Warmer temps the past two week has kicked off spring in a good way for the Snake. Still a lot of midges around but a lot more Capnias and more consistent emergences of blue-winged olives in the afternoon regardless of cloud cover and precipitation.
Dry fly fishing has been best from about 11am until around 4pm. The most consistency is still found in slower margin of seams and in eddies and back channels with some degree of inflow from upstream. However, there is more action now in the shallow inside turns of riffles and in riffle margins and tailouts, particularly from about 1pm on. BWO and midge imitations are working best.
Nymphing is working throughout the day but picks up intensity in the afternoon hours. Dry-dropper imitations with two to three feet of dropper tippet is the way to go in shallower holding water. Double nymph rigs in the three to five foot range will produce best in deeper eddies, along seams, and in slow current back channels. As well as riffle tailouts.
Streaming fishing continues to produce and has actually been a bit more consistent over the past week or so. Larger cutthroats (17-plus inch) are being taken as well. Floating lines and hover lines fished with smaller baitfish imitations are working best. Go with long, slow retrieves as a default but don’t be afraid to vary retrieves up. Short and fast is, at times, producing just as well. Most of the action has been in slower pieces of holding water near faster currents.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Parachute Midges, Mosquitos, Furimsky BDEs, and CDC Wing Midges.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or black, Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Rojo Midges.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Fruit Rollups, Conehead Woolley Buggers, Rickard’s Seal Buggers, and Booty Call Minnows.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir have been rolling at just over 10,000cfs for the past week. This is primetime to be in a boats for early spring fishing on the South Fork. The fishing right now is probably the best we have had since November. Every reach is fishing well, but the upper portion in Swan Valley and the upper Canyon are arguably fishing best of all. As on the Snake, midges dominate the scene, but blue-winged olives are appearing on a more consistent basis.
Surface action has been best in the afternoon hours, particularly in riffle tailouts, riffle current margins, seam margins, and in back channels with slow feeder currents. Bankside trough can be worth targeting. Tandem midge rigs are working best. BWO imitations are working a bit more inconsistently, but when it is on it is really on, at least for a couple of hours.
Nymph rigs are working best in the afternoon as well and are worth fishing throughout the morning. Double and triple rigs in the six to nine foot range are what we have be using most over the past week or so. Adjust your depth based on the depth of the water you are targeting as well as the current speed.
Streamer fishing has had a big uptick. More fish are being taken on small to moderate sized baitfish imitations but larger streamers are getting into noticeably bigger fish. Intermediate sinking lines and 3 to 6 ips tips are working best. Go with variable retrieves to find which is working best. Pausing for a three to four second countdown before initial retrieves is worth trying also. Target banks, structure, bankside troughs, and seams.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Quigley Cripples, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Parachute Midges, Air-Flo Midges, and CDC Wing Midges.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in red or black, Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis, Booty’s Booty Call Minnow, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silvey’s Sculpin, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Bottom’s Up, Beldar’s Bugger, Chicklets, Kreelux, Booty Call Minnows, and Clouser Minnows.