Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for October 22nd, 2019

Snake River

Decent fishing upstream of Wilson Bridge but better and more consistent results are being found below Wilson and down to Sheep Gulch most days. Expect to see a smattering of PMDs and October caddis on warm, sunny days and BWOs and mahogany duns on cooler, wetter days. Surface action begins around 1pm most days regardless of weather, although moderately sized attractors will get into fish as early as 11pm in intermittent fashion. Target ledge rock pools (particularly later in the day), riffle pools, eddies (especially those with decent depth), and the head of seams.

Nymph are producing throughout the day but a lot of variation in terms of where the action is in the water column. For the most part, double/triple nymph rigs in the six to eight foot range from line/suspension device can work all day long and can be go-to in the morning hours. In the afternoon, decent to good action can be had on dry-droppers (think two to three feet of dropper tippet) and double/triple nymph rigs that are four to six feet down in the water column. Focus on the same holding water types where top-water flies are working, but also target submerged structure and three to six feet from banks with slow to moderate currents.

Streamers are producing but a lot of inconsistency in terms of the sinking lines or tips that work best. Some days going with eight to ten feet of T-8 or T-11 is the ticket. Other days, tips in the INT to 3ips range are producing. The best approach is to run the spectrum and find what is working, and this can vary throughout the day. Also varying throughout the day is the retrieve and the size of streamer. This is inconsistency at its prime. It can be frustrating, but it can also be a lot of fun trying to figure it out.

Dry flies – Mary Kays, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Tent Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Pink Parachutes, Booty’s DL Cripples, Booty’s PMD and BWO Emerger, Film Critics, and Quigley Cripples.

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

Streamers – Silk Kitties, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Bugaboo Buggers, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Slump Busters, Bi-Buggers, Keller’s She Deamon. Booty Call Minnows, and Galloup’s Mini Dungeon.

South Fork

The upper reach in Swan Valley and the lower reaches below Cottonwood are fishing best. Streamers are producing very well on the lower reaches, and are arguably working better than nymph rigs, which has been the bread-and-butter approach everywhere on the South Fork for the past four weeks or so. Large and moderately size baitfish imitations are working best on sinking tips in the 3ip to 6ips range. Go with slow to moderate retrieves and target flats, submerged structure, riffle pools, and seams at the margin of backwaters.

Dry fly fishing has been spotty at times on all reaches but is definitely best on the upper reaches from the Dam down to Cottonwood. More consistent action comes on those days with cloud cover and precipitation with mayfly imitations as BWOs and mahogany duns show themselves. When this happens, target riffles and riffle pools, eddies, and side channels. Flats can also provide activity when hatches have some intensity.

Nymphs are still the most consistent way to go on most reaches, but especially from the Dam down to Cottonwood. Go with six to seven feet of leader from trailer to line/suspension device and target seams along banks and structure, riffle pools, eddies, and side channel confluences. Below Cottonwood nymph rigs are working and can work well as cutthroats rainbows, and browns feed on eggs in select spots (think flats, riffle pools and riffle tails).

Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Barrett’s Ant, Bean’s Orange Crush, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO and Mahogany Emerger, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Redemption BWOs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, Zebra Midges, Mercer’s Midgling, Clown Eggs, Sparkle Eggs, and Yarn Eggs.

Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Booty Call Minnows, Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Marabou Muddlers, J.J. Specials, and Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.

Yellowstone National Park

Lewis Lake – There is a little sign of brown trout below the lake, but the upstream movement into the channel. The channel is producing with intermediate sinking lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range and small to moderately sized baitfish imitations. Moderate to fast retrieves is the way to go, but there can be a lot of inconsistency with specific retrieves and presentations. So switch it up.. The lake itself is fishing well on flats in the three to eight foot depth range as mackinaw continue to spawn in swarms. Nonetheless, there is a ton of inconsistency from day to day production really comes down to visibility (too much wind chop or nice and placid) and your ability to target individual or swarms of fish. They are being caught with moderately sized baitfish imitations primarily. Damsel and dragon fly nymphs will also produce, as will gray drake and callibaetis nymph imitations (but the latter to a lesser degree). Use hover and intermediate sinking lines and use the retrieve that best imitates the movement of the forage you are imitating.

Snake and Lewis Rivers – The best fishing has been for resident cutthroat and brown trout, particularly above the confluence. Browns are moving out of Jackson Lake, but are still below the confluence of Polecat Creek primarily. Whichever you target, streamers are producing best, and with a wide variety of sinking lines and tips. Go with large to moderately sized baitfish imitations and moderate to fast retrieves. Double and triple nymph rigs are producing when fished along structure, seams, and confluences.