The Snake is still fishing good on all stretches, but water temps are warming up (66 degrees at 5pm at Moose Bridge) and the typical mid-summer waning of hatches is occurring. So, as on the South Fork, you are going to have to work a bit harder for your fish. Change up your tactics, strategies, and flies, and it can be a pretty solid day.
We still have a decent number of Claassenia stoneflies around (and A LOT on certain days) as well as some caddis and PMDs and hoppers, beetles, and flying ants. Expect a lot more mayflies around on those colder and wetter days – not just PMDs, but also tricos and, as strange as it seems, a good number of mahogany duns.
Mornings have been best with #8 to #12 attractor patterns fished tight to banks, structure, and seam lines. Going with a dropper can help increase numbers. The same rigging will work in the afternoon, but smaller mayfly and terrestrial imitations can bring in more fish and more size. Whatever you do, try and stay tight to banks, structure, seam lines, and the head of riffles, especially on high pressure days with sun and clear skies. On cloudy days with dropping or lower barometric pressure and some precipitation, trout will be more spread out in riffle pools, seams, and bankside troughs. And expect better fishing on these days, especially in terms of size.
If going subsurface, stray away from nymphs and focus on streamers. There are those days when there will be a ton of frustrating follows and short strikes on most days, but there are also those days when the fish are on it big time. Use floating and intermediate lines and 3ips to 6ips sinking tips and focus on banks, structure, seams, confluence points, riffles, and riffle pools.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Mary Kays, Chubby Chernobyls, Grand Hoppers. Morrish Hoppers, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Adams, Parachute Hares Ears, Au Sable Wolffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Cahills, and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Dun Emergers, Quigley Cripples, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and Film Critics.
Streamers – Kreelux, Chickletts, Sparkle Minnows, Gongas, Silvey Sculpins, J.J. Specials, Marabou Muddlers, Beldar Buggers, B-Yotch Buggers, and Galloup’s Boogeyman.
Nymphs – Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Fuegos, and Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs.
Flows have been ramped back up to 8,900cfs after a brief spell at 8,500cfs. Fishing is still good but you still have to work for your fish and a bit harder than over the past two weeks. Water temps are warming noticeably. The most prominent bug on the water are PMDs in the afternoon and caddis in the afternoon. Grasshoppers, carpenter ants, and beetles about in the afternoon as well. But we are also starting to see increasing emergences of mutant stoneflies. That is a very good thing.
The most productive strategy is to go with larger attractor patterns in the morning in riffle pools, seams, and along slow banks. These patterns are working more as searching patterns than anything else, but they are producing and bringing up some big fish. The afternoon is still the time to lock into good numbers and some good size, just as it has been over the past two to three weeks. Use mayfly imitations – duns and emergers – and focus on riffles and flats. There will be refusals and short strikes, but don’t get frustrated. Change things up. A good tactic is to go with a dun or emerger as a lead fly and have a subsurface emerger or lightly weighted nymph as a trailer. Stay focused. One piece of holding water can produce several fish.
Streamers are still working, and particularly in the morning and late afternoon hours. Riffle pools, deep seams, and banks and structure are productive targets. No need to go too deep. Floating, hover, and intermediate lines, as well as intermediate and 3ips tips, are all that you will need.
Dry flies – J-Slams, Barrett’s Stonefly, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Chubby Chernobyls, Stimulator Xs, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers, Sparkle Ants, Turck’s Power Ants, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Cahills, and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Thorax PMDs, Film Critics, Quigley Cripples, and Pink Sulfur Emergers.
Streamers – Kreelux, Chicklett’s, Lite Brite Zonkers, Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, J.J. Specials, Tequilleys, Silvey Sculpins, Marabou Muddlers, Murphy’s Bling Minnow, and SRA Double Bunnies.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in copper, red, or black, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Fuegos, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Flashback Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs.
Fun times on the Salt River currently. Flows have been steady at approximately 475cfs for several days with caddis and chironomids in the morning and tricos, PMDs, and what looks to be callibaetis in the afternoon. We are also seeing some little green stoneflies in bits and pieces. Don’t expect off-the-charts fishing, but there can be action all day long while you are on the water. Action intensifies with cloud cover and precipitation.
Deep water banks and eddies are fishing best with moderately sized attractors (imitating the abundance of grasshoppers that are on the banks) and dropper nymphs. Riffles, seams, and eddies will fish well with the same patterns in the afternoon, but there is better action on mayfly and caddis adult/emeger patterns. In fact, these patterns are fishing best in the afternoon in just about every type of holding water.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, SRA Chernobyls, Gorilla Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Whitlock Hoppers, Sparkle Ants, Bear’s No Hackle Flying Ant, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Glass Ants, Stimulators, Lime Trudes, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Parachute Adams, Rusty Spinners, Booty’s PMD Emergers, Klinkhammers, Film Critics, Q’s Loop Wing Cripples, Cole’s Split Wing Cripple, Furimsky BDEs, and Air Flo Tricos.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Hares Ear Nymphs, Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis, Green Beans, Kyle’s C-N Super Flash, Hotwire Princes, Psycho Princes, HH Green Machines, and Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph.
We are getting into that time of the year to get out and fish Flat Creek in earnest. You are gonna work hard for your fish and getting into three in a day can be considered a big success. Crossing the 19” mark adds a feather to your cap. Chironomids, caddis, and PMDs are what you will on the water at various times of the day. Hoppers and beetles are also about. Fishing is most productive from dawn until about 8am and from about 6pm until dusk. This is when surface action is best. Cloudy days with precipitation can be good throughout most of the day.
When fish are feeding on the surface, you will notice is occurring mostly tight to undercut banks, at the head of eddy seams, and at the tail of riffles. In the mid-day time period when surface action wanes, a good plan of action is to throw terrestrial patterns with a dropper nymph. Don’t just target the water mentioned above. Go deep on main current lines, and off of undercut banks.
Dry flies – SRA Chernovyls, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Hoppers, Double Humpies, Joe’s Hoppers, Grande Hoppers, Hair Beetles, Sanchez’s Mega Beetle, Sparkle Ants, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Parawulffs, Copper Haze, Sanchez’s Bi-Viz PMDs, Cole’s U-Con, CDC Caddis, Furimsky BDEs, and Parachute Midges.
Nymphs – Prince Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Mercer’s Glass Tail Caddis, Bloody Marys, Lite Brite Serendipities, Cole’s LOF Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in olive or black, Zebra Midges, Rojo Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.