Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for August 20th, 2018

Snake River

PMD emergences are fairly consistent on just about every reach of the Snake. The big news, however, is  that we are starting to see our first Claassenia stoneflies of the season and grasshopper are coming on strong.  Carpenter ants are also present just about every day and on every reach.  All of this is a big reason when moderately sized attractor patterns continue to produce and are actually producing better than a week ago and drawing up larger cutthroats.  They are getting into fish in riffles, riffle pools, and seams, but are hitting it big when fished tight along structure and in side channels.  However, cutthroats (including the bigger ones) are holding a fair distance off of prime lines in the early morning hours – from dawn until around 10am.  So keep this in mind.

Mayfly imitations are working best in riffles pools, eddies, and bankside troughs. Fish tandem rigs as much as you can.  Carpenter ant patterns are working in the same water and throughout the day.  Ants can also produce when fished along banks and structure with slow to moderate currents.

Streamer fishing has finally turned on in a big way on most reaches, especially those from Pacific Creek down to South Park. A key strategy to hit tight to structure and banks, throw in a mend, and then almost dead drift your patterns VERY TIGHT to structure and banks.  Floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines are working best when employing this tactic and this approach is also working best in the morning hours.  In the afternoon, hit deeper pools in riffles and seams with sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range and use moderate retrieves with pauses between strips every now and then.  This is not working as well as the “tight to bank and structure” approach in the morning, but it can be the only game in town streamer-wise in the afternoon.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Mary Kays, Parachute Hoppers, Grand Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant. Sparkle Ants, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s PMD Emergers, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or olive, Robins, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Peach Fuzz Jigs, and Psycho Princes.

Streamers – Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Sundell’s Sun Fire, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Chicklets, Beldar Buggers, Woolley Buggers, and J.J. Specials.


South Fork

Its still Caddis in the morning and PMDs after 11am, but, as with the Snake, mutant stones are starting to appear, and on some reaches they are coming out in force. Fishing banks, structure, and the head of riffles in the morning can result in decent action in on caddis and stonefly imitations.  PMDs are the name of the game after noon, with the majority of production occurring in riffles, eddies, flats, and banks with moderate current.  Tandem rigs with a trailing emergers is the way to go.  Keep in mind that banks will also fish in a respectable manner with moderately to large sized dry attractors and hopper patterns (grasshoppers will be present every afternoon for at least the next few weeks).

Nymphing will produce throughout the morning and afternoon in the same water as dry flies. They are working noticeably better than surface patterns in seams and at the head of riffles.  Fish a dry-dropper rig (two to three feet of dropper tippet) primarily, but deeper pockets – eddies, riffles pools, and seams – will fish better with double nymph rigs with six to seven feet of leader from line to trailing fly.

Streamer fishing has not been stellar over the past couple of weeks but there is more consistent action on the lower reaches from Cottonwood Flats down to Lorenzo. Go with slow to moderate retrieves in slower currents and faster retrieves in faster currents.  Floating lines, intermediate sinking lines, and intermediate to 6ips tips will get the job done.

No matter what happens and no matter what rigging you are fishing, hit side channels with slow to moderate upstream currents when action slows (typical from about 2pm until dusk). This is the best approach on the Swan Valley reach and on the lower reaches below Byington.

Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Snake River Water Walkers, J-Slams, Kasey’s Creature, Chubby Chernobyls, Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers, Elk Hair Caddis, CDC Wing Caddis, Mathews’ Sparkle Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Comparaduns, Pink Parachutes, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymph, Duracells, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Mays, Psycho Princes, and Bruised Mays.

Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Teller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Zoo Cougar, Chicklets, Kreelux, and Booty Call Minnows.