Runoff is beginning to subside on the Snake and we are within a couple weeks of fishing the river with confidence. In the meantime, the best results are coming from the tailwater reach where clarity is very good and flows from the dam have been reduce to 2,800cfs. There is surface action in bits-and-piece in eddy pools and slow runs along banks with moderate depths. Small attractor, midge and caddis imitations are the name of the game if fishing top-water. It is far from reliable throughout the day, but can produce at times when conditions are right.
Nymph rigs are the best choice for consistent action, especially on the upper section from the spillway down to Cattlemans. A variety of stonefly, mayfly, caddis, midge, and attractor patterns are producing when fished in eddy current margins and seams. Riffle can produce but are far more inconsistent.
Streamers are producing evenly from the spillway down to the confluence with Pacific Creek in at least moderate fashion and some days it can be fairly good. Floating lines are working where currents are slow and depths are shallow to moderate. Sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range are producing better in all water types, but especially in eddy pools, seams, and along undercut banks. Intermediate sinking and hover lines are working in slow current water, particularly in the reaches in and below the Oxbow. No matter what lines you fish, go with slow to moderate retrieves but vary your tempo and incorporate hesitations from time to time.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Mary Kays, Stimulators, X-Caddis, Sparkle Caddis, Griffith Gnats, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Brush Hogs, Duracells, Brillion’s Luscent jigs in purple and pink, Two-Bit Hookers, Flashback Pheasant Tails, LOF Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Copper Johns in red or copper.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Keller’s Nightmare, Kill Whitey, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Booty Call Minnows, Jointed Urchins, Kreelux, Chicklets, J.J. Specials, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.
Releases from Palisades Reservoir stand at approx. 13,000cfs. The South Fork is a solid choice right now with the upper reach in in Swan Valley and the lower reaches from Byington down to Lorenzo fishing best. Visibility is at a good three feet or so. Surface action in happening in bits and pieces but not near enough to suggest any kind of consistency despite decent hatches of BWOs on wetter and cooler days. On the other hand, there is good action if you are fishing nymph rigs and streamers.
Stonefly imitations rule the roost at the moment with soft hackle patterns, worms, and attractor nymphs working well at times. The best production is in riffles and seams followed by eddies and followed a little further behind by banks (particularly those that are grassy and undercut. Pay attention to you leader length from line/suspension device to trailing fly – deeper, faster runs will require nine feet of leader while shallower or slower runs and pools produce better with six to seven feet. Faster water takes precedent, but target everything. Time of day is variable. Mostly it is and afternoon game. But some days the afternoon will be primetime.
Streamer fishing is playing second fiddle to nymph rigs but is working on all reaches. INT to 3ips tips are best in faster water with some depth. 6ips tips are working best in slower pools in side channels and seam margins. Vary up your retrieves and allow your patterns to swing at times into the dangle before retrieving for the next cast. And even better approach is to perform downstream retrieves to cover bank and structure edges more thoroughly. Tandem rigs are a good choice when action slows, particularly in the afternoon.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Girdle Bugs, San Juan Worms, Brillion Soft Hackles, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Rubber Leg Copper Johns in red, copper, or olive, and Brush Hogs.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey Sculpins, McKnight’s Home Invader, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, and J.J. Specials.
The Green is receding and offering some of the best fishing we have had since before runoff. This might be just a window before flows begin to rise again as air temperatures warm over the next week. We will see in the coming days.
Emergences right now are primarily caddis and inermis PMDs. This allows for some action on the surface with caddis and PMD imitations as well as dry attractors. Slower water along banks, in eddies, and along confluence seams are producing with smaller patterns. Larger patterns are working best when fished in faster water along banks and structure, bankside troughs, seams, and riffles.
Nymph rigs are consistent producers from the early morning hours until around 3pm. Target seams, eddies, riffle pools, riffle current margins, and banks/structure with slow to moderate speeds.
Streamers are a bit more inconsistent but when they are working it is worth fishing them throughout the day. Floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range are working best. Steady retrieves with slow to moderate line strips is the best approach. Use large to moderately sized baitfish imitations and target banks, structure, bankside troughs, eddy current margins, and pooled water downstream of bankside structure.
Dry flies – Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Winged Peanuts, Double Humpies, Elk Hair Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Cole’s Split Wing Cripple.
Nymphs – San Juan Worms, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Duracells, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or olive or copper, and Flashback Pheasant Tails.
Streamers – Galloup’s Bottoms Up, Galloup’s Butt Monkey, Silvey Sculpins, Dali Llamas, McKnight’s Home Invader, Lil’ Kims, Booty Call Minnows, and J.J. Specials.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole River – A big uptick in surface action over the past week and still decent nymphing. Fishing has been most productive from around 8am until approximately 1pm, after which there is a bit of a slowdown. Riffles and foam lines are the prime target with seams being the next best coice.
Lewis Lake – Hard to beat Lewis Lake at the moment. Not necessarily a lot of surface action, but very consistent below the surface with baitfish, damselfly, and swimmer mayfly nymph imitations fished on hover and intermediate sinking lines. Just as good, if not better, production is coming on midge and scud imitations fished with either motionless suspension or very subtle retrieves. Target drop-offs first, followed by flats. The best action has been from 8:30am until 1pm, after which there is a noticeable slowdown in action.
Lewis and Snake Rivers – The Lewis remains clear as usual and the Snake is clearing fast. Both are producing best with streamers although the lower Lewis and the Lewis/Snake confluence are both offering up more dry top-water action with foam attractor, stonefly, and drake imitations.