September is generally recognized as one of the best months to fish the Snake and this year is no disappointment. However, there are slower days from time to time on the upper reaches from Jackson Lake Dam down to Wilson Bridge. More consistent fishing is being found from Wilson down to Sheep Gulch, which is par for course this time of year.
Claassenia stoneflies are still emergering, as are Hecubas and PMDs. You will also find a fair amount of grasshopper continuing to make racket along the banks. Surface patterns are working throughout the day along banks and structure. Interestingly, there are a good number of trout holding and feeding well off of banks and bankside troughs, sometimes up to six feet from a prime line. Keep this in mind when fishing stonefly, hopper, and mayfly patterns. Riffles, seams, and side channels are offering their best from about 11:30am and then through the late afternoon hours. Go with PMD and Hecuba patterns when targeting this water.
Nymphing is producing in the same water as dry flies, but the action tends to start a bit later in the day, generally around 10am or so. As with dry flies, the action starts earlier along banks and structure than in riffles, seams, and eddies. Going with dry-dropper rigs with two to three feet of dropper tippet is working well. Double/triple nymph rigs with six to nine feet of leader from line trailing fly to indicator or line works even better in deeper riffle pools and seams. Rod lifts and swinging or purposely moving patterns can generate takes when there is a slowdown in action.
Streamer fishing is improving but can still be inconsistent on just about every reach. However, when it is on it tends to be really on. Go with moderately sized streamers and target banks, bankside troughs, structure, and the head of riffle pools. No real consistency in sinking tips – anything from floating lines to 10 feet of T-11 will work if the bite is on. Same can be said for the retrieve. Sometimes slow strips with a dangle and mend at the beginning is the best route, other times moderate retrieves with steady rod lifts is the way to go. Find the consistency and stick with it.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, Circus Peanuts, Chubby Chernobyls, Bosworth’s Bitchin’ Frenzies, Parachute Hoppers, Parachute Hare’s Ears, Booty’s Drake Emergers, Parachute Adams, Chez’s Bi-Viz PMD, AuSable Wulffs, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Purple Haze, Tailwater Humpies, Booty’s PMD Emerger, Quigley Cripples, and Quigley Film Critics.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Hares Ear Nymph, Psycho Princes, Batmen, Copper Johns in red or copper, Lightening Bugs, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Rainbow Warriors.
Streamers – Booty’s Quad Bunny, Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Boogeyman, Chicklets, Kreelux, Shaka Zulus, Beldar Buggers, McCune Sculpin, Booty Call Minnows, J.J. Specials, Sculpinators, and Game Changers.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are holding steady at around 8,600cfs. Much the same story on the South Fork as on the Snake – decent to solid fishing but expect some inconsistency from day-to-day and reach-to-reach but generally good stuff each day. If you are looking for consistency, try shooting for the upper Canyon reach and lower reach from Byington to Lorenzo. Mutant stones and PMDs are the main fare on the surface. Expect to see some caddis in bits and pieces. Grasshoppers also continue to make their presence on the banks in the afternoon hours.
Surface action has been best along banks and structure with slow currents, the head of riffle pools, and the head of seams. Flats can also offer action in the late afternoon hours when there is a decent PMD emergence in play. Regardless of what you are fishing and the water you are targeting, the best top-water activity has been happening from approximately noon until around 5pm or 6pm. There will be better action with stonefly, hopper, and caddis patterns along banks and structure. PMDs will work best in riffle pools and flats.
Nymphing is working better than anything else and can be the only game in town on the lower canyon reach and the upper reach below the dam. Stonefly nymph imitations are working throughout the day and perform best when fished along banks and structure (especially those with slow to moderate currents), riffle margins, flats, and eddy current margins. PMD and caddis nymph/larva/pupa imitations are working best in riffles, seams, and on flats. As on the Snake, vary your leader and tippet length and match it to the water you are fishing. And don’t worry about going to deep.
Streamers are fishing hit-or-miss for the most part. There are some downright dismal days and other days that can be lights out. And this action can vary from reach to reach just like everything else on the South Fork at the moment. What we have been experiencing is that the best action is coming on large to moderate baitfish imitations fished alongside banks, structure, at the tail of seams and riffle pools. Recirculating eddy currents can also be worth hitting. Sinking tips in the 6ips to 8ips range or T-8 to T-11 are outperforming shallower tips. Go with slow to moderate retrieves and strips of one to two feet.
Dry flies – Snake River Water Walkers, J-Slams, Kasey’s Creature, Fat Alberts, Chubby Chernobyls, Chez’s Foam Wing Hopper, Parachute Hoppers, Parachute Extended Body PMDs, Parachute Adams, Comparaduns, Snowshoe Duns, Pink Sulfur Emergers, Film Critics, Elk Hair Caddis, and CDC Caddis.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Kaufmann’s Brown Stone, Duracells, Lightening Bugs, Rainbow Warriors, Robins, Psycho Mays, Bruised Mays, Trash Can Caddis, Mercer’s Bead Tail Caddis, Glasshouse Caddis, Booty’s Deep Stinker Nymph, and Zebra Midges.
Streamers – Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, Galloup’s Bottom’s Up, Silvey’s Sculpin, Booty’s Quad Bunny, McKight’s Home Invader, Chicklets, Kreelux, Krystal Buggers, Coyote Uglies, and Clouser Minnows.