Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for September 23rd, 2018

Snake River

A bit of a feeling of staleness a week ago for the Snake, but since then cooler temperatures, with highs topping out in the upper 60s – have moved in. This has set the Snake on the right track for some good fishing to close out the month.  Nonetheless, nothing is easy this year and you will still have to work for your fish.  It’s not the typical September.  Being focused will help a lot.

The best action has been on the lower reaches from Wilson Bridge down to Sheep Gulch. There a still a smattering of Claassenia stoneflies around, as well as a few PMDs during the day.  The cooler temps have also produced some better emergences of Hecubas and (finally!) mahogany duns.  There are still some grashoppers present. Don’t expect to see a lot of bugs on the water unless it is a day with a fair amount of precipitation.  At the same time, trout will being rising to well-presented dries every day, especially during a tight sweet spot from approximately 11:30am to 2:30pm.  Target riffles, bankside troughs with slow to moderate currents, seams, and the current margins of recirculating eddies.  Go with tandem dry rigs on those days when mahoganies or hecubas are out with decent numbers.  Emergers have been working especially well.

Nymphing is very much worth doing regardless of whether you are going with a double/triple rig or a dry-dropper rig.  Double/triple rigs can produce in the morning hours when surface action is a bit inconsistent.  Dry-dropper rigs are working best in the afternoon and on certain reaches (particularly Wilson to South Park and Astoria down to West Table) they are performing better than dry flies.  Target the same water as you will with dry flies.  Go with two to three feet of tippet with dry-droppers and six to eight feet of leader from line to trailing fly for double or triple rigs.  Double/triple rigs are also working well at the tail of riffle pools and along banks and structure with slow to moderate currents.

Streamer fishing remains inconsistent but can be a good way to go in the morning (even though they will perform throughout the day). Intermediate sinking lines and sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range are working best. Target banks, structure, eddies, and the tail of seams.  Vary your retrieval rates but focus most on moderate strips of one to one and a half feet with slight rod lifts and pauses incorporated after every four to six strips.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Stimulators, Mary Kays, Chubby Chernobyls, Bart’s Lipstick, Parachute Hoppers, Dave’s Hoppers, Parachute Hares Ears, Parachute Extended Body Drakes, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and mahogany Duns, Purple Haze, Copper Haze, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Emerger, and Quigley Cripples.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Rubber Legged Soft Hackle Princes, Psycho Princes, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Peach Fuzz Jigs, and and Copper Johns in red, olive, or black.

Streamers – Sundell’s Nightfire, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Beldar Buggers, J.J. Specials, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Muddler Minnows, Rickard’s Seal Bugger, Chicklets, Kreelux, and Sculpzillas.

Note – Releases from Jackson Lake Dam will ramp down starting September 24th at a rate of 300cfs/day (not including weekends) and will reach a winter flow of 350cfs by October 3rd.


South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir are dropping and currently stand at 7,000cfs. As on the Snake, cooler air temps have helped with the fishing on the South Fork.  Dropping flows have helped as well.  You still got to target the right water in the right way and be patient.  If you do, good things can happen.

Mutant stones are waning but there are still some about on just about every reach. PMDs are around in bits and pieces and there are mahoganies present on those days with a little bit of precipitation.  Grasshoppers are still very much present, especially on the lower reaches from Cottonwood down to Lorenzo.  Dry flies are performing best when fished along banks and bankside troughs with slow to moderate currents (particularly with stonefly and hopper imitations), riffles (especially mayfly imitations), flats, and eddies.  Larger stonefly and hopper imitations might be the only game in town in the morning.  Mayfly imitations will hit their stride from about 11:30am until late afternoon.

Nymphs are working well throughout the day when fished along banks and structure, riffle pools, eddies, and seams. Expect decent action in the morning and much better action in the afternoon.  Dry-dropper rigs with anywhere from two to five feet of dropper tippet are working good in the same water as surface patterns  The deeper the dropper tippet the better on most days.  Double/triple nymph rigs will work best in riffles, eddies, and seams.

As on the Snake, streamers have been working inconsistently. Some days they shine, other days they are lackluster.  This is the case on just about every reach, the exception being the lower river below Byington where they are performing noticeably better.  While floating and intermediate sinking lines are working fine, better action has come on sinking tips in the 3ips to 6 ips range or short, five to six foot lengths on T-8 or T-11.  Target banks, structure, riffle pools, and seams.  Slow to moderate retrieves are performing best.  Throwing a mend into your line and pausing before the initial retrieve can help at times.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Snake River Water Walkers, Kasey’s Creature, Barrett’s Ant, Whitlock Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Emerger, Q’s Loop Wing Cripples, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Bitch Creek Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Ligtening Bugs, Copper Johns, in red or copper, Duracells, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, and Bubbleback Pheasant Tails.

Streamers – Galloup’s Bottom’s Up, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, SRA Double Bunnies, Silvey Sculpins, Chicklet’s, Kreelux, Marabou Muddlers, Krystal Buggers, Jointed Urchins, and McKight’s Home Invader.