October is a good time to be on the Snake and it is certainly fishing well, although a noticeable difference between cool days with cloud cover and bright, sunny days. Mahogany duns and Hecubas continue to come on strong on wet days. BWOs are out on cooler days. PMDs are waning but still there (not in big numbers) on sunny days . October caddis are also making more of an appearance. Banks with slow to moderate currents, riffle tailouts, side channels, and eddies are key targets throughout the day. Ledge rock pools, troughs, and riffle heads come on strong after 1pm.
Nymphs are producing throughout the day and are best fished as part of a dry-dropper rig with long tippet in the three to five foot range working in the morning and short lengths – foot and a half to three feet – working better after 12pm when fish start to get more active in the upper portion of the water column. Target the same water as you are with your dry fly rigs.
Streamers fishing has been good, yet there is a lot of variability. Some days are better in the morning than the afternoon. Other sessions fish well all day. Other days are more hit-or-miss. The key is to vary up you retrieves and your depth in the water column. Go with floating lines or INT sinking tips to start out with and switch to deeper rigs in the 3ips to 6ips range if the former isn’t producing. Two things that have been constant is that moderately sized imitations are outperforming larger patterns and faster currents are producing better than slower ones. Target banks, structure, riffles, and seams primarily.
Dry flies – Mary Kays, Circus Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Parachute Hares Ears, Purple Hazes, Copper Hazes, Parawulffs, Booty’s Drake Emerger, Quigley Cripples, Booty’s DL Cripple, and Film Critics.
Nymphs – Duracells, Hustler CDC Lights, Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear Nymphs, Chamois Caddis, Copper Johns in Copper, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Military Mayflies, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Rustic Trombones, Mojo Minnows, SRA Double Bunnies, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at approx. 4,500cfs. Decent but challenging fishing over the past six weeks has transitioned to more consistent action on all reaches with the lower sections from Wolverine down to Menan taking the cake. BWOs and mahogany duns are the name of the game on cooler/cloudier/wetter days (although such conditions have been few and far between). Expect a smattering of PMDs, October caddis, and (even less so) micro caddis on other days. Still some opportunist fishing of attractors throughout the day in most holding water types. When conditions are right, turn to smaller mayfly imitations and larger caddis patterns fished in riffles, seams, side channels, and along banks and structure when trout start to feed more selectively.
Nymphs are producing well but no more so than dry flies except on really warm days with lots of sunshine. A wide variety of patterns are working, but mayfly, caddis, and chironomid imitations are definitely taking the lion’s share. Riffles pools are active from around 11am until dusk. Seams, eddies, and side channels can produce better before and after but not as well as riffles from the noon to dusk period. Dry-dropper rigs (with double nymphs going) might be the best way to go. Short leader (five to six feet) nymph rigs can still work just as well.
Streamer fishing is starting to pick up and nowhere more than on the lower reaches from Twin Bridges down to Menan. Moderately sized patterns are working best, although larger baitfish imitations are still worth throwing. Slow sinking lines – .75ips to 1.5ips – are outperforming other tackle. The next best bet is with short sinking tips (INT to 4ips). Floating lines are still working well but it generally takes either overcast days or hitting the inside turn of riffles and the head of seams. Regardless, hit banks, structure, side channels, confluences, and eddy current margins no matter what you are throwing.
Dry flies – Kasey’s Creature, Barrett’s Ant, Circus Peanuts, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Glar-a-chute Adams, Booty’s DL Cripple, Film Critics, Pheasant Tail Emergers, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Duracells, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Copper Johns in olive or copper, Psycho Princes, Batmen, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Pheasant Tails, Military Mayflies, Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Devil Jigs, Zebra Midges, Jujubee Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Silvey Sculpins, Rustic Trombones, Goldilocks, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Warriors, Chicklets, Booty Call Minnows, Craft Fur Clousers, J.J. Specials, and Marabou Muddlers.
Fishing has been good on all reaches with the upper reaches south of Tin Cup slightly taking the cake. Cutthroats are rising to emergences of chironomids, mahogany duns, and BWOs. Expect to see some PMDs and October caddis around from time-to-time. Target riffles, seams, eddies, and banks. The most productive dry fly fishing is occurring from noon until 5pm.
