Can you believe it? September is here. This means cooler mornings, the leaves will be changing soon, and the “Severe Clear” days will require patience and skill. Let’s dive in.
I believe our social media post summarized things the best. “Fishing remains consistent. Cabins remain consistent. Food remains consistent. Drinks have become stronger.” haha
Palisades reservoir sits at 19% capacity and the water remains very clear, honestly much clearer than I thought we’d be seeing right now. When the B.O.R. said they’d be drawing Palisades down to the single digits I thought we’d have off-color water by now but, rejoice, we do not. The flow out of the dam is about 8,700 cfs, pretty much smack dab average for this time of year and perfect!
With the water clear, the flow just right, combined with cooler nights and days the South Fork has remained very consistent. Guides going out with less experienced anglers have had the most success fishing two nymphs below an indicator. This time of year you can still do well with a small stonefly nymph trailed by a bead head but you’ll find many of our guides fishing smaller flies, soft hackles, and emergers. Our guides have been paying attention to where the fish are holding each day and when these fish stop coming up for a dry fly it’s time to go get them with a variety of “trick shit” flies. My favorites are size 16-20 CDC Pheasant Tails, CDC PMD Emergers, Rainbow Warriors, Red, Brown, or Green Tungsten Thread Midges.
Guides taking out experience anglers are still catching fish on dry flies but you need to be really tactical about it. Small Hoppers, Ants, and Beetles will get the fish’s attention especially when fished well along flats, side channels, in, under, and around bushes, trees, etc. There are still plenty of fish holding in riffles but you may need to really have some patience to find fish feeding on dry flies.
If you’re a die-hard “dry or die” angler consider fishing early morning for the Mutant Golden Stones. I’ve been talking about this for a few weeks so head back to a previous post to learn more. The goal here is to have your flies on the water at first light and you’ll be wrapping things up about the time most people are launching their boats.
In 20 years of guiding, September was always my favorite month, the fishing is more difficult for sure but anglers and guides who paid attention all season know where the fish are and what they like to eat. You’ll catch fewer fish for sure but the fish you do catch are more rewarding when you get them on a tactical fly in a sneaky position.
Visit Jordan in the Fly Shop next to the new gas station in Swan Valley, he has all the flies (trick shit) that you’ll need and can help with shuttles, licenses etc.
Have a great weekend!
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