Snake River Angler Fly Fishing Report for October 28th, 2023

Snake River

Solid fishing at the moment with the best action being on the lower reaches from South Park down to Alpine.  BWOs dominate most days, with midges filling in gaps in the early morning hours.  October caddis are also around in bits-and-pieces.  Surface production is good from around 10:30am until 5pm with noon to 4pm being the sweet spot.  Dry-dropper and tandem dry rigs are working equally well.  Target riffles (particularly inside turns) and seams early.  Add submerged structure, eddies, and ledge rock pools to the menu after 2pm.

Streamer fishing is proving to be more consistent than it has been since spring.  Moderately sized patterns in the way to go primarily, although there is still some decent action on larger counterparts in deeper pools in the afternoon.  Downstream retrieves – when applicable – are outperforming most other presentations.  Go with floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range and target riffles, banks, seams, and confluences.  6ips to 8ips are working well in deeper eddies and ledge rock pools.  

Dry flies – Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Peking Caddis, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.

Nymphs – Duracells, Brillion’s Lucent Jig, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymphs, Hickey’s Auto Nymph, Two-Bit Hookers, Lightening Bugs, Frenchies, and Perdigons.

Streamers – Silvey Sculpins, Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin, Craven’s Swim Coach, Sparkle Yummies, Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow, Booty Call Minnow, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, and Lite Brite Zonkers.

South Fork

A LOT of inconsistency throughout the system but two aspects remain true – 1) the lower reaches below Cottonwood are outperforming the upper reaches, and 2) days with cloud cover turn all sections of river on!

BWOs dominate the scene everywhere.  Midges are everywhere as well but are not getting fish to the surface in the same manner.  Look for both to kick into gear with cloudy, wet weather.  In addition, there is a decent number of October caddis still around.  All of this gives good reason to fish surface patterns in slow current targets, primarily those around banks, submerged structure, riffle pools, side channels, and foam-filled eddies.

Typically, nymphs this time of year are most productive when fished as part of a dry-dropper rig.  Right now, action is best when fishing deeper with a double/triple rig in the 7.5 to 9 foot range.  Hit the same water as you would with surface flies, with the caveat that parallel drop-offs are worthwhile targets,

Bright streamers are producing when there is decent sunlight, and darker patterns can work well on those days as well as cloudy days.  Fish moderately sized and smaller patterns on floating lines or sinking tips in the INT to 2ips range.  Be sure to vary up your retrieves.  Target the head of riffles and seams, as well as submerged structure.  Shallow riffle and seam heads are producing particularly well.

Dry flies – Stimulators, Tent-Wing Caddis, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Royal Wulffs, Snowshoe Duns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, and Film Critics.

Nymphs – Micro Mopscicles, Duracells, Cyclops, Mercer’s Beadtail Caddis Pupa, Military Mayflies, Redemption BWOs, Lil’ Amigos, Fuegos, Juju Beatis, Dorsey’s Mercury Caddis, Zebra Midges, Spanish Bullets, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Perdigons.

Streamers – McKnight’s Home Invader, Doc’s Articulator, Sparkle Minnows, Goldilocks, McCune’s Sculpin, White Bites, Flash Fry,  Clouser Minnows, and Mini-Vans.

Salt River

Much more water in the system than typical for this time of year, and that is a good thing.  The most consistent fishing is occurring on the middle reaches from Auburn down to Freedom.  Low gradient sections have been on fire during those days with precipitation.  Expect BWOs across the board no matter the weather (just a lot more of them when it’s wet).  Chironomids are also out in decent numbers and are worth fishing most days and throughout much of the day.

Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Micro Bruces, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, Snowshoe Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Rusty Spinners, Mating Midges, Parachute Midges, Ritt’s ARF Midge Adult, and CDC Midge Emergers.

Nymphs – Cyclops, Keller’s Peach Fuzz, Prince Nymphs, Two-Bit Hookers, Egan’s Iron Lotus, Military Mayflies, Devil Jigs, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Perdigons.

Yellowstone National Park

Lewis Lake – Just a couple O’ three days left to fish in YNP and Lewis Lake is a good place to be for a continuing run of brown trout both up and down stream and lake trout firmly on their beds.  The latter are spawning in the typical depth of three to eight feet but the deeper water has more action in it.  Mack Point is giving fly fishers good action even deeper with less chance of spooking fish.  A lot of browns are on their beds but a lot are still coming in and still staging at both the inlet and the outlet.  Expect a bit by way of crowds.  Go with small-ish baitfish imitations primarily, as aggression is the name of the game more so than nutrients.

Yellowstone Lake – Quite a bit of inconsistency from day to day.  Flats have not been active but drop-offs are definitely producing when cutthroats are eating.  Weeds beds can be a saving grace when all other target water fails.  Baitfish, damsel, dragonfly, and swimming nymph imitations are working equally well.  Think hover and intermediate sinking lines primarily and slow to moderate retrieval speed.

Snake and Lewis rivers – Not intense action but certainly good size on both with cutthroats and brown .  Streamers are unquestionably the name of the game.  Active retrieval is the name of the game, although there is certainly action when swinging your patterns.  Go with floating and hover lines in slower runs.  Sinking tips in the 3ips to 6ips range will be far more appropriate in faster currents.  Brighter patterns have been outperforming darker counterparts.  Moderately sized patterns are the way to go upstream of the park boundary.  Below Sheffield Creek confluence, it is work going with larger streamers.