The Snake has turned on in a big way over the past two weeks with crystal clear water and descending water levels. Numbers to the boat can still be big most days, but we are now seeing many more 12” to 18” fish eating on and below the surface and 19-plus inch fish are beginning to show themselves.
The upper reaches in the Park and the mid-reaches from Moose down to South Park are offering surface action in a wide variety of water including riffles, bankside troughs, banks, structure, and side channel riffles. Seams and eddies have some action later in the day. In the Canyon reach, riffles, banks, and eddies are performing best. Expect fish to be hanging well off of banks and well down in riffles. PMDs dominate the scene on the surface, with a smattering of caddis also thrown in. Nevertheless, moderate sized attractors are out-performing more imitative mayfly and caddis patterns. Expect to see and hear grasshoppers, which have become more prevalent over the past two week and a half or so.
Nymphing has been consistent throughout the day on all reaches, particularly with soft hackles bugs. Dry-dropper rigs are working well in the same water as single dry and tandem dry rigs. Go with 18” to 30” of dropper tippet. Double nymph rigs are also getting into fish on the canyon reach and on the high gradient section from Deadman’s Bar down to Wilson Bridge when fished in deeper riffle pools and bankside troughs. Six to eight feet of leader from line to trailer will be performing best. Very little need to make adjustments to length.
Streamer fishing has only started to pick up in the past few days. Prior to that, smaller trout and a few follows from larger fish were the norm. Now some larger boys are eating. It is not off-the-charts yet, but it should be turning the corner here in the next couple of weeks. Slower water at the tail of riffles, the inside turn at the head of riffle-forming bars, and slow current side channels have been fishing best. Fishing the main current of riffles from the head of the riffle shelf is also worth a try. Sinking tips in the 6ips to 8ips range or six to eight feet of t-8 or T-11 is the standard at the moment. However, lighter tips/lines and slower retrieves are worth a try in slower water types.
NOTE – Water temps are hitting between 64 and 65 degrees in the late afternoon/early evening. It will probably get only warmer in the coming few weeks. Plan accordingly for the sake of the fish, not necessarily the fishing.
Dry flies – Circus Peanut, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Winged Peanuts, Mary Kays, Thorax PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs (orange or purple), Flashback Hares Ears, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Zebra Midge (red, tan, or olive).
Streamers – Sundell’s Night Fire, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, and Krystal Buggers in olive or black.
Hard to beat the South Fork at the moment. Still good stuff on the surface on just about every reach. As on the Snake, PMDs dominate, but there are also continued emergences of caddis (particularly in the morning and late evening hours) and some yellow sallies (which are starting to wane a bit). One caveat is that there is a bit of a slowdown in the afternoon. This might change as flows from Palisades Reservoir begin to recede over the next two months or so.
Riffles are fishing well with caddis imitations during a tight window in the morning from about 9:30 am until 11am. Immediately after that, there is some even better fishing with PMD imitations from 11am until around 2:30pm. Moderate sized attractors will work from the mid-morning hours until around 4pm when fished along banks, structure, bankside troughs, and in eddies.
Nymphing with double or triple nymph rigs and dry-dropper rigs his producing more consistent than dry flies throughout the day and into the mid/late afternoon hours. Fish these rigs in riffles, along banks, on seams, and along eddy margins. Six to nine feet with double or triple nymph rigs and two to three feet with dry-dropper rigs, making adjustments for specific depths and current speeds. Dry-dropper rigs in particular are starting to really get inot fish when fished along banks and structure in the early to mid-afternoon hours.
Streamer fishing has been getting into good numbers and sizes of trout on every reach. No real difference between the use of a larger, articulated pattern or more moderately sized baitfish imitations, although larger ones are producing best when fished along banks and structure. Fast to moderate speed retrieves is the way to go. You should also go with a sinking tip in the 3ips to 6ips range.
Note – As on the Snake, water temperatures are starting to peak around the low to mid-60s in the late afternoon and will probably increase in the coming weeks. Plan accordingly in terms of launch times and how late in the day you fish.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Barrett’s Ant, Chubby Chernobyls, Rubber Leg Double Humpies, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Snowshoe Caddis, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Film Critics, and Booty’s PMD Emerger.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Bitch Creek Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs (orange, purple, or black), Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Bruised Mays, and Psycho Princes.
Streamers – Sundell’s Night Fire, Sundell’s Moss Fire, Booty Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Chicklets, Booty Call Minnows, Bloom’s Wounded Minnow, and Krystal Buggers, and Marabou Muddlers.