South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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April 2013

Harriman Fish Pond

 

 

 

Harriman Fish Pond

Not only is this a pond of legend, it is also among the safest of public still waters to be found in the Island Park area.  It was created by the Harriman family in the early twentieth century as a place to take Railroad Ranch guests fishing.   The family dammed Osborn Creek and a couple of smaller intermittent creeks to form it.   IDF&G has used it on an experimental basis to test trout suitability.  It is not very deep, but rich in nutrients, so over the years it has gained a reputation for producing huge rainbows and trophy-sized brook trout.  It has endured misuse from dewatering and bank erosion, yet properly maintained and kept at full pool year round, it is a superb fishery.  If you are familiar with fishing the Henry’s Fork from Wood Road 16 access, you go by the pond to the south a few hundred yards.   That creek entering the Henry’s Fork just above the access is the outlet from the Fish Pond.  I’m not going to say anything about the fish in that creek below the pond! You can get to the Fish Pond from the Mesa Falls Scenic Route.  Drive down the Route from Highway 20 just above the Osborn Bridge.  A bit more than a mile on the right the access road to river near “Pine Point” goes to the right. Turn off here and take the immediate left, a primitive road that takes one to the north end of the Fish Pond, and on to the west end dam.  You can fish from the dam without needing wading gear. To fish effectively anywhere else here you will need to get out on the pond with a non-motorized craft because the pond bottom is mostly deep silt.  But the pond is ideal for float tubing or pontoon boating, and launching such from the north end is easy.

Fly-fishing season on the pond begins as soon as ice comes off and the primitive access road to its north end is passable. I have fished it as early as the end of April after a winter of scanty snowfall.  During the early season any pattern resembling a leech or dragonfly  nymph works.  When midges begin emerging in number, life cycle patterns for them work until resident fish become filled. When that happens, go elsewhere.   After the fish are over this “midge binge” try speckled dun life cycle patterns.  By then, however, you may need to fish  mostly on or near the surface because weed growth clogs so much of the pond that fishing wet is mainly good for dredging up weeds.  Any time you fish here a floating line is best because for the most part the pond is so shallow.  There is some deeper water in front of the dam on the west end and along the creek channel in its middle.  I usually avoid the pond as July approaches because fishing there slows.   But I come back very late, as late as the first of November when weeds are dispersing, and I present midge life cycle patterns or a small (size 12-14) bead head peacock leech.  This is when I have caught my largest fish, but one can certainly encounter large fish here any time during the season.  These  big ones are a bit tougher to encounter in recent years because hatchery catchables are now present, but one benefit of  those hatchery catchables is that if they hold over, they can become big guys.  So if you are looking for a chance for a fish of the season under safe conditions compared to a wind-blown Henry’s Lake or Island Park Reservoir, or you have youngsters or have physically challenged folks wishing for the same, put this spot near the top of your destination list.

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Henry’s Fork 4-30

Lots of action on the Henry’s Fork right now! The Mothers Day Caddis have been hatching in huge numbers from Warm River to Ashton. Along with March Brown Mayflies and BWO’s. Below Ashton we have seen some Skwala’s, March Browns, and BWO’s with only a few caddis. Traditionally the caddis do not hatch in the huge numbers we see from Warm River to Ashton. The fish will still key on them below Ashton and you would be foolish to leave those flies at home. If you don’t feel like dry fly fishing you can always fish nymphs with an indicator. Caddis pupa, stonefly nymphs, and pheasant tails, or any other mayfly nymph will be effective.

This is my favorite time of the year to fish the Henry’s Fork. I love the caddis hatch and there are not very many people on the water compared to June. The fish are hungry and willing to eat. They haven’t seen very many flies and this time of year offers the oppertunity to catch some monster brown trout on the lower river. Take advantage of these warm windless spring days and go fishing!

