Runoff continues, making the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam the place to be. It’s definitely getting crowded but spacing out and concentrating on the water you have available will pay dividends. Water has a high degree of visibility and more fishing are feeding on the surface. Moderately sized attractors are working, although midge and BWO patterns produce better.
Nymphs, both double/triple rigs and dry-dropper rigs, are the best way to go for action throughout the day. Seams, eddies, confluences, and riffles are the best water types to target. Chironomid larva and soft hackle jigs patterns are taking the lion’s share fish.
Streamers are a close second to nymphs in terms of production throughout the day but some days totally outperform nymphs. Banks, structure, seams, and eddy seams are the waters you should be targeting. Go with moderately sized patterns and fish them on floating and hover lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Steady, moderate retrieves is the way to go with your presentation.
Dry flies – Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Adams, AuSable Wulffs, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Duracells, Rabid Squirrels, Brillion’s Lucent Jigs, Hustler CDC Lights, Lightening Bugs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Egan’s Iron Lotus, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Keller’s Nightmare, Silvey Sculpins, McKnight’s Home Invader, Bennett’s Lunch Money, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Sparkle Yummies, Booty Call Minnows, Lil’ Kims, and Kreelux.
Salmon flies are popping in intermittent fashion on the lower reach below Twin Bridges and represent the best opportunity for surface action on the South Fork. Nothing stellar but there is some decent production from time to time when imitations are fished along banks, exposed structure, the inside turn of riffles, head of seams, and the current margin of eddies.
Nymph rigs are a top notch choice on all reaches and one of the best ways to go on the upper reach below Palisades Dam. Double/Triple rigs are working best in riffles pools, seams, and in eddies. If fishing dry-dropper rigs, go long with your dropper tippet – six feet with a solo nymph and seven and a half feet if fishing tandem nymphs off your dry fly. Whichever way you go, use stonefly nymph imitations on the lower reaches and soft hackle jigs and chironomid patterns throughout the South Fork.
Streamers are starting to work everywhere but are hammering it on the Canyon reach and the lower reach below Byington. The best water to target is the inside turns of seams, banks, structure (bother submerged and exposed, bankside troughs, and side channels. Floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Steady moderate retrieves are the best way to go. Hesitations after the initial cast are also working along banks and structure.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Will’s Twisted Stones, Circus Peanuts, Barrett’s Ant, Bean’s Orange Crush, Stimulators, and Turck’s Tarantulas.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, 20-Inchers, Duracells, Brush Hogs, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Prince Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Egan’s Dart, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Keller’s Nightmare, Craven’s Swim Coach, Rusty Trombones, Goldilocks, Mojo Minnows, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Galloup’s Mini-Dungeon, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Craft Fur Clousers, and JJ Specials.
Salmon flies have run their course for the most part but are still popping intermittently in Box Canyon. Regardless, there is a good mix of PMDs, green drakes, March browns, and caddis (the latter particularly just after dawn some days and after 2pm most days) just about everywhere. Surface action has been best from around noon until 4pm and there is also decent action from 6pm until dusk. Riffles, seams, eddies, and submerged structure is the most productive water to target. Banks are secondary.
Nymphs are producing on all reaches and working best upstream of Island Park Reservoir and and on the lower reaches from Warm River down to Chester. Fishing shallower then typical –five to six feet – is the best way to go, particularly after 12:30pm. Concentrate on riffles, seams, and submerged structure.
Streamers have been most productive on the lower reaches below Warm River. They are working well in the morning and noticeably better after 11am. Banks, troughs, submerged structure, seams, and riffles are your best waters to target. Go with floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Short T-8 heads in the five to seven foot range will also produce in deeper seams and riffles. Moderately sized baitfish imitations are working better than larger articulated patterns. Go with fast to moderate retrieves. Hesitations in line strips is coming in very handy when fishing banks, troughs, and structure.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Twisted Stones, Carnage Drakes, Tilt-Wing Drakes, Booty’s DL Drake Emerger, Harrop’s Last Chance Cripple, Dette Coffin Fly, Parachute Adams, Loop Wing PMDs, Comparaduns, Pink Parachutes, Film Critics, Tent-Wing Caddis, Cole’s U-Con, and Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis.
Nymphs – 20-Inchers, Salvation Nymphs, Duracell’s, Brillion’s Lucent Jigs, Prince Nymphs, Epoxy Back Drakes, Mercer’s Glass Tail Caddis, Mathew’s Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Shop Vacs, Copper John’s in green or red, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Cole’s LOF Pheasant Tails, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, McKnight’s Home Invader, Sculpzillas, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, McCune’s Sculpin, Booty’s Tri-Bunny, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, J.J. Specials, Baby Bunnies, Arum’s Lil’ Kims, Marabou Muddlers, and Kreelux.
Yellowstone National Park
Firehole/Madison – Salmon flies have made quick work of both rivers and have for the most part run their course. It’s still possible to get into good numbers with stonefly nymph imitations. Caddis dominate at the moment and there is a smattering or yellow sallies and PMDs around from time-to-time. Dry fly action has been best from around 10am until 2pm or 3pm, although there is wide variation each day. Caddis adult patterns are producing with PMD and sallie imitations both a distant second. Caddis larva/pupa are working best subsurface. Swinging soft hackles patterns works better on days with cloud cover. Mayfly nymphs are still worth using. Every now and they can outperform their caddis counterparts.
Yellowstone Lake – Flats are fishing best but it is best to target littoral areas within 30 feet of shorelines. Damsel/dragonfly imitations fished on hover or full sinking intermediate line are producing better than other riggings. Go with slow figure-8 or pinch retrieves and hesitate after several line strips. Suspending midge and leech imitations are a close second to the former in terms of production and worth trying where the water column is 12-14ft of depth or more. Baitfish imitations are producing semi-well along drop-offs and when fished on intermediate sinking lines.