I too was at the salmon river on Thursday and sounds like was having the same issues as you.... Haven't been steelheading in a couple years and made a last minute decision to hit the river, so didn't get all the gear I wanted into the car. Its a 5hr drive from VT so leaving at 2am not sure my brain was awake yet either... Ended up only having a 15' fast sink tip line.
Found the line worked really well on the lower river runs w/ big casts and big swings across the faster and deeper tailouts. Turned a couple fish in lower tressle and lower compactor pools on black/blue buggers. Had some snag-up issues in the shallower tails and runs but not too bad as long as the current was strong.
I spent the last couple hours of the day up in the FFO section and this is where I started to hate the sink tip. The pool right at Bridge St. was loaded w/ fish and fishermen but I wasn't able to get into a great position to fish the main seam. Secondary currents, eddies, and other disruptions to the current were making it impossible to get my fly in the right orientation/drift. The sink tip would drop beneath the faster current quickly but the floating portion would not. Found it very difficult to get a good dead drift and there was a definite "S" shape to the drifting line. This made it hard to detect hits and even more difficult to set the hook. Plus, like you the line was getting snagged on everything...
Seemed as though the chuck and duck guys w/ split shot or bananas were better suited to get a good drift and most of the guys in that section of the river were hitting fish every 10 or 15 minutes.
I ended up landing a single 12lber out of 3 hits. All my hits in the FFO only section were on sz 10-12 nymphs (Hare's Ear, Bead Head Olive Caddis, and Golden Stone). The one I caught was on the golden stone w/ a mylar covered abdomen on a swimming nymph hook. Caught it at towards the end of the day when I finally realized the best way to get a good drift w/ the sink tip was to make short 20' casts straight upstream, retrieve all of the line save 5-10'' as it drifted back towards me, then follow drift with a high rod tip position (line nearly vertical in the water column as it drifted past my position). This didn't allow me to fish very far into the current so was only fishing the very slack side of the seam; but, I didn't manage to get a few hitsland a fish w/ this technique. Based on the relative success of this technique I think having an ~5' fast sink tip would have been a better setup.
But then... I haven't flyfished anything besides freestone creeks for brookies or ponds for bass and pike in so long it might have just been me....
I once knew a drug addict... He told me I have a fishing problem!