Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for April 20th, 2020

Snake River

Flows from Jackson Lake Dam stand at approximately 850cfs. With water temperatures knocking on the door of 50 degrees, we are now starting to see our first skwalas of the year on the mid-reaches of the Snake from the GTNP boundary south to Snake River Canyon.  It’s just a smattering, but more will be on the way.  This is giving anglers the opportunity to fish #10 to #8 attractors through most of the day with decent to good results.  Surface action has been best between 11am and 3pm in side channels, seams, eddies, the inside turns of riffles, and banks with moderate depths and moderate current speeds.  Midges are still a good option in the same water during the same time period.

Nymphs are producing in the same water as surface patterns and during a larger time frame – 10am until 5pm (although there is a noticeable slowdown after 4pm.  Larger #10 to #8 imitations are starting to produce almost as well as the smaller patterns that have been staples of the past few months, no doubt due to more activity on the part of skwalas.

Streamer fishing has been getting better and better with each passing week.  11am to 3pm has been the sweet spot with moderately sized patterns.  The drop in production that occurs after 3pm can be countered by using larger, articulated patterns.  This can make a 3 to 1 difference some days. Use floating lines and/or sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range and target seams, eddies, backwater channels, banks, and submerged structure.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Stimulator Xs, Parachute Extended Body BWO and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Q’s Loop Wing Cripple, Film Critics, CDC Midge Emergers, and Rusty Spinners.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymph, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Jigs, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Psycho Princes, Batmen, Two Bit Hookers, and Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis.

Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Keller’s Nightmare, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, Headbanger Sculpin, Better Bunny Leech, and Sculpzillas.

Note: Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are expected to go up to 1,700cfs this week.

South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir stands at just under 14,000cfs.  Quite a bit of water for this time of year, and perhaps too much considering the decent fishing we were experiencing between 6,000 and 10,000cfs.  Nonetheless, there has been some good days below the surface with double/triple nymphs fished in riffles, seams, side channels, and along banks and structure.  Nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device produces in most water types.  Some water might require going down to six or seven feet.  Be prepared to make adjustments when necessary.

Streamer fishing has been hit or miss most days.  The days that are on can be worth it.  Both moderately sized and large streamers are working about equally well.  Use floating or intermediate sinking lines or sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range.  Short – four to six feet – of T-8 or T-11 is also worth considering.  Target banks, structure, seams, and side channels and go with slower retrieves with sporadic pauses.  Many eats are occurring on drop after the cast and just as the initial retrieve occurs.

Dry fly fishing is not what it has been over the past month and a half but there is respectable action in slower water currents along banks, in side channels, and on the inside turn of riffles, and some days are satisfying.  This is generally occurring between noon and 3pm.  Larger attractor patterns are picking up fish in bits and pieces.  Midges and blue-winged olives (the latter weather dependent) are offering more intense action, particularly from 1pm to just before 3pm most days.

Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Snake River Water Walkers, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Film Critics, Booty’s DL Cripple, Furimsky BDEs, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.  

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, PR Muskrats, 20-Inchers, Brush Hogs, Duracells, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Copper Johns in red, olive, or black, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Prince Nymphs, and Zug Bugs.

Streamers – McKnight’s Home Invader, SRA Double Bunnies, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Sundell’s Night Fire, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Triple Leeches, Galloup’s Butt Monkey, Silvey Sculpins, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklets, J.J. Specials, and Beldar Buggers.

New Fork

Decent clarity and flows and good fishing if you are interested in size as opposed to numbers.  The best production is coming from the reaches running from the confluence with Pine Creek to the confluence with East Fork  Large and moderately sized streamers are doing the trick when fished along banks, submerged structure, eddy margins and seams.  Floating lines and INT sinking tips are working best. Vary your retrieves up and throw in some hesitations, as there is no really consistency in movement.  11am to 4pm has been the sweet spot.

Nymph rigs fished shallow – four to six feet – are producing in much the same water as streamers but are also getting action in riffle pools and confluences.  #10 nymphs are the size that is taking the lion’s share of fish, followed #12.  So don’t go too big or too small.  At times, moving your nymphs with swings and skittering movements can produce when dead drifting action slows.  Using this technique with a dry dropper rig can produce surface strikes. 

Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Chubby Chernobyls, Winged Peanuts, Will’s Twisted Stone, and Bart’s Lipstick.

Nymphs – Flashback Prince Nymphs, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Pinky Jigs, Mathew’s Sparkle Pupa, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns in red and copper, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymphs, and Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails.

Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Sundell’s Sun Fire, Sundell’s Moss Fire, Galloup’s Zoo Cougar, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Tequillys, Marabou Muddlers, Strung-Out Leeches, and Kiwi Zonkers.