratio of cutthroats in the 14” to 17” range.