Fishing continues to be solid on the Snake as it typically is this time of year with continuing hatches of Hecubas, mahogany duns, October caddis, infrequen PMDs, and blue-winged olives. It is a true smorgasbord on most days, but expect mahogany duns and blue-wings to dominate the scene on colder and wetter days.
Hatches and surface action are best from about 10am until 4pm, with the afternoon hours from 11:30am to 3pm being the sweet spot. Target riffles, flats, the tail of seams, bankside troughs, and (especially) side channels. Refusals are becoming a bit more common, so be prepared to take a quiet approach to the water you target. It doesn’t hurt to go down in size and take you leader down to 5X at times.
The upper reaches from Jackson Lake Dam down to Wilson Bridge are still fishing well, but the lower reaches from Wilson Bridge down to Sheep Gulch are fishing REALLY well and are a good place to be at the moment.
NOTE: Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are schedules to ramp down on October 2nd to winter flow levels of 400cfs, which should be achieved by the end of the day on October 6th.
Dry flies – Purple Bruces, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Extended Body Cahills and Gray Drakes, Parachute Hares Ears, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Adams, Pink Parachutes, Purple Hazes, Parachute Extended Mahogany Duns, Booty’s Mahogany Dun and BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Rusty Spinners, Stimulators, Goddard Caddis,.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red or copper, Psycho Princes, and Robins.
Streamers – Booty Call Minnows, Chicklets, Kreelux, Sundell’s Night Fire, Sundell’s Moss Fire, and Galloup’s Boogeyman.
NOTE: Future decreases in outflow will be determined on irrigation demand and the recession of inflows following the recent wide-spread precipitation. Starting Tuesday October 10th discharges will be at least 3,500 cfs or lower to accommodate work on the Palisades stilling basin weir wall. This work will continue from October 10th through the first few weeks of November.
Low autumn flows on the South Fork and recent wet weather has put the river in good conditions for dry fly fishing. It’s still not exceptional action, but it is the best the South Fork has produced since the last week of August and the first week of May. PMDs and mahogany duns are prevalent on most days. Blue-winged olive and October caddis are also about in bits and pieces. The best action has been on the Swan Valley reach and on the lower river from Wolverine down to Twin Bridges. Riffles and seams are fishing better than they have all year. Banks, structure, bankside troughs, and flats are still producing best of all. And there is as much action several feet off of your target as there is in tight.
Nymphing has been producing in riffles, along banks and bankside troughs, and on seams at the heads and tails. Six feet of leader is the ideal distance from line-leader joint. A dry-dropper rig is producing just as well with tipper lengths of three to five feet.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, J-Slams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Mahogany Duns and BWOs, Parachute Adams, Pink Parachutes, Comparaduns, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Parachute Extended Mahogany Duns, Booty’s Mahogany Dun and BWO Emerger, and Quigley Cripples.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Copper Johns in red or copper, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Zebra Midges, and San Juan Worms.
Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake – There is a small but very noticeable movement of brown trout moving into the lower Channel. The most activity is from the Channel mouth up to the rock bend. Don’t expect to see a ton of fish, but they are starting to move in the right direction. Don’t go too big with your baitfish imitations. Retrieve slow to moderate and go with tips and sinking lines in the 1.5ips range.
On the lake itself, it feels like lake trout are starting to stage on flats in the vicinity of Brookie Bay, but there is not over the top action quite yet. This should change in the coming week or so. Nevertheless, the is acceptable action with both brown trout and lakers around Mack Point and at the mouth of the Channel.
Yellowstone Lake – Cutthroats are the name of the game right now with good action in the vicinity of Plover Point and in the entirety of West Thumb with small baitfish and damsel fly nymph imitations. Cutties can also be taken on the surface with a variety of dry fly patterns, although don’t expect quite the same action you can get below the surface on retrieval patterns.
We are not seeing a lot of activity by lake trout prepping for the spawn as they typically do this time of year. That should change over the next week or so. In the meantime, fish for lake trout on flats in the three to six feet of depth range and with the same subsurface patterns mentioned above. Use floating, hover, and INT sinking lines. Retrieve slow to moderate, but vary up your retrieval lengths and pause your retrieve from time to time.
Snake River – Fishing on the Snake for big Yellowstone cutthroats has been outstanding with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers all working equally well. Riffles with long running pools (a defining feature of the Snake in YNP) have been the target water producing best. Submerged and bankside structure are a relatively close second. Moderately sized attractor patterns have been productive. Even more productive has been patterns imitating PMDs and caddis, both of which are the most prevalent bugs on the water.
Not a lot of browns running up from Jackson Lake yet. Most of what we have been catching are resident browns and cutthroats. And these can be just as fun and just as big.