The fishing on the South Fork of the Snake River has remained consistent since our last report. The Skwala hatch has moved up through the Canyon and into the Upper section, although nymphing is still your best bet. There is a strong BWO hatch going throughout the whole system and you can find trout up and eating them off the surface, mostly in slower side channels. The streamer bite has definitely picked up in the Canyon! The “White Bite” is on, so throw your favorite white streamer pattern and you’re bound to get in to some trout, especially Cutthroat. Olive and Black are also working, vary your retrieve for the best results. Flows are at 11,000 cfs and holding, but will increase with downstream irrigation demand whenever that comes. It’s not crowded at all currently, so get out and float! Best Flies: #6-12 Rubberlegs, #12 San Juan Worms, #16-18 Green Copper Johns, #16-18 Lightening Bugs, #16-18 BWO Cripples, #10-12 Chocolate Chernobyls
The South Fork has really picked up over the last week! There are Skwala Stoneflies flying in the Canyon and the trout are looking for them on the surface. BWO’s are also popping and some fish are moving into the riffles and keying on them. The best surface action has been in the lower Canyon where water temperatures are close to 50 degrees. The Upper section in Swan Valley is fishing well too. This is mostly a nymphing affair with Mysis Shrimp, eggs, and San Juan worms producing the best. Trout are stacked below Palisades Dam and the Rainbows are spawning. Remember that if you catch any of these ‘bows to harvest them to help out the Cutthroat! Flows out of the Dam are steady at 10,500 cfs and look to remain there for the near future. Water clarity is 3-4 ft right below the Dam. Palisades Creek is dumping muddy water and clarity below there is 2-3 ft in green water, plenty for the fish to see. Best Flies: #10-12 Bullethead Skwala, #16-18 BWO Cripples, #14-16 Pruett’s Mysis, #16 Eggs, #12-14 Rock Worms, #6-10 Rubberlegs
Flows on the South Fork have been dropped over the past few days to 8000 cfs. This is so the new bridge just downstream of Palisades Dam can be completed. This new bridge was built to keep everyone from driving over the Dam for security purposes. Flows will be gradually increased next week and flushing flows should be completed the first week of May. This flow drop will not affect the fishing, it might even make a bit better. Deep nymphing has been the name of the game recently with most trout still holding in their winter lies. Double nymph rigs with the fist fly 9′ down have been the ticket. Stonefly imitations like #6-10 Rubberlegs followed by #16-18 Black or Olive Copper Johns have been productive. Throwing streamers on sinking lines has been picking up some larger trout on the lower river below Wolf. Rust, Olive, and White Bow River Buggers have been good flies to try. With our warm Spring and relatively low snowpack (80% currently), we are expecting an excellent early season on the South Fork! After the flushing flows subside in May, the Caddis and Skwala Stonefly action should be the best we’ve seen in about 5 years. We guide out of the Lodge at Palisades Creek in Irwin and they are running a guide trip special of $395 for a full day until June 15th. What a bargain! Last falls fish counts reported over 5000 trout per mile, the 2nd highest report since the mid 80’s. Don’t miss out on the fantastic early season fishing!
The South Fork fished well this week. Flows were above 13,000 cfs and the water clarity is still about 2-3 feet but the fish were eating! Streamers and nymphs were the ticket. Black or brown streamers worked best as they give a great silhouette for trout to key in on. Nymphing is still producing alot of whitefish, but there are some nice trout in the mix as well. As of today, flows have been reduced to 12,000 cfs. Some of the riffles should show up now and dry fly fishing will improve. Bring it on!
The South Fork is showing some promise! Flows are being reduced out of Palisades Dam from 26000 cfs recently on their way to 15000 cfs for the remainder of the summer.Currently they sit at 19,500 cfs. Guides are catching fish in the side channels and slow back eddies on nymph rigs fished deep. Rubberlegs, San Juan Worms, Lightening Bugs, and small North Fork Specials have produced decent numbers of fish, a mix of both trout and whitefish. The trout in this great river will begin to come to the surface soon with lower flows. We can’t wait!
