Runoff is on and the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam is the one piece of water that has significant clarity as always (flows currently stand at 4,000cfs and are rising). Water temps have rising into the 43 degree range, which in turn has sparked a smattering of skwalas. If you hit the right water and get it in their faces, the fish will eat most days. Don’t expect excellent surface action. Nonetheless, there can be enough activity in the right places to keep you happy if you don’t get greedy.
The upper half of this section is fishing best with double/triple nymph rigs with seven to nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line or indicator. Target eddy seams, riffles, confluences, and deeply submerged structure. In this places with substantial depth (seven feet or more) and slow currents, it is worthwhile to go with heavier rigs. Going with a dry-dropper in slower water tips can be a smart move.
Streamers are working in decent fashion on the upper half of this reach but they really hit their stride on the lower half. It is best to fish with heavy tips – 3ips to 8ips or ten foot lengths of T-8 or T-11 – and target the same water as you are with nymph rigs. Banks are worth targeting as well. Go with slow to moderate retrieves. Streamers really shine on the lower reach where banks and structure are the prime targets. Floating, hover, and intermediate sinking lines are working best. Slow retrieves with hesitations between every four to six line strips is the most productive presentation at the moment.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Bart’s Lipstick, and Chubby Chernobyls.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jig, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, black or olive, Ray Charles, Lil’ Foams in chartreuse or purple, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, RS-2s, and Dorsey’s Mercury Midge.
Streamers – Galoup’s Peanut Envy, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Stung-out Leeches, Baby Bunnies, Chicklets, Lil’ Kims, and Kreelux.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir currently stand at 13,000cfs and there is a little bit of move towards more clarity. We will see how long this lasts. It is still very much a subsurface game with nymphs and streamers, but this is noticeably better as well compared to a couple of weeks ago. Flows may go up in the coming weeks, but just about everyone has caught a respectable number of fish on the South Fork even when flows are nearing 20,000cfs. Even higher.
Caddis are about from time to time but it is still a subsurface game. Nymph rigs are working best on the upper reaches from the dam down to Wolf Eddy when targeting riffle pools, seam tails, flats with moderate depths, and the current margin of eddies. Still go with nine to twelve feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension devices. Egg patterns are a go-to on choice on rainbow beds, but don’t feel that these should be your only target. The other water types mentioned above are worthy as well and are producing in more than a respectable manner.
Streamers are not producing as consistent as nymph rigs (still some cool water temps) but they are worth trying and are actually working better on the lower reaches (below the canyon) than nymphs. Target slower currents along banks and structure, side channel pools, and pools on the inside turn of riffles. Go with 3ips to 6ips tips and slow to moderate retrieves. It is worth trying double streamer rigs consisting of moderately sized baitfish imitations with the lead pattern tied on the tag end of a tippet splice joint. This rig can produce in moderately fast currents more so than larger patterns fished solo.
Nymphs – Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
Streamers – Silk Kitties, Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Sundell’s Night Fire, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Bow River Buggers, and Chicklets.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Jigs, Zug Bugs, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, San Juan Worms, Veiled Eggs, Glo Bugs, Nuclear Eggs, Clown Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs.
The Hank’s is a good place to be at the moment with hatches of march browns and caddis the vast majority of days after 11am and some blue-winged olives added to the mix when there is clouds and some precipitation. The best action has been on the lower reaches from Warm River down to Chester. Target structure, bankside troughs, riffles and eddy seams with your nymph rigs and/or dry patterns (particularly tandem dry rigs). Nymphs are performing best along structure and eddy seams.
Streamers are certainly worth fishing on the lower reaches of the Henry’s Fork from Ora Bridge down to Chester. Fish these on full sinking intermediate lines or intermediate to 3ips tips and go with moderate retrieves and hesitations every now and them between line strips. Swinging baitfish imitations through deeper riffles pools from the top of the shelf has been working very well.
Keep in mind that some tributaries are coming in a bit on the darker side, so don’t expect top notch visibility. Nevertheless, surface patterns will produce as they usually do on the Hank’s this time of year.
Dry flies – Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body Cahills, Copper Hazes, Quigley Cripples, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Booty’s BWO Emerger, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Lightening Bugs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymphs, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Psycho Princes, Mercer’s Bead Tail Caddis, Soft Hackles, and Copper Johns in red, black, or olive.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Silk Kitties, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Mini-Dungeons, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Headbanger Sculpins.