Fall is officially here and you can tell, the flows are down, crowds are gone, the leaves are changing, and daily hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s) and Mahogany Duns are happening. It’s without a doubt one of the best times to be on the South Fork of the Snake. Palisades reservoir currently sits at just 9% capacity, the Bureau of Reclamation said they’d be drawing the reservoir down to single digits and they were right. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a big winter so we can fill the reservoir come Spring. The flow out of Palisades is about 5,900 cfs down from 7,900 just a few days ago. This flow opens up some great wade fishing opportunities for folks with or without a boat.
The forecast this weekend is looking like an Indian Summer with sunny warm weather sticking with us at least until next week. If you’re headed to the South Fork this weekend I’d be ready for a variety of tactics and flies. Streamers, nymphs, mayflies, and some terrestrials are all on the list.
Nymphs: Fishing two small bead heads or one bead head and an emerger/soft hackle has been very effective in riffles and foam lines. If you know the fish are there but they aren’t rising they are most likely eating BWO, midge, and mahogany nymphs. I like fishing an olive, brown, or red tungsten thread midge AKA E.T. or Ed’s Tungsten, trailed by a small BWO merger. You can also pick up fish with small rubberleg nymphs but I’ve had better luck going “tactical”, as it seems everyone and their dog is fishing a rubberlegs.
Terrestrials: With the sunny warm weather there are still some hoppers, beetles, and ants around, don’t be afraid to throw some crazy colors like pink and purple. The fish have seen a lot of flies and something different just might do the trick.
Mayflies: We are starting to see good hatches of the above-mentioned mayflies in the afternoon. Keep your eyes peeled in foam lines and riffles for hatching bugs. Keep in mind the fish will start to pod up this time of year so if you find some fish feeding, don’t leave fish to find fish. Flies like the Purple Haze work well this time of year and if the fish get picky trail that Purple Haze with a BWO emerger.
Streamers: With the shorter days you’ll have more opportunities to fish in the low light conditions that streamer chasing fish prefer. If you love streamers you know what I’m talking about! Keep that 6 or 7 weight rod ready to roll for early mornings, evenings, and shady brushy banks.
We’ll continue posting our weekly fishing reports through October and hope you get a chance to fish the South Fork this Fall!
If you need flies, leaders, licenses etc. swing by either of our Swan Valley locations or give us a call 208.483.2222
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