Nice, cool and wet weather moved through the Snake River region over this past week, bringing with it broader hatches and more intense surface action most days. Warmer weather is on the way, although the forecast does not call for anything over 70 degrees. Autumn is finally here.
The most productive fishing is occurring from approximately 11am until late afternoon. This has been the time of the day when mahogany duns, infrequen PMDs, and Hecubas, and caddis have been most active. Blue-winged olives are also out on colder days. A wide array of holding water is delivering during this time period, including riffles, seams, especially bankside troughs. Those fishing from Deadman’s Bar downstream to South Park Bridge should definitely target side channels – larger cutthroats are settling into riffles, troughs and seams in even the skinniest of water.
Streamer fishing is not producing consistently, and hasn’t for much of the year since runoff subsided in July. This should change in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, baitfish imitations can and are effective in the afternoon hours when fished along banks and structure with slow to moderate currents and moderate depths. Sinking tips in the intermediate to 3ips range is yielding the best results. And don’t bother going too big with your streamers.
Dry flies – Purple Bruces, Parachute Extended Body Cahills and Gray Drakes, Parachute Hares Ears, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, Parachute Extended Mahogany Dun, Booty’s Mahogany Dun and BWO Emerger, and CDC Wing BWOs.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red or copper, Hares Ear Nymphs, and Flashback Pheasant Tails.
Streamers – Booty Call Minnows, Chicklets, Kreelux, and Silvey Sculpins.
NOTE: Flows from Jackson Lake Dam will begin ramping down on October 2nd to winter flow levels of 400cfs, which should be achieved by the end of the day on October 6th.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are currently at 4,400cfs. The cloud cover and precipitation over the past week has caused a noticeable uptick in surface action, particularly in the Swan Valley reach and the upper Canyon. Mahogany duns and blue-winged olives have been the most active bugs on the water. PMDs have also been about. As on the Snake, the afternoon hours – 11am until 5pm – is when most of the production with surface patterns takes place currently. Target riffles, seams, flats, and submerged structure with slower currents.
Nymphing has been effective on just about every reach of the South Fork. No need to go long with your leader and tippet. In fact, a dry-dropper rig with a dropper tippet of two to four feet is about all you need. Target riffles and riffle pools, seams, eddy margins, and flats.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Mahogany Duns and BWOs, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Comparaduns, Parachute Extended Mahogany Dun, Booty’s Mahogany Dun and BWO Emerger, and Copper Hazes, and Purple Hazes.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Copper Johns in red or copper, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Zebra Midges, and San Juan Worms.