The Snake is getting into prime mid-summer form and should remain this way for the next several weeks. One thing to watch is the water temperatures, which are getting into the low 60s in the early evening.
PMDs are the primary bugs on the water, with a smattering of yellow sallies and caddis (the latter in the morning and evening) thrown in. Grasshoppers are starting to appear on every reach. Some reaches also have a few carpenter ants around.
Morning hours are a good time to be fishing dry-droppers and tandem dry fly rigs along banks, submerged structure, riffles pools and the tail of seams. Around 11am, action on small dries and small dry tandem rigs starts to kick into gear in riffles, seams, and along banks. There is a bit of a slowdown after 4pm, but it is definitely still worth throwing dry-droppers into early evening.
Streamer action is getting better each day on floating, intermediate and 3ips lines when fished along banks, seams, riffles, and submerged structure. 6ips is usually overkill but these lines are actually working really well, especially late in the day. Regardless, streamers can be fished productively throughout the day on just about every reach of the river.
Dry flies – Cinnamon Bears, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Bart’s Lipstick, Purple Bruces, Winged Peanuts, PMXs, Mellow Yellow Sallies, Goldie Hahn Para-Sallies, Royal Wulffs, Ausable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Air-Flo PMDs, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Pink Alberts, Comparaduns, and Quigley’s Film Critics.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Hot Wired Princes, Copper Johns in copper, red, or olive, Psycho Princes, Holo Princes, and Foxy Sallie Stones.
Streamers – Shaka Zulu, Silvey’s Sculpin, Sundell’s Sunfire, Hog Hunters, McCune Sculpins, Galloups Peanut Envy, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leech, Kreelux, and Chicklets.
The South Fork is fishing solid with flows from Palisades Reservoir still rolling steady at 14,000 cfs. All reaches are producing similar results with consistent hatches of caddis in the morning and PMDs and yellow sallies in the afternoon. The salmon fly hatch is not hitting the way it usually does but they are out there. This is a big reason why large attractors are working well on every reach. Right now the most intense activity is in the lower part of the Swan Valley reach and in the upper Canyon. Nonetheless, PMD and caddis imitation are outperforming everything else you can use on the surface.
At the moment, the best approach is the fish nymph rigs, dry-droppers, and tandem dry rigs in the morning along banks and structure with slow currents as well as riffles and seams. In the afternoon, PMD and yellow sallie imitations start to hit their stride in riffles, seams, and side channels primarily. Don’t be afraid to use dry-droppers during this time period in the same water. They will pick up fish.
Terrestrials like grasshoppers and carpenter ants are starting to appear, particularly on the lower reaches from Wolf Eddy down to Lorenzo. Imitations of these bugs will work well in the afternoon along banks, structure, riffles, seams, and eddies.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Turck’s Tarantula, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Film Critics, Rusty Spinners, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Parachute Sallies, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, CDC Caddis, and Sanchez’s Speed Stimulators.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Psycho Mays, Copper John’s in copper, red, or olive, Foxy Sallie Stones, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Bead Tail Caddis Pupa.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Strung-out Leeches, Clouser Minnows, Kreelux, Chicklets, J.J. Specials, and Bow River Buggers.
Flowing steady at around 450cfs at Warren Bridge and fishing good still, but the action is trending more and more towards an early morning gig. Some drakes and caddis are still about, but the primary bugs on the water are PMDs and yellow sallies. Grasshoppers are appearing more and more each day. You can start out on dries and dry-droppers early. By 11am, there is a noticeable slowdown on the surface but “grabby” fish can still be caught. After 2pm, it becomes a nymphing and streamer game mostly.
Dries and nymphs can be targeted with producing at banks, bankside troughs, submerged structure, riffles, eddies, and seams. In the afternoon, target deeper banks and eddies.
Streamers are working throughout the day on floating and intermediate sinking lines. Later in the day, target deeper water along banks, eddies, and riffle pools.
Dry Flies – Purple Bruces, Winged Peanuts, Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Mary Kays, Fat Freds, Morrish Hoppers, Jay-Dave’s Hoppers, Yellow Sallie Emergers, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emergers, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Purple Lightening, Prince Nymphs, and Robins.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Zoo Cougar, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Bow River Buggers, Beldar Buggers, J.J. Specials, Kiwi Muddlers, McCune Sculpins, and Shaka Zulus.
Flows at McCoy Creek are currently at just under 600cfs. The Salt continues to fish well, although there is inconsistency in terms of the sweet spot from day-to-day. Some days it is squarely in the morning, other times it is an afternoon gig, and others it is a mid-day game. If we had to put our money on it, the best action has been from about 10am until 3pm with dry flies. Nymphs are producing all day long. So fish all day if you can.
PMDs and yellow sallies are the primary bugs on the water at the moment. Caddis are still about in bits and pieces. We are also starting to see tricos, which are a big focus of many area fly fishers. Grasshoppers are about, too. Not the smorgasbord it was two weeks ago, but still pretty damn good.
Seams, eddies and riffles with moderate depth are the main targets in the morning hours with dry flies. In the afternoon, these water types continue to produce, but there is just as good of action along banks, structure, and bankside troughs. Tandem dry rigs are a good way to go. Keep in mind that there is decent action on large attractors, so don’t be afraid to go with a #10 foam bug tandemed with a smaller mayfly imitation.
Nymphs will produce from sunup until sundown, but there is no real reason to go with a double or triple rig. Dry-dropper rigs are all that you will need. Target the same water as you are with your surface patterns, but pay particular attention to eddies and deep cut banks.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Winged Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, PMXs, Parachute Hoppers, Stimulators, X-Caddis, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emergers, Fil m Critics, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Snowshoe Tricos, and Air-Flo Wing Tricos.
Nymphs – Biot Bugs, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Copper Johns, Psycho Princes, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Robins, Christian’s GT Super Flash, and Bloody Marys.