No better place to be in the area right now than the Snake River. Mutant stoneflies continue to pop, there are more and hecubas around, and we are seeing our first mahogany duns of the year on those days with cloudy and precipitation. Tricos are emerging strong on the tailwater reach below the dam and down in the canyon from South Park down to West Table. Add in the continuing hatches of grasshoppers and PMDs on every reach, and you have the ingredients for some great early autumn fishing.
Banks, structure, current margins, and riffles pools are prime targets in the morning with larger dry attractors. These patterns will continue to produce in afternoon hours, but a good amount of movement is generally required. Despite the productivity of these flies, the afternoon is when smaller mayfly patterns will shine. They are producing in riffles, seams, bankside troughs, along submerged structure, and (especially) in side channels. It is a good idea to go with tandem dry rigs in most of these water types, as they are seriously outperforming single dries.
Streamers are coming on stronger and stronger with each passing week. There are “grabby” fish to be had in the morning, but, as with surface action, the best action on streamers has been from approximately 10:30am to about 3pm. Target banks, structure, seams, and riffle pools. Vary up your retrieves and fish your rigging on floating lines with nine feet of leader or intermediate sinking to 3 ips tips and five to six feet of leader.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Snake River Water Walkers, Bart’s Lipstick, Morrish Hoppers, Grand Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Parachute Hares Ears, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Quad Wing Drakes, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Film Critics, Air-Flo Tricos, and Parachute Tricos.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, Kreelux, Beldar Buggers, Booty’s Quad Bunny Leech, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Peanut Envy. Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey’s Sculpin, and Sundell’s Shadow Dancer.
Flows at Palisades Dam are at approximately 9,500cfs. The South Fork is still fishing well on the surface and on nymphs, although there are just as many challenging days when you have to work for your fish as there are days when things go as easy as pie. Either way, the South Fork is definitely worth fishing at the moment. The sweet spot for dry flies has been from 11am until about 3pm, when PMDs are out in force. This is the time to target riffles, seams, flats, and eddies with PMD emergers and adults or with a dry attractor and a short dropper. Prior to 11am, grabby fish can be had with attractors in the #8 to #10 range that are imitating the mutant stones that are starting to appear. Pay special attention to current margins on riffles and seams.
Nymphing has been effective throughout the day, although things slow noticeably in the mid to late afternoon hours. Target banks, bankside troughs, riffles, and seams, and go with longer leaders that are seven to nine feet from indicator to trailing nymph. A dry-dropper with a foot-and-a-half to three feet of tippet is working in riffles and flats in the late morning to mid-afternoon hours as PMDs begin to emerger.
Streamer fishing has been fairly good, particularly on the upper reach in Swan Valley and throughout the canyon. The best action has been in riffle pools and along banks and submerged structure. Fish floating and intermediate sinking lines and vary your retrieve up, but lean towards slow, two-foot line strips.
Dry flies – J Slams, Snake River Water Walkers, Chubby Chernobyls, Kasey’s Creature, AuSable Wulffs, Royal Wulffs, Comparaduns, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Last Chance Cripples, Film Critics, Elk Hair Caddis, Tent-Wing Caddis, and Stimulators.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red or olive, Psycho Princes, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, and Soft Hackles.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil Kim, Kreelux, Chicklets, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, SRA Double Bunnies, and Marabou Muddlers.