Releases from Jackson Lake Dam are at their projected winter flows for the year and, with extreme clarity, dry fly fishing has been solid. PMDs are still about, as are mahogany duns and BWOs and some intermittent emergences of October caddis. The sweet spot has been from around noon until 5pm. Morning hours are best fished with dry foam attractors in tandem with a caddis or mayfly imitations. Target riffles, banks with slow to moderate currents, confluences, seams, and side channels.
Nymphs are working throughout the day, especially when fished short as part of a dry-dropper rig – two to four feet from trailing fly to surface fly. It can be worth it to go deeper in the morning hours on the lower reaches below South Park up to six feet of leader/tippet down to your trailing fly. Trout are taking nymphs well off of banks. Banks are key targets, but so are riffles, seams, submerged structure, and confluence. It’s almost the same as what we are experiencing with dry flies.
Streamers are producing well with floating line and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range or four to six feet of T-8. Long to moderate line strips and slow to moderate retrieval speed has been the most consistent approach. Use bright patterns primarily and target banks, structure, confluences, and recirculating eddies at the tail of seams. When fishing slower, deeper water, definitely give a good count down of several seconds before retrieving every now and then.
Dry Flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Tent Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachuted Extended Body PMDs, Mahogany Duns, and BWOs, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, MopScicles, Panty Droppers, Durcells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or copper, Egan’s Dart in blue or green, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Sundell’s Sun Fire, Kill Whitey, Silvey Sculpins, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Chicklet’s, and Beldar Buggers.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are running at around 6,000cfs. A nice hodge-podge of bugs on the water with PMDs, mahogany duns, caddis, and BWOs are making an appearance each day. Fish can be caught with larger attractors in faster currents but more consistency comes from targeting slower water types with mayfly imitations. Regardless of what water you are targeting, the best production is coming from riffle pools, riffle current margins, eddies, and submerged structure. Don’t expect lots of action, but there can be some fun hookups, and with larger fish.
Nymphs are proving to be quite consistent when fished with five to seven feet of leader from trailing pattern to line/suspension device for double/triple rigs and three to five feet of tippet for dry-droppers/tandem dry-droppers. Target riffles, the inside turn of riffles, seams, and eddy current margins.
Streamers are working inconsistently with some days being respectable and others being downright good. Productive water is varying greatly. Some days it is slow currents along seams, eddies, and riffle pools and tails. Other days it is faster water along banks, structure, and the inside turns of riffles. Pattern size and color is varying as well. One thing that has offered a bit more consistency is retrieval speed and tempo. Go with moderate speed line strips of one to two feet in length. Hesitations are worth trying from time to time. A lot of follows and chases can occur, particularly in the afternoon. Be prepared to hesitate and feed your streamer as best as you can.
Dry Flies – Barrett’s Red Ant, Morrish Hoppers, Bean’s Orange Crush, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Mahogany Duns, and BWOs, Pink Parachutes, Booty’s DL Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Duracells, Bruised Mays, Military Mayfly Nymphs, S&M BWOS, Redemption BWO Nymphs, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Ice Cream Cone Midges.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Dungeon, P.J.’s Lynch Mob, Galloup’s Sump, Cheech Leech, SRA Double Bunnies, Galloup’s Mini Peanut Envy, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Goldies, and Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.
Broad but inconsistent hatches keeps surface action rolling on most reaches. Infrequen PMDs, BWOs, mahogany duns, appear most days. Tricos, minute caddis, and October caddis can be out some days as well. Moderate gradient reaches are fishing best on days with sun and clear skies. Low gradient portions take the cake on wet, cloudy days. Eddies and seams are the most productive waters to target. Undercut banks and riffles are another good choice. Fish tandem rigs for the best results – either an attractor with and adult emergent mayfly or caddis or an adult mayfly or caddis with an emerger.
Nymphs are fishing best with two to four feet of leader/tippet from trailing fly to suspension device. The best action is coming with dry-dropper rigs, as #10 to #12 attractors are getting into fish despite a lack of larger bugs on the water. Hit the same targets as you would with sinlge or tandem dry flies.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Elk Hair Caddis, Sparkle Caddis, Cole’s U-Con Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDS, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, Comparaduns, Parachute Tricos, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Duracells, Hares Ear Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red, olive, and copper, Batmen, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Soft Hackles, Zbra Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Emerger.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole River – The most prevalent hatches at the moment include white Millers and black caddis. Dead drifting caddis imitations is getting into fish intermittently on seams and the tail of riffles. Better results can be had by swinging soft hackle imitations in riffles, seams, runs, and confluence. Small baitfish imitations – Wolley Buggers, Pine Squirrel Zonkers, and the like – can get into trout when fished along undercut banks and in deep eddies and riffle pools.
Lewis Lake – Brown trout are staging more than running at the moment with the best action coming at the mouth of the channel and upstream into the Lewis Channel about a mile or so. More consistent action is coming with lake trout on shallow flats around Mack Point and at the north end of Brookie Bay. Small baitfish imitations – particularly Clouser Minnows and Rickards’ Seal Buggers – is a good way to go on intermediate sinking lines and hover lines. Slow to moderate retrieves are key with smaller patterns.