December is here and we are officially into winter fishing mode on the Snake. It is almost strictly a nymphing game at the moment with action on streamers happening from time to time in the mid-afternoon hours. Chironomids are out from approximately noon until 4 pm, but the hatches have been sporadic as have the surface feeding. If you are dead set on fishing on the surface, target current margins and shallow water at the head of riffles and really try and and hit the 1pm to 3pm time period.
Nymphing is most productive the way to go throughout the day. Action is best in the afternoon, but late morning hours from 10am to noon can still be worth fishing. Target riffle pools and the current margin of seams. Chironomids and baetis imitations are working best. Egg patterns are also producing due to the continued spawning of mountain whitefish.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Griffith Gnats, Parasol Midges, Parachute Midges, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Biot Bugs, Glo Bugs, Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, Lightening Bugs, Dorsey’s Murcury Baetis, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges in olive or red, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Sculpzillas, Beldar Buggers, Kreelex, Chiclets, and Krystal Buggers.
Good winter fishing on all reaches of the South Fork, although the lower sections from Byington down to Lorenzo probably taking the cake (but kind of splitting hairs in that regard). There is decent dry fly fishing with chironomid patterns on flats in side channels and the shallow head of riffles. This is an afternoon gig with the action going from approximately 1pm until 4pm.
Nymphing has been very good on the upper reach in Swan Valley and in the lower Canyon from Wolf Eddy to Heise Bridge. Target riffles and riffle pools, seams (especially the tail of seams), flats, and submerged structure. Whitefish are still spawning, and roe imitations are working as good as any other subsurface pattern.
Streamer action is intermittent but it is still worth fishing baitfish imitations, as they are getting into some big browns and cutthroats. Go with slow to moderate, but steady, retrieves and fish intermediate sinking tips or 3ips tips.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Griffith Gnats, Parasol Midges, Air-Flo Tricos, Sanchez’s Krystal Wing Midges, Parachute Midges, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Glo Bugs, Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, Dorsey’s Murcury Baetis, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Zebra Midges in olive or red, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Sundell’s Night Fire, Silvey Sculpins, J.J. Specials, Kreelex, Chiclets, and Krystal Buggers,