Strange that we are getting deeper in winter and the dry fly fishing on the Snake is better than it has been over the previous three weeks. Much of this is due to the warmer than average temperatures that we are experiencing. There are no blue-winged olives to speak of, but midges come out in force at around 12pm and build in intensity until around 3pm when things begin to wane. Don’t expect to hit any riffle or seam or eddy and find fish on the surface. Search for water with active top water feeding and then stay on it. Fish are really starting to pod up now. If you see a couple of fish in an eddy or riffle, there is likely to be many more.
Nymphing will get you into more fish throughout the day, although not necessarily when fish are in a feeding frenzy on midge adults in the afternoon. If you do nymph, go with chironomid or bwo imitations or good subsurface attractors. There is still some spawning activity by whitefish occurring on the river, so fishing egg patterns in long riffles is a good way to go. Also, if feeding on midges gets a bit too selective and your surface patterns are not producing, you may want to go with a dry dropper. The key is not go too deep and be well under where the feeding activity is occurring. Giving movement to your nymphs can get the attention of trout in the water you are targeting if dead drifts are working.
Dry flies – Snowshoe Midges, Parachute Midges, Parachute Tricos, Parachute Adams, Griffith Gnats, and Parachute Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Prince Nymphs, Soft Hackles, Zebra Midglings, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Krystal Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Booty Call Minnows, Slump Busters, and Sculpzillas.
Good surface action on midge imitations on just about every reach of the South Fork in the afternoon hours. In addition , there is a little blue-winged olive activity on the lower reaches from Kelly’s Island down to the confluence with the Henry’s Fork. This is also occurring in the afternoon. As on the Snake, find consistent top water activity and stay on the water where it is happening. Target eddies, seams, and riffles with long riffle pools. One good tactic at the moment is to move your chironomid imitations with long, slow retrieves and rod lifts to mimic hovering midges. This is working well on both the South Fork and the Snake.
As on the Snake, nymphing will work more consistently throughout the day and will produce even better in the afternoon than in the morning. Midge and BWO imitations as well as general arractor nymphs are the best patterns to go with. And again, ther is still some spawning activity by whitefish, so roe imitations in long riffles, riffle pools, and flats are good targets to focus on.
Streamers are worth using for a change of pace but the production seems to be squarely located in eddies and long seams. Use slow to moderate retrieves and don’t go with anything larger than a size #4 baitfish imitation.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams , Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Snowshoe Midges, Parachute Midges, Renegades, Griffith Gnats, and Parachute Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, Psycho Princes, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Mercury Midges, Zebra Midges, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Krystal Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Kreelux, Chicklets, Slump Busters, Sculpzillas, and Bling Minnows.