Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for August 30th, 2021

Snake River

Flows from Jackson Lake Dam are at just under 3,000cfs.  Cool weather and lower releases are allowing for better fishing than we have had since the first week of July.  Claassenia stoneflies continue to emerge.  PMDs are around on all reaches at some point during each day.  Carpenter Ants dominate the terrestrial scene (although grasshoppers are certainly around).  And Hecubas will be present and in good numbers when wetter weather and cloud cover is in the cards.  It’s the start of autumn fishing on the Snake.

Larger stonefly and attractor patterns are working well in the morning hours and are solid producers throughout the afternoon.  Target banks with slow to moderate current speeds, seams, and side channels before noon.  Around 1pm, they will continue to perform in the same water as well as along fast current banks and structure, troughs, and riffle current margins.  Mayfly imitations will produce best after 1pm in side channels, riffles, seams, eddies, troughs, and banks and structure with moderate current margins.

Nymphs are most productive when fished as part of a dry-dropper system on the upper reaches or as a relatively short double/triple nymph rig on the tailwater reach from the dam to Pacific Creek and on the mid and lower reaches from Moose down to Sheep Gulch.  Keep your dropper leader in the two and half to four foot range throughout the day.  Double/triple rigs are best fished in the six to seven foot range from trailing fly to line/suspension device.  Target the same water you will with dry flies mentioned above, but focus on riffles, troughs, seams, and banks.

Streamers are coming on strong and producing better than they have since pre-runoff in March and April.  Just about every size (including smaller patterns when fished in slower water types) and line configuration from floating to T-8 is working.  Moderate retrieves are the default presentation, but definitely vary it up and with hesitations and faster or slower line strips.  One constant has been downstream retrieves imitating a fleeing baitfish.

Dry flies – Mary Kays, Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Turck’s Power Ants, Sparkle Ants, Parachute Hares Ears, Tilt Wing Hecubas, Booty’s Hecuba Emerger, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Au Sable Wulffs, Parasipper PMD, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Film Critics, and Galloup’s Tilt Wing Rust.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Brillion’s Mellow Yellow, Flashback Hares Ear Nymph, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Psycho Princes, and Perdigons.

Streamers –  Sundell’s Ghost Dancer, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Silvey’s Sculpin, Ishiwata’s Grand Master Flash, Double Fuegos, Mojo Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Kreelux, Booty Call Minnows, and SRA Forage Fish.

South Fork

Palisades Reservoir stands at approximately 20% capacity and flows from the dam are at around 9,000cfs.  It’s a bit more challenging on the South Fork with low levels of water column behind Palisades Reservoir and resulting turbidity.  Luckily, the cooler air temps in the region is still allowing for some solid fishing.  Good numbers and good size can still be had with the right approach.  Mutant Stones continue to emerge as do a smattering of PMDs in the afternoon and caddis in the morning.  Larger stonefly and attractor patterns are producing along banks with moderate to fast currents (although slower currents are producing better in the morning hours) along eddy and seam current margins, and on the inside turn of riffles.  It’s a good idea to be out early and impart movement in your stonefly imitations.  Smaller mayfly patterns are doing the trick when fished at the head of riffles and seams and in side channels, particularly after 1pm.

Nymphs can produce throughout the day but be mindful of suspended vegetation that is starting to occur more and more on the upper reaches from the Dam down to Byington.  Going deep has been the best approach – nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device or four to seven feet on tippet for dry-dropper rigs.  Target riffles, eddy current margins, and seam tails.  Shorter riggings can hammer fish in the afternoon hour in side channels.

Streamer fish has been decent to good most days but can be hit-or-miss at times.  The best production is occurring in the Swan Valley reach from the Dam down to Conant and on the lower reaches from Byington down to Lorenzo.  Slow retrieves with moderately sized baitfish imitations in the best approach.  Fish these on floating or intermediate sinking lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range.  Target banks, structure, bankside troughs, seams tails, and riffle pools. 

Dry flies – Kasey’s Creature, Snake River Water Walkers, Barrett’s Ant, Parachute Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant, Stimulator-X, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Au Sable Wulff, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Peach Fuzz Jigs, Brillion’s Mellow Yellow, Nymph Formerly Known and Prince, Jake’s Double Money, Chamois Caddis, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Bruised Mays, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red and purple, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.

Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Goldielocks, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Kreelux, Beldar Buggers, Murphy’s Bling Minnow, Marabou Muddlers, and Zanac Attack.

Flat Creek

More challenging fishing on Flat Creek but the fish are healthier now with cooling water temps.  The best action has been from approximately 8:30am until noon and then again in the evening hours from 6:30pm until dusk.  Midges, caddis (in the morning), and PMDs (in the late morning and early afternoon hours) dominate the scene.  Mahogany duns are appearing intermittently on days with cloud cover and some precipitation. Not much by way of carpenter ants or beetles anymore but there are some grasshoppers around from about 11am until 4pm or so most days.  Target eddies, seams and distinct riffle current lines primarily.  Larger attractor patterns feel useless in this water but are getting attention from larger cutthroats when fish along undercut banks, seams tails, and the inside turn of riffles.

Nymphs are fished most productively as part of a dry-dropper system or a double rig with no suspension device or a wool/sleeve indicator (think NZ wool).  Target undercut banks, eddies, and seams primarily.  Caddis, midge, and cranefly imitations are producing the best.

Dry flies – Parachute Hoppers, Whitlock Hoppers, Joe’s Hoppers, Micro Peanuts, Micro Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Cole’s U-Con Caddis, Mathew’s X-Caddis, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Booty’s DL PMD and Mahogany Cripples, Film Critics, Booty’s Mahogany Emerger, Parachute Midges, CDC Midge Emergers, and Pheasant Tail Emergers.

Nymphs – Mopscicles, Chamois Caddis, Shark’s Caddis Larva, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Gardner’s Never Bug, Psycho Princes, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Perdigons.