Tricos (especially on the canyon reaches below South Park Bridge and upstream of Pacific Creek)) and PMDs can be counted on most days. Cooler weather with clouds and precipitation can bring out even more intense PMD hatches as well as emergences of Hecubas and the mahogany duns (particularly from Pacific Creek down to South Park Bridge). Targeting riffles, seams, eddies, side channels, and banks or structure with slow to moderate current can produce in solid fashion. Don’t expect it every day, however. There can be quite a bit of inconsistency from day to day or even week to week.
Nymph rigs – dry-droppers, or double/triple rigs – are producing just as well as surface patterns but can also be inconsistent from day to day. They are working best in the morning hours as particularly so on the Canyon reaches. It is hard to judge what depth it is best to be at (also variable from day to day independent of barometric pressure, water temp, natural light, or weather conditions). At times going deep with seven to nine feet of leader is the name of the game. Other times, three to four feet of dropper tippet will do the trick. Either way, target riffles, submerged structure, seams, and confluence currents.
Streamers have been relatively inconsistent but solid days can be had with lighter patterns fished on INT to 3ips tips fished along banks, woody structure, confluences, and the head of riffles. Going deeper with 6ips or T-8 to T-11 tips fished in riffle pools and the tail of seams is less productive but can bring up more 19-plus inch fish than we have seen since pre-runoff.
Dry flies – Pole Dancers, Mary Kays, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, AuSable Wulffs, Purple Hazes, Parawulffs, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Booty’s DL Mahogany and PMD Cripple, Parachute Extended Body PMD and Mahogany Duns, and Parachute Tricos.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Squirmy Wormy, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Copper Johns in red or copper, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, and Mercer’s Z-Wing Caddis Nymph.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Stolis’ Masked Avenger, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Stacked Blonde, and Bow River Buggers.
Good days can be had on the South Fork but much is dependent on variable external factors we are currently experiencing. Sunny days with high pressure requires either streamers or larger dry attractors and stonefly imitations fished tight to structure and banks with fast to moderate current speeds. On cloudy days with precipitation, streamers and smaller dry/nymph imitations of PMDs and caddis (the latter in the morning hours) are working in riffles and riffle pools, edges of flats, and in side channels. Banks and structure are still worth targeting, although expect as many eats and takes to occur several feet from intended targets. Just about every reach is fishing the same.
One interesting note is that brown trout are staging, if not full on making their spawning run. This is especially the case on the lower sections from Wolf Eddy down to Menan Streamers are producing best for these fish at the head of seams, the inside turn of riffles, and on flats. Large dries can also produce on flats with moderate currents, yet are playing second fiddle to streamers. Use moderately sized baitfish imitations with floating and intermediate sinking lines and go with moderate retrieves. Hesitations between line strips every now and then are a good idea if consistent retrieves are not producing to consistently.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Mary Kays, Kasey’s Creature, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Parachute Hoppers, Stimulators, CDC Caddis, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Thorax PMDs, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Batmen, Egan’s Blue Dart, and Prince Nymphs.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Silvey Sculpins, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Silver Zonkers, Woolley Buggers, Krystal Buggers, Galloup’s Barely Legal, Ornaments, and Flash Fry.
Mahogany duns dominate the scene most days and can be downright intense with cloud cover and rain. There is also a smattering of minute caddis and tricos at times. Together they offer a decent to good shot at surface action, but don’t count on it every time hatches are occurring. When fish are on the surface, most of the feeding is occurring close to undercut banks and in riffle pools. Eddies can provide opportunities at well, although not near the same as banks and riffles. The best production has been with emergent mahogany dun patterns and trico adults and spinners.
Slightly better results can be had below the surface with mayfly nymphs in the same water – especially when surface feeding is limited or nonexistent as hatches are occurring – along banks and in riffles and eddies. Larger specimens are being caught with dragonfly nymphs swung and retrieved along undercut banks. This approach is very much hit-or-miss but can be worth it when nothing else is happening.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s Mahogany Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Booty’s DL Mahogany Cripple, Air-Flo Tricos, Parachute Tricos, CDC Tricos, Polywing Trico Spinners, and Rusty Spinners.
Nymphs – Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Copper Johns in black or copper, Hares Ear Nymphs, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Skip’s Furry Dragon, and Mopscicles.