Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for May 31st, 2023

Snake River

Runoff slowed a bit a week and a half ago but it is in full swing again, making the tailwater reach below Jackson Lake Dam the place to be for a while.  Flows remain at 280cfs.  The lake is in turnover but hasn’t slowed the action, which has not been stellar but at least respectable some days.  The spillway is crowded but still worth fishing if there is shoulder room.  Further downstream, eddies, seams, and riffles are prime target with double/triple nymph rigs and have been fishing decent throughout the day but certainly not off-the-charts.  Surprising action is occurring several feet off of primary seam lines and eddy margins.

Streamers eats are hit-or-miss on the upper reach but very much worth fishing below the Oxbow with floating lines, hover lines, or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range.  Some days offer more than respectable action. Go with moderately sized patterns and slow retrieves.  They are at least getting anglers into larger fish, with some days the average being over 17”.

Nymphs – Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Duracells, Brillion’s Mellow Yellow, Rabid Squirrels, Copper Johns in red or copper, Psycho Princes, Panty Droppers, Military Mayflies, Lightening Bugs, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge, and Perdigons.

Streamers – J.J. Specials, Flesh Fry, Meat Whistles, Chez’s Clump Dubbing Leech, Booty Call Minnows, Baby Clousers, Lite Brite Zonkers, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Kreelux.

South Fork

Flows from Palisades Reservoir are ramping up and currently stand at approximately 14,000cfs. Tributaries are starting to recede and clear a wee bit. The upper reaches are worth fishing if you have sincere focus. Slow water targets – bankside troughs, eddies recirculating at the tail of seams, banks with slow currents, and side channels – are your best option. These waters are fishing best with deep double/triple nymph rigs consisting of stonefly imitations fished with worm or egg patterns. Fast confluences are producing inconsistently but when they are on they can be worth concentrating on.

Streamers have been less consistent than over the past month but produce best when fished on deep sinking tips in the 3ips to 8ips range or with five to nine feet of T-8 or T-11.  Larger and darker patterns are out producing moderately sized counterparts.  Vary up your retrieves and target slower currents, particularly those running along banks, seams, slow current backwater channels, and bankside troughs.

Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, San Juan Worms, Squirmy Wormies, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, Yarn Eggs, Duracells, Brush Hogs, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, and Brillion’s Lucent Jigs.

Streamers – Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Galloup’s Dungeon, Coffey’s Articulated Sparkle Minnow, Silvey Sculpins, Geisha Girls, Galloup’s Mini Peanut Envy, Rustics, Goldilocks, McKnight’s Home Invader, and Arum’s Lil’ Kim.

Henry’s Fork

Flows remain high throughout the drainage on the upper reaches and off-color on the lower river, but there is starting to be better action on the lower as salmon flies are finally starting to emerge. They are hatching in at least good fashion to the point that fish are keying in on them. The best action has been along banks, exposed structure, overhanging structure, riffles, and seam margins. Caddis and BWOs are the name of the game upstream of Mesa Falls. Target slower water like eddies, troughs, and slow current banks are offering the most consistent fishing.

Streamers are producing best on the lower reaches. Go kinda big on floating lines or sinking tips in the INT and 3ips tips and target banks (particularly those with overhanging vegetation, submerged structure, and eddies.

Dry flies – HF Stones, G’s Super Fly, Circus Peanuts, 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.

Yellowstone National Park

Firehole River – Midges can be found in the morning but BWOs dominate the scene from 11am until late afternoon.  Also look for caddis which might be found in bits and pieces.  They should come on strong here in the next week or so. For the most part, the entire river is fishing well as it typically can after opening day.  Riffles and seams are the general hotspots with nymphs and in the afternoon with surface patterns (especially in-the-film emergers).

Madison River – As is the case with the Firehole, the entire reach of the Maddy is worth targeting but the most consistent action is found on the lower reaches downstream of Riverside.  Nymphing has been productive even with oversized patterns, but Perdigons and Zebra midges are out-performing everything subsurface.  Swinging soft hackles in riffles and near submerged structure has been the ticket from around 1PM to 3PM since opening day, so expect caddis to be hitting their stride soon.