Caddis continue to pop in the morning and PMDs after 10:30am and terrestrials – primarily grasshoppers, beetles, and a few carpenter ants – can be out in decent numbers in the afternoon. Surface fishing has been best from around 10am until 2pm. Targeting banks can pay off but there can be better production by being several feet off of prime holding water. The same can be said for seams and riffles, with better action coming at the tails (although the heads of each can produce before 11:30am). At times, fishing on the surface after 2pm can result in very slow production, particularly on the reaches from the Dam down to Wilson Bridge. Much of this is due to water temps peaking at 68 degrees mid-water column and close to 70 at the top.
Nymphing with dry-dropper rigs has been good throughout the day but is best during the 10am to 2pm time period mentioned above, although this can extend to around 3pm below South Park Bridge. Keeping you dropper tippet in the two-to-three-foot range is the best way to go. In the afternoon (after 2pm) it can be worthwhile to go much deeper – five to seven feet in some cases – in the right water, such as deep troughs, riffle pools, deep eddies, and ledge rock pools. Double/triple nymph rigs are working extremely well from South Park down to Sheep Gulch in this water throughout the day with seven to nine feet of leader from trailing fly to line/suspension device. This rigging can work throughout the day.
Streamers are producing well but it take a lot of well-placed casts (inches literally matter) along banks, structure, troughs, riffle pools, and seams. It also takes varying your presentation up and focusing on what is producing. Some days, and certain parts of the day, moderate to fast retrieves are doing the trick. At other times, really slow retrieves, and literally trolling your baitfish imitation through your targeted water, is the way to go. Stay focused and be versatile and good things can happen. Moderately sized patterns are working better than larger ones. Floating and slow sinking lines are the standard at the moment, but fasting sinking tips – 6ips or short lengths of T-8 – can work better after 2pm.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Will’s Winged Chernobyl, Rubber Legged Double Humpies, Whitlock Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Parachute Hoppers, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Tent-Wing Caddis, Beetle Bayleys, Chez’s Mega Beetle, Turck’s Power Ant, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, Purple Hazes, Copper Hazes, Booty’s DL PMD Cripple, Cole’s Split Wing Cripple, Q’s Loop Wing Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Nymph Formerly Known As Prince, Duracalls, Hustler CDC Lights, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Panty Droppers, Bruised Mays, Psycho Princes, Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Lightening Bugs, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Craven’s Swim Coach, Goldilocks, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Sparkle Yummies, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Marabou Muddlers, and Kreelux.
Releases from Palisades Dam are at approximately 11,500cfs. The salmon flies are pretty much done for the year but there is still a good smattering of golden stones around, particularly on the upper reaches from the Dam down to Dry Canyon. Caddis and yellow sallies are still around and PMDs dominate the scene for the most part. Water temps are peaking at over 65 degrees on the lower river and around 59 degrees on the upper reach in Swan Valley. This is still safe, but these temps along with intense pressure are having an impact. Fish diligently and target different water then you have earlier in the year like the inside turn of riffles, the heads of seams, and side channels.
Double/triple nymph rigs are working well and continue to pick up fish in the usual spots such as riffle pools, seams, and eddies throughout most of the day. It’s a good idea to go somewhat to full length – 7 ½ to 9 feet – in most waters. Dry-dropper rigs have been most effective in shallower water types like the inside turn of riffles, head of islands and seams, flats, shallow banks with slow to moderate currents, and shallow side channels with moderate currents. 2 ½ to four feet is generally enough.
Streamer fishing has been productive from around 8am to 2pm with large to moderately sized baitfish imitations fished on floating and intermediate sinking lines, sinking tips in the INT to 6 ips range, or short lengths (five to seven feet) of T-8 to T-11 (the latter during the afternoon hours). Go with moderate retrieves with hesitations when fishing below the two foot range of the water column. Higher in the water column, go with line strips of moderate speed and steady retrieves. Target banks, bank drop-offs, submerged structure, riffles, seams, eddies, and confluence. And DO NOT ignore shallow holding water, particularly in the morning and early afternoon hours.
Dry Flies – Snake River Water Walkers, G’s Super Fly, Chubby Chernobyls, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Hoppers, Grande Hoppers, Parachute Sallies, Hackle Stacker Sallies, Stimulators, Mathews’ X-Caddis, Gallup’s Ant Acid, Parasol Ants, Sparkle Ants, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Parawulffs, Purple Hazes, Pink Alberts, Pink Parachutes, Quigley Cripples, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jigs, Brush Hogs, Rubber Legged Flashback Hares Ear Nymphs, Mini Mopscicles, Soft Hackles, Trashcan Nymphs, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Panty Droppers, Bubbleback Pheasant Tails, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns in red or olive, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Egan’s Green Dart, Brassies, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Strolis’ Masked Avenger, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Booty’s Quad Bunny, Keller’s Nightmare, McKnight’s Home Invader, Rustic Trombones, Goldilocks, Geisha Girls, Galloup’s Mini Peanut Envy, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, J.J Specials, Kreelux, and Clouser Minnows.
Caddis, PMDs, and yellow sallies are still hatching throughout the day, although not in the same fashion as they have over the past few weeks. Grasshoppers and carpenter ants are also around. Water temps remain cooler than other streams in the area, so there is more consistent action in the mid and late afternoon time period. Seams, eddies, and riffles are prime targets. Banks and submerged structure offer good production in the morning. Tandem rigs composed of adult and emergent patterns is the best way to fish on the surface at the moment.
Nymph rigs – primarily dry-droppers – are working well throughout the day in the same water as dry fly riggings. With water levels low (below 400cfs at McCoy) fishing droppers with two feet of tippet is optimum. Deeper eddies can be fished with three to four feet, but is not necessarily getting into noticeably more fish.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Micro Winged Chernobyls, Parachute Hoppers, Grande Hoppers, Turck’s Power Ant, Galloup’s Ant Acid, Goddard Caddis, Cole’s U-Con Caddis, Stimulators, Royal Wulffs, Humpies, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body PMDs and Mahogany Duns, Snowshoe Duns, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Rabid Squirrels, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Prince Nymphs, Lightening Bugs, Copper John’s in red, black, or olive, Hares Ear Nymphs, Psycho Princes, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Perdigons.