Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for May 19th 2023

Snake River

The tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam has fairly consistent visibility and low flows under 300cfs (and this will be the case for the foreseeable future).  There is action at the spillway as well as in eddies, and on seams with nymph rigs.  Fishing deeper water well off the main current line of seams has been the ticket over the past several days. Surface action is sparse with water temps hitting just over 40 degrees, but that will change in the coming weeks. 

Streamers are working well in the spill way and on the lower reach below Oxbow with moderately sized patterns fished on floating and hover lines.  Slow retrieves should be doing the trick, but we have been seeing good action on fast retrieves, so vary things up to find consistency.  Pausing your retrieves for several seconds is working on the lower reaches.

Nymphs – Hustlers, Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jigs, Nymph Formerly Known As Prince, Lightening Bugs, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Copper Johns in red or copper, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.

Streamers – Goldilocks, Geisha Girls, Booty Call Minnows, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Thunder Minnows, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Chicklets, and Kreelux.

South Fork

Flows continue to ramp up with releases from Palisades Dam at approximately 8,800cfs and there is reduced visibility with tributaries in runoff.  Fishing on all reaches is challenging but can be good with focused subsurface tactics.  Nymph rigs are producing on riffles, seams, eddies, and confluences.  Mid-water column is the best place to be, so going with five to six feet of leader from trailing fly to suspension device (depending on weight of patters) is the most productive way to go.

Streamers are working throughout the drainage but performing best on the upper reach in Swan Valley.  They are producing best from around noon until 5pm.  Fish heavily weighted baitfish imitations on floating lines or short sinking tips in the INT to 6ips range.  Go with slow to moderate retrieves and swim your patterns in slower currents.  Target banks, structure, seams, and backwater channels with slow currents.  Larger patterns and moderate patterns are working equally well.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, San Juan Worms, Duracells, Brush Hogs, Mopsicles, Nuclear Eggs, Vailed Eggs, Eyed Eggs, Bat Men, Egan’s Blue Dart, Devil Jigs, Zebra Midges, and Perdigons.

Streamers – Galloup’s Dungeon, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Peanut Envy, Lynch Mobs, Rustics, Galloup’s Mini Dungeon, Goldilocks, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Mojo Minnows, and Kreelux.

Henry’s Fork

The lower river is running off color with tributary inflow. The upper reaches are running higher than average for this time of year. Still some caddis and March browns around but not as many as over the past several weeks.  Salmon flies have not started to pop yet and Rob Van Kirk of the Henry’s Fork Foundation expects hatches on the lower reaches to be six to ten days behind the historic average.  There is inconsistent surface action from time to time when targeting banks, structure the heads of seams, and the inside turn of riffles.  Nymphs are performing better in the same water, particularly with lightly weighted stonefly imitations in the #6 to #10 range and on caddis patterns in the #12 to #18 range.

Streamers are producing strong on most waters with moderately sized patterns getting into fish on floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range.  Moderate retrieves are the best way to go.  If that presentation isn’t working consistently, slow your retrieves down and throw in some two to three second hesitations in slower water.  Target banks, submerged structure, troughs, and eddy pools primarily.

Dry flies – Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Mathews’ X-Caddis, Cole’s U-Con Caddis, Parachute Extended Body Cahills, Thorax PMDs, and Parachute Adams.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Black Stone, Mercer’s Woven Caddis Pupa, Mathews’ Sparkle Caddis, Duracells, Soft Hackles, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Psycho Princes, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, and Perdigons. 

Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Craven’s Swim Coach, Marabou Muddlers, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Krystal Buggers, Craft Fur Clousers, and Kreelux.