Still some very solid autumn fishing on the Snake, but there is some inconsistency from day to day and section to section. No question that the most consistent fishing has been on the middle reaches from Moose to South Park and on the lower reaches from South Park to Sheep Gulch. The ramp down of flows started on September 28th and, as is typical, the fishing is best on these middle and lower reaches when flows are decreasing. The dominant hatches have been the typical hecubas and mahogany duns for this time of year along with a decent number of PMDs. They are there in bits and piece just about every day. Expect noticeably bigger emergences with cloudy skies and/or precipitation.
The dry fly action sweet spot has been from 11am to approximately 3pm, with a very good amount of grabby fish in the morning hours before the sweet spot start. Expect some variability based on external factors like sunlight, cloud cover, precipitation, and barometric pressure. Target bankside troughs, riffles, and seams. Pay particular attention to bankside troughs and the head of riffles in the afternoon hours. Banks with slower currents and moderate depth are also producing in the afternoon. Don’t be afraid to use a dry-dropper from time to time, particularly in the morning hours.
Streamer action has been good but, as was the case in the first week of September, there is a lot of inconsistency in terms of water to target and the most productive piece of the water column to fish. The best bet is to fish banks, structure, bankside troughs, and riffle pools primarily. Vary up the water column you are targeting. Sometime it is a floating line, other times it is a full-run intermediate sinking line, and other times it has been a good 15 feet of T-14. Keep you retrieves steady with a moderate to fast pace of stripping.
Dry flies – Will-s Winged Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Hares Ears, Parawulffs, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Dun Emergers, Purple Hazes, and Parachute Adams.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph in red or olive, Copper Johns in red or olive, Psycho Princes, and Zug Bugs.
Streamers – Chicklets, Kreelux, Sparkle Minnows, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, SRA Double Bunnies, Silvey Sculpins, Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Booty’s Quad Bunny, and Polar Minnows.
Note: Bureau of Reclamation started ramping down flows from Jackson Lake Dam on September 28th. Winter flows will be at 280cfs on the evening of October 4th
Flows from Palisades Reservoir have been ramped down to 4,900cfs. Better than decent fishing on the South Fork and October – a favorite month for many fly fishers on this river – starts tomorrow. The upper reach is finally starting to kick into gear after somewhat of a slow spell over the past month. Its ALMOST as good as the lower canyon, which continues to fish better than any other part of the river.
Pmds are still dominating the surface scene with a good number of mahogany duns and some caddis also about. Figure 11am to 4pm to be the best time for fishing dries on most days. Riffles are prime targets, as are seams and, when the weather is a little wet and cloudy, flats and banks. Look for a dead-solid drift and consider going down in tippet size if refusals are consistent.
As usual, nymphing has been very good on the South Fork over the past two weeks and allows for more consistent action throughout the day. Riffles and seams can be targeted from early morning until dusk. Banks, bankside troughs, flats, and submerged structure come alive later in the afternoon. Double nymphs rigs are producing well, but some water may be better fished with a dry-dropper rig consisting of two to four feet of tippet from surface pattern to nymph.
Streamer fishing has been fairly consistent and is actually producing as good or better than dries and nymphs on the lower reach below Byington. Floating and full sinking intermediate lines are working best although there is a decent amount of action on 3ips to 6ips tips. There is similar action on large articulated patterns and smaller, more moderately sized single hook imitations. Target banks, structure, flats, bankside troughs, riffles pools, and the head of seams.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahoganies, Comparaduns, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulffs, AuSable Wulffs, Booty’s PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Emergers, Quigley Cripples, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Legs, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, San Juan Worms, Psycho Princes, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph in red, Lightening Bugs, and Rainbow Warriors.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Kreelux, Shaka Zulus, Chicklets, Arum’s Lil Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnows, and J.J. Specials.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake and Lewis River – Still kind of early but over the past few days those of us who have been up on Lewis are seeing a fair amount of activity y lake trout in the stillwater and brown trout in the mouth and outlet as both species are prepping for the spawn. It is mainly a streamer game right now with both browns and lakers being taken on moderately sized baitfish imitations like Mohair Leeches, Litebrite Zonkers, Chicklets, Clousers, and Krellux. Slow retrieves on floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines is the key. Jig nymphs and slow retrieve nymphs are working on non-staging flats in Brookie Bay and in the West Shore Bays.
Snake River – Way too early for most of the spawning browns from Jackson Lake, but cutthroats and resident browns are active and feeding heavily with the recent change in the weather. Surface action is best on BWO and Mahogany patterns, but there can be action on dry attractors tandemed with dropper nymphs in deeper run tails and the tail of riffle pools. Moderately sized streamers are also working on current margins and when fished along structure.