Flows from Jackson Lake Dam stand at around 2,400cfs. Runoff is underway and the tailwater reach is the only game in town. Water temps are slowly warming but chironomids remain the only significant hatch. Nymphs are working best, particularly from the dam down to the Oxbow. It is important to adjust your leader length accordingly. Some of the deeper eddies will require at least 9ft. from trailing fly to line/suspension device. Shallower riffles, bank runs, and submerged structure might require something closer to six feet.
Streamers are working well (nothing off the charts but working better than nymphs some days), on just about all parts of the tailwater reach, especially from the Oxbow down to Pacific Creek. Slow retrieves are working best, but varying up your line strips and putting in some hesitations can help when slow retrieves aren’t producing consistently. Moderately sized baitfish imitations are working best. Go with floating and intermediate sinking lines or sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range.
Dry flies – Micro Winged Chernobyls, Micro Mary Kays, Parachute Adams, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Rabid Squirrels, Duracells, Hustler CDC Lights, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red or black, Matt’s Blue Magic, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Goldilocks, Mojo Minnows, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, Sparkle Yummies, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Woolley Buggers.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at approximately 9,700cfs. Surface action is decent on the lower river with midges and a smattering of caddis popping here-and-there when conditions are right. There can be just as good of action on moderately sized attractors from opportunistic cutties and browns. The best production is occurring in side channels and along seams and in recirculating eddies. There is a little bit of opportunity on foam surface patterns. Nothing stellar yet but it is a nice break during the afternoon from subsurface fishing.
Nymph rigs are producing very well and has finally started to produce a bit more consistently on the upper reach in Swan Valley. Large stonefly nymphs, aquatic worm patterns, and soft hackle jigs are working best. Expect decent action on midge imitations as well. Target riffles, seams, side channels, bankside troughs, and confluences. Slow water along banks can be especially good in the afternoon.
Streamers continue to work most consistently of all with the best production occurring in the Canyon reaches and on the lower river from Byington down to Lorenzo when targeting banks, structure, side channels, riffle pools, and seams. Go with larger and moderately sized patterns fished on floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Retrieves of moderate speed are working best. Slow it down if actions isn’t quite there. Hesitations can help every now and then.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Will’s Winged Chernobyls, Elk Hair Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Caddis-X, Parachute Adams, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Pupa.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Deep Cleaners, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Brush Hogs, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Mercer’s Woven Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mop Scicles, and Perdicgons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Silk Kitties, Goldilocks, Booty Call Minnows, Cross-Eyed Muddlers, Arum’s Lil Kim, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnows, Kreelux, and Galloup’s Mini Dungeons.
Flows have receded fairly significantly over the past week but have gone up a little but with the warmer weather we are experiencing. Nonetheless, visibility is very good upstream of Daniel Bridge. Below Daniel, there is some discoloration coming in from Horse Creek but certainly not enough to hinder fishing. This tends to start clearing around 10:30am and looks much like the upper reaches by 2pm.
Caddis are easily the dominant hatch with some days offering heavy emergences from 1pm until 5pm. BWOs are also present and can be observed in good numbers on cooler and wetter days from 11am until the end of the afternoon. And the first salmon flies of the year have been spotted below Swain’s Bridge. Surface feeding is non necessarily off the charts but can be good enough to concentrate on for a couple of hours. Seams, structure, and eddies are the most active water for dry fliy fishing when it is happening.
Subsurface action is the name of the game. Dry-dropper rigs are working best when fished along banks and fast seams primarily. Eddies and submerged structure are good second choices. Go with three feet of dropper tippet for the best results.
Streamers are really the best way to go for size and numbers, although there is a fair amount of inconsistency with some days offering solid action and others noticeably slower. Moderately sized patterns are working best, although larger baitfish imitations are getting into bigger fish. Target banks, submerged structure, seams, and eddy current margins. Floating lines are INT sinking tips are outperforming faster sinking lines and tips. Go with moderate speed retrieves and short hesitations between each line strip. This presentation works throughout the day, although slower, steady retrieves can perform better before 10am.
Dry flies – Circus Peanuts, Mary Kays, Purple Bruces, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis, Peking Caddis, Speed Stimulators, Foam-Wing Caddis, Parachute Adams, and Booty’s DL Cripple BWO, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Nymph Formerly Known as Prince, Flashback Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymphs, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Gob-O-Worms, Copper Johns in red or olive, Hustler CDC Lights, Duracells, Rabid Squirrels, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Egan’s Dart in blue or green, and Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph.
Streamers – Galloup’s Boogeyman, Silvey Sculpins, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Craven’s Swim Coach, Bennett’s Lunch Money, Kamikaze Sculpins, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Gongas, and Kreelux.
Caddis are waning but still out in good numbers. Salmon flies have started a little later this year than normal but are starting to appear just below Mesa Falls. BWOs can come on strong with cloud cover and precipitation. Dry flies are working best from around noon until 5:30pm on the lower river, although double nymph and dry-dropper rigs are consistently out-performing anything on the surface. No matter how you fish, target riffles, seams, eddies and submerged structure.
The upper Henry’s has been best in Box Canyon where slow current holding water – eddies, structure, and bank edges – are producing with dry-droppers. Caddis imitations are the most productive surface patterns, although midge and caddis larva/pupa patterns will work more consistently.
Streamers are working best on the lower river from Warm River to Ashton and below Chester. Both larger and moderately sized baitfish imitations are producing equally well. Go with floating or intermediate sinking lines and target structure, banks, and seams primarily. Slow to moderate retrieves are key.
Dry flies – Elk Hair Caddis, Tent-Wing Caddis, Cole’s U-Con Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis, Stimulators, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Parachute Midges, Ritt’s ARF Midge Adult, and Chez’s Krystal Wing Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Glass-Tail Caddis, Mopscicles, Military Mayflies, Copper Johns in olive or black, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Craven’s Swim Coach, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, McKnight’s Home Invader, Mojo Minnows, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole River – Inconsistent production with better action coming on days with sun and clear skies as opposed to cloud cover and precipitation. When there is clouds and rain, BWOs and midges will be out in intermittent fashion. Caddis are out intermittently with a bit more sun. None of the hatches are strong, but they are out there. Surface action is sparse. Double nymph rigs are the way to go. Riffles are working best. Seams are a distant second. Swinging soft hackles is producing better than dead drifted patterns.
Madison River – Much like the Firehole, the Maddy has been inconsistent. There are more caddis out than on the Firehole with partly cloud conditions and some sunlight. Surface action is intermittent with double nymph rigs producing noticeably better. Swinging patterns is working just as well as dead drifts. Go primarily with caddis and midge larva/pupa imitations.
Yellowstone Lake – Ice is coming off with the West Thumb being almost completely free of ice. Fishing has been best along littoral areas within 25 feet of banks. Flats with depths in the 8 to 14 foot range that are further than 30 feet away from banks are also producing. Balanced leech patterns hung under an indicator are producing well, as are daphnia and damsel imitations that are retrieved with slow pinch or hand-twist retrieves. Fish the latter on intermediate sinking or hover lines.