Winter is here and the Cold temps since last January arrived over the past week, although the mid-day highs are not dipping below 20 degrees too often, and are approaching 30 degrees some days. Surface action is sparse, but we are seeing a few rising fish in the early morning hours (from 1pm until 3pm) with trout feeding on chronomids on the current margins of riffles and on inside turns at the head of riffles. Regardless, it has mostly been a nymphing game. Action is best on nymphs from about 11am until mid to late afternoon. Target riffle pools and seams and focus on the slower currents. No need to go too deep – use nymphs with moderate weight. Seven feet of leader will suffice.
Streamers have been receiving a decent amount of attention from cutthroats on all reaches of the Snake from Moose Bridge down to Sheep Gulch. Target riffle pools and seams with moderately sized streamers on floating lines. Slow retrieves with two foot strips is the most productive tactic.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Mating Midges, Chez’s Parachute Midge Emerger, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and Air-Flo Tricos.
Nymphs – Biot Bugs, Soft Hackle Princes, Rainbow Warriors, Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Disco Midges.
Streamers – Chickletts, Beldar Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, J.J. Specials, and Peanut Envy.
It’s a bit warmer on the South Fork but still not enough to drive solid dry fly fishing. Surface action has been mostly squeeze between noon and 4pm. It’s nothing over the top, but certainly enough to make dry fly anglers happy for this time of year. Use chironomid imitations on flats, seams and in riffle pools (especially the mid and tail pieces). As on the Snake, nymphing is best throughout most of the day with double rigs that are lightly/moderately weighted and with six to seven feet of leader. Target the same water you are with dry flies, but don’t forget to hit the seams of eddies and bankside troughs.
Streamers are working in the afternoon hours when fished at the tail of riffle pools, along the full length of seams, and along submerged structure. Use floating lines small to moderately sized streamers with slow retrieves with vertical jigs of the rod tip.
Dry Flies – Furimsky BDEs, Palomino Midges, Griffitn Gnats, RS-2s, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Legs, Biot Bugs, Copper Johns in red, black, or olive, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Rojo Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Zebra Midges.
Streamers – Chickletts, Baby Bunnies, Lite Brite Zonkers, Krystal Buggers, and Coyote Uglies.