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South Fork of the Snake River Fishing Report 9/21/2023

Gene Jensen with a Rainbow Trout on the South Fork of the Snake

Veteran fly fisherman woke up, looked out the window, and had two thoughts pass through their minds; streamers and mayflies. A wet weather pattern rolled in last night with snow gracing the Tetons this morning, hardy anglers will grab their Gore-tex, streamer box, and their Fall mayfly box and head to the river.

Flows dropped last night to 6,496 cfs.  This opens up even more wading opportunities for everyone and is right at our historical average flow for this time of year.  Anglers on the South Fork today and Friday should plan on good streamer fishing weather as well as afternoon hatches of Blue Winged Olives and Mahogany Duns.  If you’re not moving enough fish with streamers; nymphing with small B.W.O. imitations pre-hatch is effective.  I really like the Tungsten Splitback B.W.O. and/or a Baetis Soft Hackle in size 18.  When the hatch starts consider fishing two dry flies.  BWO’s and Mahogany duns are notoriously difficult to see especially when it’s cloudy, by fishing one larger size 14 or 16 Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, or Parachute Purple Haze, trailed with a size 18 BWO pattern of your choice you can use the larger fly to help you locate your smaller fly.

The weather appears to do a 180-degree flip on Saturday back to sunny conditions.  This will certainly slow the streamer fishing but we should see afternoon mayfly hatches and there is an opportunity to fish terrestrials.  Your favorite hopper pattern just might roll a few fish and it would be wise to fish that Tungsten BWO pattern below it.  There is only a week or so left of terrestrial fishing before the first hard freeze comes.  I’m definitely going to try to get a few more fish on terrestrials before the weekend is out.

The Idaho Fish and Game has started their annual electrofishing efforts.

Fisheries staff from the Upper Snake will be conducting fish surveys of abundance and species composition with the use jet boat electrofishing equipment on multiple stretches of the South Fork Snake River through September and October. We will complete two passes that take multiple days to complete for each pass in the Lorenzo and Conant areas.

The dates and locations are as follows:
Sept 19, 20, 21: 1.5 miles upriver and downriver of Lorenzo Bridge
Sept 26, 27, 28: 1.5 miles upriver and downriver of Lorenzo Bridge
Oct 10-12: Swan Valley Bridge (Hwy 26) downriver to 1.2 miles downriver from Conant Boat Ramp
Oct 17-19: Swan Valley Bridge (Hwy 26) downriver to 1.2 miles downriver from Conant Boat Ramp

While it is not necessary to avoid the stretch of river being shocked, we will keep anglers notified via Facebook of any changes to the schedule should they want to avoid the survey.

If you need to stock your fly box with any new streamer patterns, dry flies, or nymphs our Swan Valley Fly Shop is having a huge sale with up to 40% off. We are open 8 to 4 seven days a week   Have a great weekend!

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