A good, solid week of fishing the skwala hatch has past and the Snake is officially in runoff. The best fishing now is on the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam where the water is crystal clear and flows are actually in a sweet spot – 3,000 cfs – that we don’t usually get to see until the final week of May. Water temps are still cool up there – topping out at about 40 degrees – so you still have to work for your fish. But the fish are there.
Streamers have been the most consistent thing going. They are working best right at the dam spill-in and on the lower third of the reach below Cattlemans. Slow to moderate retrieves are work best near the dam with heavy sink tips in the T-8 to T-11 range. Slower retrieves are doing the job below cattlemans. Small to moderately sized patterns are the name of the game. Go with hover lines, Intermediate sinking lines, and sinking tips in the 1.5ips to 3ips range.
Nymphing is spotty but can produce in places and can be a nice change of pace when the streamers fishing slows. Seam, eddies, and submerged structure is the best water to target. Go with six to nine feet of leader from line to the trailing fly. If going with a dry-dropper, go at least six feet with your dropper leader.
Fish are hitting the surface on chironomids (the most noticeable hatch at the moment) but, like nymphing, is pretty inconsistent. Seam margins and riffle tailouts are your best waters to target.
Dry flies – Paracute Midges, CDC Wing Midges, Air-Flo Tricos, and Griffith Gnats.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, black, or olive, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Stalcup’s RS-2s, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir have drop to approximately 15,000cfs. The South Fork is in good shape and has been crystal clear below the dam earlier this week. However, there is some sediment build up in Palisades Reservoir and that is now impacting clarity on the South Fork. Fishing is still decent, but you have to be subsurface and hit the right places.
Nymphing is the best way to go and is producing throughout the day. Larger patterns are working better than smaller ones. Double rigs in the eight to ten foot range have been most productive. Target riffles (particularly the heads), seams, banks, and bankside troughs. Eddies are also worth hitting but are not really producing until the afternoon hours. Don’t expect off the charts action. With some patience, you can still bring in some respectable numbers.
Streamer fishing is producing best on the upper reach from the Dam down to Byington. Sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range have been most productive. Go with variable retrieves but lean towards fast strips. Intermediate sinking lines are working from time to time but with noticeably less action than faster sinking tips. Target banks, structure, bankside troughs, seam tails, and riffle pools and go with larger articulated patterns. Moderate sized patterns will work in bits and pieces but are not getting the numbers that larger patterns are getting.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, San Juan Worms, Prince Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Yarn Eggs, and Nuclear Eggs.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Sundell’s Night Fire, Sundell’s Moss Fire, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Kreelux, and J.J. Specials.