Cutties have moved into their winter lies for the most part – primarily backwater channels, large eddies, and deeper riffle pools with moderate current speeds. Nonetheless, there still are a fair amount of fish holding in typical summer and autumn water such as seams, riffles and bankside troughs. The action in the former is starting around noon-ish, while the latter might not turn on until around 2pm or later. Both are worth hitting if you time it right.
Chironomids are the name of the game for the most part. Any BWO activity is sporadic and it takes having an afternoon with somewhat warmer temps (in the 40’s, which we haven’t had a lot of so far this month). But when it happen, it can be really good.
The best dry fly action has been with midge imitations in the afternoon – think 1pm to 4pm – at the head of riffles, on riffle shelves with moderate currents and depths, and at the inside turns of riffles. It’s a tight window, but it can definitely be worth it.
The whitefish spawn is certainly on and can be visible to the observant eye in riffle pools and tailouts. This makes fishing egg patterns in the same water worthwhile and can get you into fish during the morning hours when other subsurface patterns other flies are not necessarily working.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Griffith Gnats, Parachute Midges, Snowshoe Midges, Mating Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, Olive Hares Ear Nymphs, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, and Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at holding steady at roughly 900cfs and will likely stay there until early spring. Not stellar fishing but certainly decent fishing on most of the river at the moment. The best action has been on the lower reaches from Wolf Eddy down to Menan. Fishing on this portion of the river can produce with nymphs as early as 10am with nymph patterns and typically gets better as the afternoon progresses. Surface action – Almost exclusively with midge imitations, starts just after noon for the most part and wanes rather abruptly after 4pm. Target flats, riffle pool tails, and the very head of riffles right at the drop-off. The upper river in Swan Valley is also worth targeting. The go-to time has been a couple hours later compared to the lower river. A larger mix of trout – cutties, bows, and browns – are being caught on the upper reach.
As on the Snake, whitefish are spawning in riffle pools and tailouts as well as flats with moderate depth and currents. Go with weighted egg patterns. Letting eggs swing and dangle in slower, inside water is producing from time to time.
Dry flies – Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Griffith Gnats, Parachute Midges, Snowshoe Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Peach Fuzz Jigs, Rubber Legged Hares Ear Nymph, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, Lightening Bugs, BWO Redemptions, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Veiled Eggs, Nuclear Eggs, and Clown Eggs.
It’s getting cold out there but Jackson Lake is open and worth hitting before ice over, which might be soon. There are still a fair amount of mackinaw on the flats, especially on the northern end of the lake. Go with floating or hover lines and intermediate sinking tips. Slow retrieves with long strips and pauses from time to time works best. Chartreuse nymphs and baitfish imitations are producing better than other patterns. Booby flies on intermediate sinking lines are also worth a try.