It looks like the fly fishing on the South Fork of the Snake will be on hold for the next week or so. Flows have been bumped up out of Palisades Dam to make room for a large runoff this Spring. Currently flows are at 3210 cfs on their way to 10,000 cfs by next week. Snowpack totals in the region are between 115-120% of average and it’s still coming down! With two of the wettest months of the year, April and May, still to come, it looks like flows will be at least this high until fall. What does this mean for the fishing? It’s great for the long term health of the fishery and bugs. In the short term, the fish will still be hunkered down in their wintering lies as water temperatures are still around 38 degrees. This will require heavier nymph rigs fished deep to catch fish. Fish the slowest water with Tungsten beads at about 10′ deep. Try Stonefly Nymphs, San Juans, and Glo bugs. As water temperatures rise, streamer rigs on sink tips will come in to play….
The numbers have been tallied after last fall’s annual Conant Valley and Lorenzo trout monitoring project on the South Fork of the Snake River. It looks as though the efforts to reduce Rainbow trout populations have been somewhat succesful as Yellowstone Cutthroat numbers edged above Rainbow trout, 1953 YCT to 1893 RT. In 2009, there were nearly 1000 more Rainbows per mile than Cutthroat. The great news is that there are over 4500 trout per mile in the South Fork! Jackson Hole News and Guide columnist Paul Bruun weighs in on the latest numbers.
Good fly fishing reports have been coming in from the South Fork of the Snake River recently in Swan Valley, ID. Midges have been popping in good numbers on the warmer days where temperatures reach freezing and above. Trout are rising to them between 2-4 pm. Best flies are #20 Zelon Midges and Skittering Midges, #18-20 Griffith’s Gnats, and Black #18-20 Zebra Midges or Rainbow Warriors. Flows out of Palisades Dam have been increased to 1900 cfs to make room for the upcoming spring runoff. No boat ramps are open as of yet, wade fishing is still the best option. Stay tuned for more information.
It’s been awhile since we have written a fly fishing report on the South Fork of the Snake. This summer’s fishing has been better than any in recent memory. The trout ate PMD’s all the way in to the second week of September, including a 27″ monster that was caught in preparation for the One Fly on a Pink Albert Cripple! The mid summer Caddis hatch was very solid, especially in the Canyon. The hatches waned in the second half of September, as is typical, but the terrestrial and nymph fishing still produced as we waited for the fall weather to kick in. The first week of October brought some clouds and rain and improved fly fishing. Streamer fishing was good below the Dam down to Irwin and then the riffles were good throughout the rest of the river. Mahogany Duns and Baetis were the best bugs, especially emergers and cripple patterns. Flows are being reduced to winter flows throughout the rest of the month, so check before you go. Stability is more important than actual levels, so look for periods of stable flows longer than three days for good fishing until they are done dropping. Look for browns to become very active in to November. This is a great time to catch the fish of a lifetime! Best Flies: #18 Q’s Hackle Stacker BWO, #14-16 Lawson’s Thorax Mahogany, #16-18 Loopwing Baetis, #6 Rainbow Bunker, #4 Olive Monkey or Dungeon
The South Fork of the Snake River continues to provide excellent fly fishing! The initial push of Salmonflies and Goldens has passed through all the way up to Swan Valley. This made the fish (and anglers) very happy! The PMD’s have been very consistent starting by 11am in the riffles and lasting until about 3pm or so. If clouds and rain showers come in the afternoon, then the riffle fishing goes into the evening on all sections. Bank fishing is still solid, but the trout have become pickier on patterns and presentations. The best news is that the second brood of Golden Stones has started in section #4 (below Byington) and is beginning to move upstream. This has the brown trout down there crushing Stonefly patterns on the banks! Flies still need to be presented tight ( a few inches not a few feet) to these banks for them to get eaten. The PMD’s have big browns feeding in the skinniest water in the riffles, as little as four inches! On a recent guided trip for TLAPC, we sight fished and caught a 20″ brown on a size #18 fly. I’ll share pictures when I receive them…..