The Snake continues to fish well on just about every reach with the best action being from approximately 10am until 2:30pm. The morning hours prior to 10am are fishing better than the late afternoon hours when water temps are warming pretty fast and surface activity slows. Take that with a grain of salt, however, because some afternoons are pretty solid. The action after 4pm might not be good for the fish.
PMD emergences remain relatively strong in the morning and early afternoon hours. Caddis are still about in the morning until around 11am when they start to wane. Terrestrials – particularly grasshoppers (in the afternoon) and carpenter ants (in the morning) – are becoming a bit more prevalent and adding to the top water selection worth fishing in a given day. No matter what you fish on the surface, a wide variety of water types can be targeted. Hit banks, structure, and bankside troughs throughout the day. From about 11am until 2:30pm or so, riffles, seams, eddies, and the inside turns of riffles become the top choices to target. Keep in mind that there are signs of fish feeding well off of prime lines.
Subsurface fishing with nymphs is fairly consistent through throughout the day but will also slow a bit in the late afternoon hours. A dry-dropper rig is all you will need during most of the day. Go with a short dropper tippet in the 18” to three foot range and target the same water as you would with your dry fly rigs. Going deeper with a double nymph rig is worth considering if atop water slow down turns into a complete shutdown.
Streamers fishing continues to improve in baby steps with each passing day but a fly fisher can now use a baitfish imitation from morning to late afternoon and expect at least decent action. We have been going somewhat deep with 3ips to 6ips tips or six to eight feet of T-8 and fishing along banks, structure, in riffles pools, bankside troughs, and along seams with slower currents. Varying your retrieval rate is worth doing, as there is no real consistency at the moment in terms of movement.
Dry flies – Circus Peanut, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Winged Peanuts, Mary Kays, Parachute Hoppers, Grand Hoppers, Power Ants, Glass Ants, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulffs, Thorax PMDs, Comparaduns, Booty’s PMD Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs (orange or purple), Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, Psycho Princes, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Robins, and LOF Pheasant Tails.
Streamers – Sundell’s Night Fire, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnows, Booty Call Minnows, Mini-Dungeons, Sculzillas, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, and Krystal Buggers in olive or black.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at approximately 11,400cfs. A bit more inconsistency with the fishing on the South Fork as water temps continue to warm. Nonetheless, there can be consistent action if you vary up your strategies and tactics. The best dry fly fishing has been in the upper canyon and on the lower reach below Byington. The action has been most centered in the late morning and afternoon hours from about 10am until approximately 1:30pm with trout feeding primarily on PMDs in riffles, seams, eddies, and flats. Side channels are also worth exploring on the lower reach. Caddis and terrestrials – grasshoppers and carpenter ants – give anglers a decent chance at fishing banks, bankside troughs, and structure throughout the day. Don’t expect the production, however, to be as hot as it is during the 10am to 1pm time period.
Surface patterns can still be fished in riffles, seams, and eddies on the Swan Valley reach and in the lower canyon, but the time period is a bit tighter – around 11am until 1pm. Nymph rigs are a better way yo go for more consistent production. Double and triple nymph rigs, as well as dry-dropper leader with three to four feet of dropper tippet, are producing in riffles, on seams, in eddies, and along banks, structure, and bankside troughs.
Streamers are a solid choice when fishing is a bit on the slow side, especially in the early morning hours and after 2pm. The best water to target in the morning is banks, structure, riffle pools, confluences, and seams. After 2pm, the action is almost exclusively tight along banks and structure. Use 3ips to 6ips tips or eight feet of T-8. Go with fairly rapid retrieves along banks and structure. Slower retrieves will work best in riffle pools, seams, and confluences.
Dry flies – Barrett’s Ant, Circus Peanuts, Kasey’s Creature, Amy’s Ant, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Hoppers, Club Sandwiches, Comparaduns, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Snowshoe Duns, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, and Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Chicklets, Beldar Buggers, and Sculpzillas.
Flat Creek opened a week and a half ago and has offered some fairly good fishing for those interested in size as opposed to numbers. Nevertheless, we have had to work for fish from the get-go. While there is some rather consistent feeding on PMDs and the smattering of caddis and tricos that are about, more consistent action is coming on crane fly imitations – whether it be larva, pupa, or adults. Dancing or skittering an adult crane fly imitation across the surface will generate some impressive eats (although this does not necessarily result in hookups each time).
Damsel and dragonfly imitations are worth fishing in slower water types with slow retrieves and pauses between every three or four strips of line. Target riffle pools, eddies, and slow currents along undercut banks.
Dry flies – Will’s Crane Fly, Furimsky BDEs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, and Parachute Tricos.
Nymphs – Rainbow Warriors, Copper Johns in black, Rickard’s Stillwater Nymph, Gummy Damsels, Mop Sicles, and Translucent Crane Larva.
Hatches are waning on the Salt but there are still a fair amount of PMDs about and we are starting to see our first tricos on the water (not a lot, but it’s still early August). The surface is the place to be with mayfly imitations and mid-sized attractors, the latter of which are imitating the increasing number of grasshoppers found on the stream margins (carpenter ants are also around, although not to the same degree as found on the Snake, South Fork, and Flat Creek. Much of the action is in seams, eddies, and middle channel troughs from Grover down to Swimming Pool. But don’t ignore banks and submerged structure when they present themselves.
Subsurface action on nymphs is good in the same water as dry flies. Dry-dropper rigs are best. Go with a tippet in the 18” to 24” range. Eats have been subtle, so be on the ball with your hook sets.
Dry Flies – Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Mary Kays, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Thorax PMDs, Film Critics, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Glass Body Ants, and Sparkle Ants.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or black, and Psycho Mays.