Blue skies, fall colors and gold colored trout. October is a great time of year to enjoy small dry fly fishing for Snake River Cutthroats. The Bureau of Reclamation dropped Jackson Lake Dam flows to the winter level of 250 CFS on October 3. Things will stabilize on the upper river in a day or two. The Snake downstream of town and around Wilson bridge fishes very well after the drop. Be like the trout and mayflies - be lazy and sleep in. With frosting mornings, shorter days, and lower sun angle things warm up later in the day. Mayflies are out, some stray Hecubas and a few Mahogany duns are around but small greyish Baetis (Blue Wing Olive-BWO) are the main fare. They hatch between noon and 5pm. Rainy days can be the best. Inside corners, runs, tailouts and flats are prime spots. Spotting fish can be a little tricky as fish rise subtly to the small mayflies, so when you are in prime water take time to look. Blind casting to prime spots can also work. Try Para Pheasant Tails, Purple roosters or Indicator Adams in size 16. For more selective rising fish, Get er Duns, GED BWO and Split Top Emergers are favorites. On warmer afternoons they will sometimes eat hoppers.
Small streams are mostly done for the season as fish migrate to larger, deeper winter habitat. The Hoback and Gros Ventre will still fish but cover ground and spend your time fishing at least thigh deep water or deeper.
Flat Creek is fishing great, very tough but sometimes rewarding. Use Mahogany Duns or emergers and corresponding patterns for the blue wing olives. Here again, afternoons are best.
Over on the Southfork, levels dropped 1000cfs to 4910cfs, today (10/5). Blue wings, mahogany duns, sparce pink PMDs. Pretty much still a nymph game. Copper top Duracell! Streamer bite improving especially on overcast days, bu be prepared to clean your flies off as there is plenty of vegetation.
FYI: The Wyoming Game and Fish will be conducting population estimates on two sections of the Snake River this year, a 5 mile stretch upstream of the Wilson Bridge, and between the Pritchard and Elbow Boat ramps. On the stretch between Moose and Wilson, they will be electrofishing on October 11th, 12th, and 14th On the stretch between Pritchard and Elbow, they will be electrofishing on October 17th, 18th, and 20th.
- Scott Sanchez (Chez)