South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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August 2010

South Fork 8-28-10

With the weather change we are going to have this coming week look for several changes on the South Fork. The Pale Morning Dun hatch is about over for the summer but the first good cold front of the year will bring out the Blue Wing Olive and Mahogany Dun Mayflies. Also through September the flow will begin to drop as the irrigation demand decreases. The water drops will cause the mutant golden stones to emerge which will make the chernobyl/golden stone patterns more effective.

The streamer fishing has been good early in the mornings (daylight until the sun hits the water) and then change to a chernobyl. The hopper fishing has been better in the lower canyon down to Menan with  smaller size 8 and 10 hoppers.


Hey guys, a pair of wading boots were found at Kelly Island on the 28th of August. Call Dustin at  201-5313 to identify.

Flows on the South Fork are-

Heise: 8,760

Irwin:8,350

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Southwestern Montana 8-25-10

Best all-around patterns for fishing streams in the Madison and Gallatin river drainages are spruce moth, hopper, and ant patterns. Good gulper fishing continues on Hebgen Lake where fish are taking tricos on the Madison Arm.   Some speckled duns remain on other parts of the lake. Want to get into some fast action from small but active fish?  Try the West Fork of the Madison River.  There are several miles of stream to fish.  Small hopper, traditional attractor, spruce moth, or caddis life cycle patterns will work just fine.

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Yellowstone Park 8-25-10

The season for using terrestrial patterns continues. Whether hoppers, ants, beetles or spruce moths: all should have representations in your fly box when you visit Park streams.  Because slower water is not as well oxygenated as that in riffles and runs, be sure to work these over, and expect more  larger fish to reside there until we begin cooling off.     Look  for tricos to become increasingly active and important to fish as we move through late summer.   There are terrific trico hatches and spinner falls on such as the Madison River and all Fall River Basin streams.  Lakes are tough fishing now with Beula Lake being the big exception.  Fishing there is good because of gulping cutts. All you have to do is walk a few miles and get speckled dun emerger and dun patterns onto the lake beyond shoreline lily pads.  Carrying a float tube to get out on the lake guarantees some great action.

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Still Water 8-25-10

Not much action on our irrigation reservoirs right now.   One report has some good fishing at Hawkins Reservoir where leech patterns fished deep in front of the dam have produced. Consider carrying a float tube into Aldous Lake above Kilgore to enjoy some gulper action around mid day.  Paul Reservoir is producing some medium sized cutthroat for those using small leech and damselfly nymph patterns.

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Small Streams 8-25-10

Want an experience that combines good fishing and gentle water with spectacular scenery?   Float the Teton River in Teton Valley. There are several public boat launch sites along the river here, so you can plan a trip based on how much time is available for you.  Terrestrial and PMD life cycle patterns will get you into fish throughout.  Don’t forget a camera!

The Blackfoot River above the reservoir is producing now, especially for those presenting terrestrial patterns. The river is at base flow, and slower moving water warms up most quickly.  Also slower water here tends to hold more weeds making wet fly fishing a bit tricky.  So concentrate your efforts along riffles and runs where trout have better oxygenated water.  Chances are the larger trout will be holding here.

Want to get that youngster into some fast fishing before going back to school?  Birch Creek in the family area above Lone Pine is the ideal place to try.  Traditional attractors and dry caddis patterns in sizes 10-16 will bring action for sure.

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Main Stem Snake River 8-25-10

With flows on the river close to normal, good walk-in and float fishing prevail.  As we said in the last report, evenings are best for pitching  streamers and for enjoying the caddis hatch.  Look for snowflake duns to begin hatching on the river below Blackfoot  in a week or two.

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Henry’s Lake 8-25-10

We’ve had a few nights where air temps have slipped a bit below freezing around Henry’s Lake.   So things are heading in the right direction to kick-start good fishing.  Work on the Duck Creek crossings (convert culverts to bridges) has been delayed until  mid September, so for now travel all the way around the lake is possible.

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Big Lost River 8-25-10

Flow out of Mackay Dam is a bit over 300 cfs.   Tricos in the morning and terrestrial patterns in the afternoon will get you into action in the river around Mackay.

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Henry’s Fork 8-25-10

Some of the best fishing on the river can be experienced on the Harriman reach where callibaetis and trico mayflies provide action.   Terrestrial patterns including hopper and ant patterns are a must, and the South Fork strategy of trailing your favorite hopper with a cinnamon ant pattern (#14) is sure to produce.   As with many meadow reaches the Harriman section also hosts deer flies and horseflies.  Don’t overlook this presence, and consider that a standard humpy, size 16-12 can imitate these pests.  After you swat  those pests, drop ’em in the river, then listen for a downstream rise. That is proof fish will take them!

If you fish from Riverside to Warm River use those terrestrial and caddis patterns, but also include traditional attractors.   Below the Warm River confluence fishing gets tough as the water now at base level has warmed going through the canyons.   Best strategy for the lower river is to wait for the cooler days coming soon. Then look for a great revival of fish activity.

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South Fork 8-25-10

With flows coming out of Palisades Dam just under 9000 cfs, the river is in ideal shape for fishing.  Fishing banks remains the most productive strategy.  Try hopper and chernobyl patterns trailed by a cinnamon ant (#14-#12), and place them close to grassy  banks, undercuts, and overhead cover.   If you want to fish riffles, late afternoon are best when caddis begin emerging.  If you do not get surface action, try soft hackled patterns in size 12-16 such as partridge and orange, partridge and green or badger and orange. Let them drift down a few inches to working fish. When your fly arrives in the area where fish are working, lift your rod tip to raise the fly toward the surface.   An evening PMD spinner fall can bring some action to riffles.

Many fly fishers have forgotten how effective a #12 or #14 renegade is on the South Fork.   Too bad: because fished as a dry fly or emerger it fly remains extremely effective up and down the river.   Try it in riffles or drop it against the same features you fish with hoppers or chernobyl types.  So for many folks it may be out of style, but for those few in the know it remains a stalwart pattern.  Maybe you should give a try especially if you believe that fish get use to seeing patterns that are presented over & over again!

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