Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for October 12th, 2019

Snake River

Mostly PMDs and mahogany duns on the water this month but colder and wetter days (which we have had a fair amount of so far over the past two weeks) BWOs show up on the scene and can be out in force. This is especially the case on the lower reaches from Wilson Bridge down to Sheep Gulch. Top water activity is fleeting in the morning hours, although those who wish to be there can get into intermediate action with small to moderate sized attractors. Real production on the surface begins around 1pm and most days gets better until around 5pm or 6pm. Using mayfly emerger, adult, and spinners in riffles, eddies, seams, and banks/structure with moderate currents is the best approach.

Nymphing has been productive throughout the day. On the upper reaches from the Dam down to Wilson Bridge it can seem like the only game in town where hatches and surface action can seem delayed until after 2pm. Going relatively deep – four to seven feet of leader from line/suspension device trailing fly – is working best in the morning hours. In the afternoon, going shallower in the water column, particularly with a dry-dropper rig is a better tactic. Target riffles, seams, eddies, backwater margins, and submerged structure.

Streamers are still producing but are a bit less consistent than they were a week and a half ago. They are still worth throwing and can be worth it due to some of the larger fish they are producing. Banks, structure, eddies, confluence seams, and riffle pool tails are the best waters to target. Go with intermediate sinking lines and sinking tips in the 3ips range. Slow to moderate retrieves with moderate-sized patterns and moderate to fast retrieves with larger baitfish imitations.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, El Caminos, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Stimulators, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Emergers, Booty’s DL Cripples (PMD, BWO, and Mahogany). 

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Lightening Bugs, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Keller’s Purple Head Jig, Copper Johns in red, olive, or copper. 

Streamers – Sculpzillas, McKnight’s Masked Avenger, Keller’s Nightmare, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Krystal Buggers, and McCune Sculpins.

South Fork

You’ve got to work for them on the South Fork at the moment, but doing so can payoff in a good way in size and, sometimes, in numbers. The best production is coming on the lower reaches from Wolverine down to Lorenzo, followed by the upper reach in Swan Valley from the Dam down to Conant.

Dry fly action is sparse in the morning yet still decent enough with moderate-sized attractor patterns targeted at banks, submerged structure, the inside turn of riffles, and seams. There is better action on bugs imitating actual emergences – PMDs, October caddis, and mahogany duns – in the afternoon hours on flats, banks with moderate current speeds, the head and pool of riffles, and the tail of seams. BWO imitations are a much better option on days with cloud cover and precipitation. Again, do not expect over-the-top action. Nonetheless, fishing on the surface can be worth it at times.

Nymphing is not off the charts yet is providing the most consistent action throughout the day. Double/triple rigs in the six to seven foot range from trailing fly to line/suspension device is getting the job done in riffles, seams, backwater margins, and eddy current margins. Fish are being caught higher in the water column in the afternoon than in the morning, so it is worth it to adjust depths by a foot to foot and a half or go with a deep dry-dropper rig with four to five feet of dropper tippet.

Streamers are getting into 17 inch-plus specimens more often than nymphs and dries yet can be very inconsistent from day to day. The best production is coming on smaller to moderately sized baitfish imitations on floating and intermediate sinking lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Slow water pieces are producing best. Target, backwater pools, the tail of riffles, and recirculating eddy currents that rotate into slow backwater areas. Go with slow and even retrieves.

Dry flies – J-Slams, Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Tent-Wing Caddis, Stimulators, Comparaduns, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s DL Mahogany, PMD, and BWO Cripples, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Code Reds, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, olive, or copper, Mini Mopscicles, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Egan’s Dart in blue or green, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Zebra Midges.

Streamers – Kreelux, Ornaments, Booty Call Minnows, Galloup’s Barely Legal, Sculpzillas, Galloup’s Mini Dungeons, J.J. Specials, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.

Salt River

The Salt is offering typical autumn dry fly fishing but action can go bonkers on the surface and below when there is decent cloud cover and precipitation. The best action seems to be coming on the low gradient middle reaches from Thayne down to Swimming Pool. Minute caddis, tricos, infrequent PMDs, and the small mahoganies are all emerging at some point most days, and you should go with their imitations. Using a tandem rig with a small attractor and a mayfly or caddis imitations is producing just as well. Target eddies, seams, backwaters, and riffle pools with shallow to moderate depths.

Nymph rigs, particularly dry-dropper rigs and lightly weighted double rigs in the four to five foot range, are producing very well in a multitude of water types but seem to be working best at the head of seams and riffle. You will also find them productive along undercut banks and the entire current line of recirculating eddies.

Dry flies – El Caminos, Bart’s Lipstick, Chubby Chernobyls, Foam Wing Caddis, Cole’s U-Con, Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Pink Parachutes, Booty’s PMD and Mahogany Emerger, Booty’s DL Cripple (Mahogany and PMD), Q’s Loop-Wing Cripple, and Ellis’ Triple Wing Spinner.

Nymphs – Hare’s Ear Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Egan’s Dart in blue and green, Code Reds, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, Robins, and Brassies.

Yellowstone National Park

Lewis Lake – A lot more lake trout on the flats now on abrupt drop off edges. While the name of the game a week and a half ago was aquatic invertebrate imitations, now baitfish patterns are working just as well. Fish these on hover and intermediate sinking lines with slow to moderate retrieves. Sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range are also producing but hookup rates better with moderate to semi-fast retrieves. Browns have been active on flats and are starting to move into the channel (at least the lower half). Baitfish imitations are working best but there is a lot of inconsistency in terms or the retrieval cadence and tempo as well as the sink rate of your line or tip. The best bet is to vary up the retrieve and change sink rates. You may have to be on the ball with varying techniques and tactics throughout the day.

Snake and Lewis Rivers – Cutthroats are active on the former and resident browns are active on both, and we are starting to see a smattering of browns coming from Jackson Lake (at least in the vicinity of Glade and Polecat Creeks).  BWOs have been very active on colder and wetter days. PMDs are most active are warmer days. There is also a smattering of October Caddis. Riffles and confluence seams are the most productive waters to target. Structure is a close second. Throwing moderately sized streamers on sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range with moderate to fairly fast retrieves has come on strong over the past week and will most likely get even better as the month progresses (although you may have to vary your retrieves and sink rates).

Flat Creek

Cutties can be very active in terms of surface and subsurface feeding, especially on those days that are cool and/or wet. However, as is typical this time of year on Flat Creek, presentation and imitation is key. Midges are a constant and mahogany duns and BWOs can be prevalent most days. A lot of the feeding is in tight to banks and other forms of structure when it is sunny and warm. On colder and wetter days it will be there as well but there can be feeding away from prime structural lies by three or four feet. Micro seams coming off of bank points can have action as well. Riffles and true seams on the other hand have been inconsistent targets.

Lightly weighted nymph rigs are not producing as well as surface rigs but only by a smidge. These should be fished with roughly three to four feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device. If using a suspension device, go as unobtrusive as possible – NZ Wool or small (#12 to #16) dries as part of a dry-dropper rig are good choices.

Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Micro Peanuts, Booty’s BWO or Mahogany DL Cripple, Film Critics, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Klinkhammers, Rusty Spinners, Parachute Midges, Furimsky BDEs, and Stalcup’s RS-2s.

Nymphs – Duracells, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or black, Lightening Bugs, Code Reds, Zebra Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupas.