Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are currently at 3,000cfs. This is definitely the highest I can remember seeing flows this early in the season. We were dealing mostly with streamers a week and a half ago as fish continued to acclimate to higher water. That acclimation has, for the most part taken place. A little by little, more fish are being caught on dries and nymphs, thanks in large part to increasing water temps in response to warming air temperatures. But it is still sporadic an takes targeting the right water at the right time. Streamers will take the lion’s share of fish. The Snake has about three feet of visibility currently.
Midges still dominate the scene, but we are FINALLY starting to see the tiny winter stones on the banks. Blue-winged olives are also making their first true appearance of the year on cooler and wetter days. All of this is adding more diversity to our pattern selection, particularly on the surface.
Fishing has been most consistent from about 11am until about 4 to 5pm with dry flies on seams, riffles pools, and at the head and inside corners of riffles where the transition from riffle shelf to riffle pool. Nymphs are working throughout the day, although the afternoon hours show a noticeable uptick in productivity. Target the same water mentioned above.
Streamer fishing seemed to be the only game in town about a week and a half ago as flows were increasing. They are still the best way to go with these stable flows we have currently. The best water to target is riffle pools and seams. Banks and structure and also starting to produce. Hover lines, intermediate tips, and 3ips tips have been the most effective.
Expect flows from Jackson Lake Dam to increase over the coming weeks to make room for runoff in the reservoir.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Snowshoe Tricos, CDC Midges, Booty’s BWO Emergers, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Film Critics, and Parachute Sparkle Ants.
Nymphs – Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Soft Hackle Princes, and Psycho Princes.
Streamers – Chicklets, Kreelux, Thunder Minnows, J.J. Specials, Sculpzillas, Silvey Sculpins, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.
Almost ditto of what fly fishers are experiencing on the Snake. Flows from Palisades Reservoir were at 16,000cfs for several weeks, which is higher than I can remember experiencing this early in the season. During the increase in flows, nymphing was the only game in town and you really had to work for your fish. While flows were stable, temperatures warmed and fish acclimated. As a result, subsurface fishing with nymphs and streamers improved and we were seeing a little more action on the surface. Flows have now increased to approximately 17,200 cfs. Fish will once again acclimate and we will see improving production on nymphs and streamers. And remember – the South Fork has resiliency that few other trout streams do. If when flows are ramping up, tour can be caught.
Dry fly fishing is inconsistent, but the afternoon hours are producing respectable results in slow, shallow riffles and on slow seams where side channels converge. Midges and blue-winged olives are what you will see, and their imitations are what you should fish. The South Fork is far from crystal clear on most reaches, but there is still a fair amount of visibility. Nonetheless, don’t waste time just casting dry flies to likely water. Wait until you see consistent surface feeding, then attack.
Nymphing has been quite good, although there is not a lot of diversity in terms of what holding water types you should target. Most of the action is happening in riffles and along banks and structure. Though flows are up, there is no need to go any longer than nine feet of leader from indicator to trailing fly.
Streamers have shown signs of improvement over the past week when fished along banks, structure, and flats. And a wide variety of lines/tips are working. We have been getting hook ups on everything from intermediate sinking tips to 15ft. of T-8. Slower retrieves are out-producing faster ones.
Dry flies – Furimsky BDEs, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Parachute Midges, CDC Midges, Booty’s BWO Emergers, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – – Meyer’s Mysis, Galloup’s Mysis, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and San Juan Worms.
Streamers – Kreelux, Clouser Minnows, Silvey’s Sculpin, Tequilleys, Sparkle Minnows, and Sundell’s Sunfire.