Fishing Report

Nov. 28, 2023

South Fork

Flows and Conditions

  • 900 cfs coming out of the Palisades Dam
  • 903 cfs at Lorenzo

Snake River

Flows and Conditions

  • 293 cfs out of Jackson Lake Dam, reaching nearly 42 degrees in the afternoon
  • 766 cfs from Moose to South Park
  • 1,310 cfs from South Park to West Table, reaching nearly 35 degrees
    in the afternoon

Summary and Flies

By WBA Guide Jack Gardner

For those floating the river, the Moose and Wilson boat ramps closed for the season on October 2.

Winter weather is officially here! If you’re looking to fish the Snake, don’t be in a rush to get up early. With the cold weather, the best window for fishing is usually in the afternoon when things warm up and the midges get moving around. Bug life and colder water temperatures are going to make the feeding windows a lot smaller. And remember: If you find feeding fish, don’t leave them. Fish may be feeding in one spot, but other spots won’t have much going on, so stay put if you’re finding trout. 

Nymphing will also be the best bet most of the day. Just because it’s cold, dredging bottom with heavy rigs isn’t necessarily the key to success, and whitefish can get in the way by doing this. So try suspended rigs and really concentrate on major feeding lanes. Soft inside edges can be great. And remember the water is low and clear, so don’t stand right on top of where you’re targeting. Rubber legs with small pheasant tails or zebra midge rigs are a great go to and whatever midge pattern you have confidence in! Even San Juan worms are good too. Small emergers with CDC or foam posts to mimic emerging midges are reliable as well. But don’t forget to put the emerger on behind or after a heavier fly so they ride higher in the water column where trout are looking for them. Also start your drift upstream of your target area to avoid spooking fish when your rig hits the water.  

If you do see trout rising, try to slow down. The fish are spookier than in warmer months. Try to make your first few casts count, without unnecessary splashing. Try small Adams, Griffith’s Gnats, renegades, and RS2 trailers. Small CDC flies that sit in the surface film can be deadly as the weather gets colder and trout become more lethargic. It’s helpful to put on a larger point fly with one of these smaller patterns trailing behind to help see what you’re doing. Dry-dropper rigs can work great too for getting nymphs halfway through the water column, and sometimes they make less of a splash or ruckus when they hit the water than a big ole bobber.  

The biggest factor right now is time and place. Finding feeding fish is key! So get on the water later in the afternoon, and keep those eyes peeled in the soft water and sometimes tailouts for rising cutthroat!