Nymphing has been good from around 10am until 6pm with a wide variety on patterns ranging from larger CDC soft hackles to minute midge imitations. Fish these as part of a dry-dropper rig running semi-long (4 feet) in the morning and shorter in the afternoon – around a foot and a half to two and a half feet. Target banks, riffles, flats, seams, and eddies.
Streamer fishing has been decent but is best from Freedom down to Palisades Reservoir. Smaller imitations are out-producing moderately sized patterns, although the latter is getting into larger fish. Fish these on floating lines or short sinking tips in the INT to 4ips range and hit banks, structure, eddy current margins, and seams.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Purple Bruces, Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Goddard Caddis, Parachute Extended Body BWO and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Parawulffs, Royal Wulffs, Orange Humpies, Booty’s DL Cripple, Film Critics, Parachute Midges, CDC Midges, and Chez’s Krystal Wing Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Micro Mopscicles, Chamois Caddis, Duracalls, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Pyschio Princes, Robins, Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red, olive, and copper, Howell’s Shuck It, Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Baby Bunnies, Craft Fur Clousers, Lite Brite Zonkers, Pine Squirrel Zonkers, and Krystal Buggers.
Flat Creek continues to fish well for those with patience and an eye on getting into bruiser trout. Chironomids are the name of the game most days with a smattering of PMDs around as well. Mahogany Duns and BWOs can come out strong on wetter, cloudier days, particularly from late morning to late afternoon. Nymphal versions of these bugs are working along banks, structure, seams, and riffles. Fish these as droppers on small dries or with NZ wool indicators.
Streamer fishing is picking up with small baitfish imitations and damsel/dragonfly nymph imitations. Fish the former on floating lines with slow to moderate retrieves. The latter are best fished with floating lines and figure-8 or pinch retrieves to imitate their swimming movement. Go with long leader in the nine foot range and target undercut banks, structure, eddies current margins, and riffle current margins.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body PMDs, BWOs, and Mahogany Duns, Snowshoe Duns, Thorax PMDs, Booty’s DL Cripple, Coles Split-Wing Cripple, Film Critics, Pheasant Tail Emergers, Rusty Spinners, Parachute Midges, and CDC Wing Midges.
Nymphs – Panty Droppers, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs, Military Mayflies, Mopscicles, Chez’s Fur Damsel, Cook’s Dragon Dancers, Mohair Dragons, Road Warrior Damsels, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.
Streamers – Slump Busters, Rickards’ Seal Bugger, Baby Clousers, Woolley Buggers, and Krystal Buggers.
Yellowstone National Park
Madison River – More browns being found with some all the way to the confluence. Less congestion upstream of Riverside than below. Nymphing is productive in all likely holding water types. Streamers – particularly moderately sized imitations – are also producing when fished on floating lines and swung and retrieved through even shallow holding water of less than a foot and a half.
Firehole River – Fishing has been good from approximately 11am to around 4pm with riffles, confluences, seams, and structure producing best when targeting the surface. Micro caddis are emerging along with midges and BWOs. Subsurface versions of these bugs are working best in riffles, seams, and along undercut banks.
Lewis Lake – A good number of lake trout now spawning on the flats and there are now a solid number of browns moving into the channels. Baitfish imitations are working better than anything else. Targeting spawning lake trout will casts averaging 60 feet. Use hover and full sinking intermediate lines. Browns – either those staging or those running – are a bit on the spooky side, no doubt due to the sunny skies and lack of wind we have been experiencing. Safe bet is to go with long leaders (some have been going 12 to 15 feet) and use camo or aqua sinking lines.
Yellowstone Lake – Fishing has been quite good on the surface when targeting cutthroats on flats and drop-offs. Expect the best action to occur from around 11am until around 4pm. Streamers and shallow suspended nymphs (three to four feet) are also producing well. Go with small to moderately sized baitfish imitation and fish them on hover or full sinking intermediate lines.