Following is a note from the Henry’s Fork Foundation concerning the ongoing reconstruction work at Ashton Dam. In the meantime fishing conditions and fishing success should remain good.
At the Ashton Dam reconstruction project, they are having problems with the rubber seal over the upstream coffer dam coming loose, resulting in some additional sediment moving downstream. To fix this problem, they need to send divers down to re-anchor the rubber blanket. Since this work is being done next to the dam bypass tunnel, they will need to partially close the tunnel while they do the work. However, as this is peak irrigation season, they have to balance this work with downstream irrigation needs. The result will be some major fluctuations in Henry’s Fork flows below Ashton Dam throughout the day. Flows could fluctuate from 1200 cfs up to 3000 cfs, and this fluctuation may happen four times that day. Idaho Fish and Game will be monitoring things that day.
Bottom line, Monday July 9th will be a day you don’t want to be fishing below Ashton Dam.
Stewardship Director, Henry’s Fork Foundation
& Hold the Line Project Coordinator, High Country RC&D
Stream flow on the South Fork is stable with 13,600 cfs coming out of Palisades Dam, and 14,900 cfs at Heise. Nymph fishing in the morning with a Brown Rubber Leg ( size 8 ) and a Bead Head Crystal Pheasant Tail Nymph dropper( size 16) has been the most productive till about 12 o’clock. From about 12 o’clock, riffles have been good with a CFO Yellow Sally ( size 16 and 14 ), and Olive Hares Ear Parachute (size 12) . There is a good emergence of salmon and golden adult stones along the bank near Heise, but fish still haven’t been eating them yet but that should change any day. Along with yellow sallies in the riffles there will be good hatches of pale morning duns and some green drakes.
Flow coming out of Mackay Dam remains above 500 cfs. This makes wading tough in the river below.
Run-off is peaking here. Fall River Basin is about a week or so away from worthwhile fishing. The Ashton-Flagg Road opens Sunday meaning access to Beula Lake from the west will be good. A lot of activities will impact where you decide go fishing in the days to come in Yellowstone Park. Brown drakes will emerge in great numbers from meadow reaches of Duck Creek and the Gibbon River. After walking a few miles, Shoshone Lake offers juvenile lake trout and some “knock your socks off” browns. Lewis River between Shoshone and Lewis lakes offers even more great browns. Heart Lake Basin opens to fishing on Sunday. After an eight mile walk you can get into some of the best cutthroat trout left on earth. Madison River PMDs and caddis are bringing action. Look for the Firehole River to slow down as the summer warms up. Contact us for more information on fishing the Park.
Run-off is peaking now. So in a few days we can say that all smaller streams will be worth fishing unless, like the lower Blackfoot River, irrigation demands impact fishing. These will offer great chances for some solitude and many offer surprisingly large fish. Now is the time to contact us about which ones to fish when.
We don’t like to repeat old information, but in this case we do so because of the potential for enjoyable fishing. On our still waters to the south (Chesterfield, Daniels, Twenty-Four Mile, Hawkins, Treasureton, Springfield, and other reservoirs) trout are responding very well to adult damselflies. Wind free periods are best, if you can find them. Try early in the day, or even late. Off-the-beaten-path places like Weston , Condie, Deep Creek, and Devil Creek reservoirs also offer trout responding in this manner. Some will offer bass which like adult damselflies, too!
Along the Last Chance-Harriman reach green drakes are coming off during mid day, and a few flavs appear during afternoons. PMDs are making for action during daytime with AM spinner falls also bringing responses. On lower the lower Harriman State Park reach brown drakes are making an appearance evenings. The peak of that event is yet to come. Expect crowds when you fish anywhere here. Want to enjoy fish responding to green drakes, some PMDs, and later in the day caddis without crowds of fly-fishers? Go to the Nature Conservancy’s Flat Ranch reach on Henry’s Lake Outlet. The drakes emerge from about 11AM to 2PM with some fish responding to PMDs. The caddis take over later. In general the fish run smaller than on the Harriman reach, but don’t let that fool you because some dandy hybrids inhabit the Flat Ranch reach. Also a few rare three to four pound cutts could surprise you.
Flows were bumped again yesterday afternoon to 13,000cfs. Again this is response to irrigation demand downstream. I don’t know how much more the water will increase but I will keep you all updated as soon as we know.
At this point I would only be fishing nymphs and streamers. The river has been raised 2,000 cfs in 2 days and that is a lot of water. Enough water to cool things down and slow any hatches that were happening and mix things up enough to have the fish a little confused. The good news is it doesn’t take long for things to settle down and the fishing to pick back up again. If we don’t have anymore increases tomorrow we will be back in action.
I had thoughts of Salmon Flies sometime this week but the increase in flows could very possibly push that back into next week. Call the shop for any and all questions or just stop by and we will be happy to help you.
Damselfly activity, with adult and with nymph patterns is the way to action almost everywhere now. That means concentrate on shallow waters holding submerged vegetation. Best to present you favorite nymph pattern with a slow troll or a slow hand-twist retrieve. Intermediate lines apply real well for these kinds of fishing, but a floating line with long leader can also work in shallow water. Using a floating line also makes it quicker to switch to an adult pattern when surface action begins.
Ashton-Flagg Road will open on July 1st. USFS asks to give it a chance to dry out completely for best passage. Any stream not draining high country is a good choice for fishing now. Anglers tend to pass by Idaho’s Salt River tributaries, but these can offer some very interesting fishing. Jackknife, Tincup, Stump and Crow creeks all host cuts and browns. PMDs, flavs, caddis, and golden stones are present. Add damsel and dragon flies in their meadow reaches. Ant and beetle patterns will now work. You will be surprised at the size of the cutts and browns range to in these streams. Our area is loaded with small streams. So many anglers by-pass them for the waters they see in the media. Want some solitude? Want to see some new country? But you still want to encounter good fish? Contact us for the best of small streams throughout the season. Now is the time to begin fishing these.