Slightly cooler weather along with a couple of days of afternoon rain showers have helped drop the water temperature peaks that have been occurring in the late afternoon. Fishing has been good on every reach and larger fish are being seen on just about every reach with each passing day. Caddis are active in the morning hours. PMDs continue to be active in the late morning to early afternoon hours, although on some parts of the river their presence is waning to some degree. The big news of the past week and a half has been, for the second year in a row, the early emergence of Claassenia stoneflies. This is allowing anglers to fish larger attractors with effect from dawn until about 3pm, when things slow significantly due to high water temperatures (and this is when many of us are calling it quits anyway). They are working in all water types. Pay particular attention to shallower pieces of holding water and to the head of seams and the inside turns on riffles that have significant depth. And give these flies a fair amount of movement.
While attractors are potentially working better than anything else, there is still a ton of action on smaller caddis and PMD imitations throughout the day in most water types. Tandem dry rigs are working best, especially in side channels, shallow riffles, and banks with slow currents and moderate depths.
The streamer bit has been improving and is a great way to go in the early morning hours and, in reality, throughout the day. Smaller fish – 12 inches and under – are making up most of the chases and hook ups. But bigger fish – 16 inches to over 20 inches – are making up most of the Various lines are working, including, floating, hover, and intermediate, as well as 3ips to 6ips sinking tips. Definitely vary up your retrieve. And be prepared to briefly (very briefly) bring your retrieve to a stop once a fish follows, and then continue your retrieve again. They have been hitting after the brief pause.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Winged Peanuts, Bart’s Lipstick, Chubby Chernobyls, Snake River Water Walkers, Grande Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Power Ants, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Stimulators, PMXs, Henrysville Special, Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Last Chance Cripples, Christian’s GT PMD, Film Critics, and Snowshoe PMDs.
Nymphs – Pat Rubber Leg, Foxy Sallie Stones, Copper Johns in red or copper, Psycho Princes, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lighetening Bugs, Robins, Holo Princes, and Hot Wire Princes.
Streamers – Shaka Zulus, Chicklets, Kreelux, Sparkle Minnows, Lil’ Kims, J.J. Specials, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Booty’s Quad Bunny, SRA Double Bunnies, Sundell’s Ghost Dancer, and Sculpzilla’s.
Flows at Palisades Reservoir are at just over 12,000cfs. The South Fork continues to fish well and has experienced an uptick in action over the past couple of days, due in part to lower overnight temperatures and a slight drop in flows from the dam. Nonetheless, you still have to really work for hook-ups most of the time. Dry fly fishing is good on all reaches, with the sweet spot being from approximately 10am to 2pm. This is that mid-day spot when the morning caddis are mixing with the afternoon PMDs. Imitations of these bugs are producing in riffles and eddies, on seams and flats, and on banks with slower currents. It is a good idea to go fairly small with your offerings – #18 to #20 – and fish patterns that will be in or slightly under the surface film. These same imitations will work before and after the sweet spot hours, but there is also decent production on larger attractors and terrestrial imitations when fished along banks, structure, and in eddies. No doubt these bugs are imitating the plethora of grasshoppers that are active on the shorelines, but we are also seeing the first mutant stoneflies of the year (just here-and-there at the moment), which can be matched with the same flies.
Nymphing can be where the action is during the morning and late afternoon hours, either with a double/triple nymph rig or with a dry-dropper system. Target the same water as you would with your dry flies, but also pay particular attention to riffle pools (with double/triple nymph rigs) and the current margins of riffles, seams, and eddies (with dry-droppers).
Dry flies – J-Slams, Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Parachute Hoppers, Sparkle Ants, Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, AuSable Wulffs, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Film Critics, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Snowshoe Duns, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Foxy Sallie Stones, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red or olive, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, and Bead Tail Caddis.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Cactus Wooleys, Jointed Urchins, Chicklets, Kreelux, and Sparkle Minnows.
Flat Creek opened this past week and fishing has been its typical early season self with good action on the surface during the early morning hours and near dusk. There is decent action below the surface during the mid-day hours (call it 10am to 7pm) but we really need more cool temps and some precipitation to fire up fishing during this time period. Caddis are active in the morning hours, with PMDs coming around after that, although not with the same intensity. Damselflies and crane flies are also evident throughout the day. Undercut banks can be fished most effective with PMD and caddis larva imitations. Riffle pools and eddies have actually been fishing well with damsel and dragonfly larva with slow retrieves.
Dry Flies – Elk Hair Caddis, Speed Stimulators, CDC Wing caddis, X-Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Quigley Film Critics, Snowshoe Tricos, Air-Flo Tricos,and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Bead Tail Caddis, Copper Johns in red, black, or olive, Robins, Bruised Mays, LOF Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackles, Sanchez’s Fur Damsel, and Rickard’s Stillwater Nymph.