Winter flows on the Snake and fishing has been pretty solid over the past couple of weeks with dry flies, dry-droppers, and streamers. Action is best after 11am and gets better throughout the afternoon. PMDs are still about but mahogany duns and BWOs can be more prevalent on cool days and days with cloud cover and precipitation. October caddis are also around intermittently. Riffles, troughs and seams are your most productive targets. Side channels, eddies, ledge rock pools, banks with slow currents and sufficient depth can be just as good after 2pm.
Nymphs are best fished as part of a dry-dropper rig in most waters where dry flies are producing and doing so before the 11am timeframe when dry flies begin to kick into gear. Short double/triple rigs in the four to six foot range are worth trying, especially on the lower reaches from South Park to Sheep Gulch.
Streamers are producing just as well as they have been over the past two month and even better in some cases., although there are some trying days out there from time to time. Moderately sized patterns are outperforming larger baitfish imitations, although larger articulated streamers are getting into larger trout. The most productive water has been banks and structure, followed by seams, side channels, and riffles. Darker patterns are working better than lighter ones. Go with slow retrieves in the morning hours and moderate retrieves after 1pm. Floating lines are working best.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Micro Winged Chernobyls, Tent-Wing Caddis, Stimulators, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Carlson’s Purple Haze and Copper Haze, Snowshoe Duns, Chez’s Bi-Viz PMD, Booty’s PMD and BWO Emerger, Film Critics, and Booty’s DL PMD, BWO, and Mahogany Cripple.
Nymphs – Mopsicles, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Copper Johns in red or olive, Panty Droppers, Military Mayflies, Jake’s Double Money, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Bottoms Up, Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Boogeyman, McKnight’s Home Invader, SRA Bunnies, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Mojo Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Craven’s Swim Coach, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux
The best fishing is being found on the upper reaches from the Dam down to Dry Canyon where PMDs, BWOs, mahogany duns, and October caddis are all emerging in at least intermittent fashion most days. Surface action starts around noon and kicks into a higher gear after 1pm with the hot spot being from 2pm until 5pm. Riffles and riffle pools are producing best. Seams, banks with slow currents, and flats are a distant second but still worth targeting. Flats can actually outperform riffles on days with cooler and wetter weather.
Nymphs are working throughout the day in the same water as dry flies and are producing by 9:30am most days. Riffle, seams, and riffle pools are key targets. Go with five to seven feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device or three to six feet with dry-dropper rigs.
Streamers are working well throughout the system but completely dominate the scene on the low reach from Wolf Eddy down to Lorenzo where browns are staging and actively making their spawning run. Floating lines or intermediate sinking tips are best if providing movement with line strips along banks, structure, seams, and troughs. Working just as well is swinging streamers on full sinking intermediate lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range in riffles, riffle pools, and riffle current margins. Both moderately sized and larger baitfish imitations are working equally well.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Barrett’s Ant, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Pink Parachutes, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s PMD and BWO Emerger, Film Critics, and Booty’s DL PMD, BWO, Quigley Cripples, and Mahogany Cripple.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Mopsicles, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Rabid Squirrels, Military Mayflies, Jake’s Double Money, Psycho Princes, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, McKnight’s Home Invader, Rustic Trombones, Goldielocks, Mojo Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux
Yellowstone National Park
Snake River – Everything seems early this year, and that includes the movement of brown trout from Jackson Lake into the Snake for their spawning run. Pools below riffles has a good number of these fish and they are breaking the surface heavily from around 8am until 2pm, after which this activity calms down noticeably. Fishing streamers on full sinking intermediate and hover lines is producing best. Larger nymphs (think Pat’s Rubber Leg and big Duracells) Can get into fish as well, although not near as much as baitfish imitations.
Lewis Lake – Its October and stillwater fishing on the fly is as good as it has been since June. Lake trout are spawning on shallow flats on the north end of the lake and in deeper water around Mack Point. Browns are moving into the channel above the lake for their spawning activity and we are seeing activity on the downstream part of the lake as browns begin their downstream spawning migration (it’s a solid week and a half early, and everything has been early this year). Use intermediate sinking line and hover lines first (based on you’re the depth of your water column and your retrieval speed – none of which has been consistent). Mornings are bordering on OK production. After 1pm, however, action can increase five fold.