June 14th (about 4pm) I drove up to the Narrows section of the Salt yesterday to confirm a rumor I received from a reliable source....and yes, the rumor held true. The salmon flies are out in full-force!! I ended up fishing for about an hour and a half, but aside from a couple of bumps off a streamer, I didn't see any rises or have any luck on a salmon fly pattern. The water clarity is still not very good, but I was hoping that I'd at least get a few on dries. My guess is that the trout are either already gorged, water clarity is still too poor or the time of the day had at least something to do with no top-water activity. Anyway, the salmon flies were everywhere as well as yellow sallies and flocks of tan caddis. I'd say it's worth checking out in the next few days.
As of this morning, water flows on the Salt are at 1,295cfs which is a good sign. We've already hit peak run-off in the valley and all of the local streams are dropping by about 50cfs a day. I usually start fishing the Salt once it hits about 1200cfs and although the water is still high and off-color the fishing can be fairly decent. I typically fish large stone fly patterns in black and brown, buggers, especially olive colored ones and streamers in white. It's probably difficult to folks who have never fished the Salt to know where the drop-offs are right now, but I have some of my best early season days on the Salt when I dead-drift these large flies over these drop-offs and let them sink into the abyss. In fact, besides Fall fishing on the Salt, I typically catch bigger browns and cutty's (on average) at this time of the year with this method of fishing. If I happen to see a rise, I am definitely not opposed to trying out a dry. And if it's a cloudy or rainy day, I'll be chucking mouse patterns against the banks and twitching relentlessly. You probably won't be catching a lot of fish with mouse patterns, but I can almost guarantee that the trout that come after mice are going to be BIG.
Just FYI, if you were to ask me for advice on what sized tippet to use on the Salt, especially when the water is off-color like it is right now and you are chucking big flies, I'd highly suggest not going any smaller than 3X. In fact, many of my fishing buddies fish 0X, which I think is a bit overkill, but then again, I've lost more "pigs" than I can count on the Salt because I got busted-off or the trout (especially the browns) ran me under the banks or got tangled up in deadfall.
I'll get some better updates once I get out there and start fishing, but like I've said many times before, just because visibility isn't "all that" doesn't mean that the fish aren't still feeding!
So, I'd just like to mention to all of my customers, friends and acquaintances that I do not consider myself an expert on fly fishing. Sometimes I feel a little uneasy when one of my customers mentions my name and the words "expert fly fisherman" in the same sentence. Technically, I still need a lot of work. Entomology wise, I am a moron. And I still get a little confused when it comes to identifying certain types of cutthroat trout, especially hybrids. However, I do like to fish...a lot, especially here in Star Valley. So on that note, I do believe that I have a little insight into what is going on, on a day-to-day basis. My advice to you (if you are in search of the big browns) is to start chucking meat.
For you gear guys out there (the ones who don't already know it) you can't go wrong using Rapala Countdowns, especially CD-09's. Black/Silver, Gold/White, Brown Trout and Brook Trout.. Some of the larger Vibrax, Blue Fox's are fairly productive as well. You might have to experiment a little bit with different colors, as it sometimes seems to change from day to day.. Other lures will catch plenty of fish too, but the big dogs seem to really like the big lures.
If you aren't planning on keeping any fish, you might try removing the front treble hook and going with a single hook on the rear. I don't spin fish that often anymore, but this is the method I use when I do and I still land the majority of the fish that attack the lure.
Stop on by the store for more detailed info on fly or lure selections.
Good luck and we'll keep you posted.