It is a rare, if not historic, occasion when the Snake River is fishing on the surface before our fabled South Fork. This year, that is indeed what is happening. The Snake is for the most part crystal clear and continues to drop by the day. And the top water action keeps getting better.
Currently the reaches offering the best fishing are from Jackson Lake Dam down to Deadman’s Bar, Wilson to South Park, and from Astoria down to Sheep Gulch. The largest fish are being caught on the surface from the Dam down to Deadman’s Bar and from Astoria down to West Table.
Not a lot by way of hatches at the moment except for the occasional PMDs and caddis. Terrestrials, however, have come on very strong with grasshoppers and fly ants being prevalent in the afternoons on most sections. Banks and structure are have some of the best fishing at the moment. Riffles and seams will have some action throughout the day. Fish a dry-dropper with about two to three feet of dropper tippet if action slows.
Streamer fishing is not stellar but they are getting into some of the bigger fish in comparison to our surface action. Target slower water at the edge of current margins and seams. Slow pockets along the edge of banks and structure are good targets as well. Fish float or intermediate sink lines as well as intermediate and 3ips tips.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Purple Bruces, Parachute Hoppers, Grand Hoppers, Foam Wing Hoppers, Stimulator Xs, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s Drake Emergers, Quigley Cripples, and Pink Sulfurs.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Golden Stone, 20-Inchers, Copper Johns in red or copper, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, and Lightening Bugs.
Streamers – Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Aurm’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, Booty Call Minnows, and Beldar Buggers.
Flows from Palisades reservoir are at 8,500cfs, the river is clearer than it has been since April, and we are FINALLY getting into the type of serious surface action that will allow you to fish dry flies most of the day. PMDS and some yellow sallies are about, there are a fair amount of grasshopper about, and we are seeing out first mutant stones of the season on the lower third of the river.
For the most part, there is good action on large attractors on the Swan Valley reach and the lower reach below Byington. The same bugs, as well as PMD and sallie imitations are producing in the Canyon. Dry, dry-dropper, and double nymph rigs are working in riffles, seams, flats, eddies, and on banks and structure. Bigger trout are being caught on dry flies in wadeable side channels and in deadwater side channels with flows coming into them from feeder channels.
Streamers are still not slaying fish, but action can be had when they are fished along banks and structure, seams, eddie margins, and in riffle pools. Use heavily weighted baitfish imitations on floating lines, or intermediate to 3ips tips and vary up your retrieves, but lean towards fast strips.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Winged Peanuts, Barrett’s red Ant, Morrish Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers, Stimulator Xs, Parachute Adams, Parachute Hares Ears, Comparaduns, Pink Sulfurs, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Pink Sulfur Emergers, CDC Wing Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, San Juan Worm, Biot Bugs, Epoxy Stones, Foxy Sallies, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, and Copper Johns in red, black, or olive.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silvey’s Sculpin, Slump Busters, Sculpzillas, Kreelux, and Chicklets.
Finally open and, with everyone chomping at the bit for clear water, the crowds have been at or above average over the first three days. Flat Creek has been fishing well throughout the day but no question the best action has been from dawn until roughly 1pm (full disclosure – none of us has been out after 5pm yet this year. PMDs and terrestrials are the dominant bugs on the water. Damsel flies and craneflies have been out as well. Dry fly fishing has been good in seams and bank margins. Lesser so in riffles. Nymphs and sub-film flies are working in the same water, as well as in eddies and riffle pools.
Dry flies – Minimal Mayflies, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns in pink, Film Critics, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Jay-Dave’s Hopper, Whitlock Hopper, Power Ants, Sparkle Ants, Parasol Ants, and Foam Beetles.
Nymphs – Balanced Fur Damsels, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or black, Psycho Princes, Zebra Midges, and Day-2 Midge Pupas.