Variable weather throughout the past two weeks with warm sunshine on some days and down-right cold and wet on others. Throughout it all, fishing has been pretty solid. The extended forecast for the first two weeks of April calls for all-around warm temperatures with highs ranging from the mid-40s to almost 60 degrees. Its classic early spring fly fishing in the Greater Yellowstone Region, and its gonna be good.
The Snake is fishing best on the middle reaches from Moose down to South Park, but there has been ever-increasing action on the lower reaches in Canyon. Not as many blue-wings around as we did a month ago, but Chironomids are going off most days on at least one section of river. This action is happening in slower current margins early in the day (11am to 1pm) and in faster riffles and seams in the mid to late afternoon hours. Takes are slow, so don’t go for lightening fast hook sets.
Nymphing is producing best of all during all periods of the day with 11am to dusk being best. But the more interesting subsurface action has been the big upsurge in streamer eats. Slower water is the key target throughout the day – riffle tails, riffle and seam current margins, and submerged structure in slow water. Expect some respectable results before noon with slow retrieves, but count on double or tripling your hookups after about 1pm with moderate to mid-fast retrieves. Floating lines, hover lines, and intermediate sink tips will suffice.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Mating Midges, Parachute Midges, Snowshoe Tricos, and Mosquitos.
Nymphs – Biot Bugs, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, Copper Johns in black, Dorsey’s Mercury Caddis, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Chickletts, Kreelux, Poodle Divers, Beldar Buggers, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Bow River Buggers.
The South Fork has been fishing decent all winter but has come on even stronger over the past two weeks with good results occurring in a variety of weather conditions on most reaches, but especially on the upper section in Swan Valley and the lower sections below Wolf Eddy. Chironomids are everywhere, but are most prolific from Palisades Reservoir down to the confluence with Palisades Creek. Blue-winged olives are showing ever-increasing presence with each passing week. Both of these will be present in the afternoon hours, and some of the emergences can be intense. The best surface action has been on flats, riffle tailouts, and riffle current margins. Get a perfect of a drift as you can and good things will happen.
Nymphing has been best on the upper reach in Swan Valley with double rigs consisting of stonefly imitations as lead flies and mayfly or midge larva imitations as the trailer. Riffles, seams, and submerged structure are the best water types to target. Six to eight feet of leader from indicator to trailer is more than enough distance, but be prepared to go shorter if the water depth and current speed call for it. And don’t be afraid to use a dry-dropper with 18 to 24 inches of dropper tippet on flats when trout are actively feeding.
Streamers are producing well on the lower reach below Byington. Target submerged structure, seams, and riffle pools. Floating line, intermediate sinking lines, and 3ips tips will do. And go with your moderately sized streamers over your bigger articulated baitfish imitations.
Dry flies – Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emergers, Film Critics, Furimsky BDEs, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Renegades, and Air-Flo Tricos.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Legs, Rubber Leg Flashback Hare’s Ears, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – J.J. Specials, Kreelux, Galloup’s Stacked Blonde, SRA Double Bunnies, Clouser Minnows, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Teller’s Nightmare, and Booty’s Quad Bunny.