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South Fork 4-30

Flows on the South Fork have leveled off at 6,500 cfs for the last 2 days. We don’t know when flows will be increase but for now things have settled down enough to expect some decent fishing. With the rise in water flows the water temperature has decreased which means nymphing is going to be the best option for hooking fish. The rainbows are also spawning so egg patterns will be effective as well as the standard stonefly nymph and bead head. Don’t forget the San Juan worm that always seems to be a trout favorite in the spring. Fishing streamers will also produce fish however presentations need to be slow and concentrated in the deep pools and slowing moving water.

With the cold spring we have been experiencing the snow pack has not begun to melt at all. This is a good thing because we are now at 100% of our average snow pack for the year. I am still hoping for more rain and snow in the mountains this spring. This will slow down the need for irrigation demand and hopefully allow us to add some more snow in the mountains. This will help us in August with cold water and hopefully more PMD hatches. All in all the season is shaping up to be good with great water conditions. I have been told we will be having a flush on the river. Similar to past years I expect that to be during Memorial Day weekend, however I have not heard an official word from the Bureau of Reclamation to confirm my assumption. We will update this report with any information we hear as soon as we know.

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Stillwaters 4-27-13

Well….. its that time of year again, FINALLY!  Now is the time to really start hitting our local stillwaters. I was out yesterday fishing various southeast idaho lakes and experienced some awesome chironomid fishing. The fish were in great shape and look like they wintered very well. Any darker chironomid in a size 12-14 and around 8-12 ft of water worked best. Leech fishing was slow yesterday, but that will improve as the weather continues to get nicer. Expect Chesterfield, Daniels, Springfield, etc to be fishing well and continue to improve with the weather. If you aren’t set up or fully stocked  for the stillwater fishing this year we have the flies, lines, tying materials, float tubes, anything you need to get ready. Call or stop in at the shop with any questions or for updated reports!

 

 

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Small Streams 4/27/13

Birch Creek is the best option for fishing a small stream right now.   Being essentially a spring creek  in origin,  it is influenced little by run-off after snow around it is gone, such as now.  See our web site article on Birch Creek for details.  A strategy for fishing it is to present nymph and very small wooly worm patterns during the morning hours, then as the waters warm and insects (caddis, midges, BWOs) emerge during the PM hours switch to dry patterns.  Warm River is another small stream not influenced by a large amount of high country run-off.  It is open for catch and release fishing until general season begins.  Consider the same strategy as we suggest for Birch Creek for fishing it this time of the season.

 

 

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Still Waters 4/27/13

Ice is off  the irrigation reservoirs in the southeast corner of the region.  Information coming in this time of year is scanty as usual, but we have reports of action at Hawkins, Treasureton, and Daniels reservoirs where small wooly bugger types are working on all three from what we are told.  Chesterfield Reservoir appears to be in the last stages of turning over, so better days fishing it are ahead.  We will keep on top of conditions on these reservoirs because of their popularity and because they will be important destinations when run-off  and increased irrigation flows impact our streams.  A carp fishing tournament is in the planning stages for mid May on Blackfoot  River Reservoir.  When we have more information on this event, we will post it here and in the shop.

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Today at Jimmy’s 4-25

We have received our major spring order in for Simms. We have lots of new shirts in all different patterns and styles. We also have some updated waders for you to check out. The new Simms sportswear is awesome and there are some great new pieces we brought in.If you looking for something that is technical for fishing all day but looks good enough to wear to dinner or the bar at the end of the day, or your looking to sport your favorite fishing brand at work. We have everything to fit all those needs, come check it out!

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South Fork 4-25

Flows have been increased on the South Fork as of yesterday. The equipment at the Dam is malfunctioning so I don’t have a reading for the actual flows from the Dam. However I have been watching the flows at Heise. and the river flows down there have increase about 1,000 cfs. We will not know the Dam flow until the equipment is fixed, but I will get you all updated as soon as I find out. Wait a few days after the flows have been increased and the fishing will pick back up.

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Henry’s Fork

As with the Snake River drainage, snow pack in the Henry’s Fork drainage is at least 100% of normal.  This is more important news for the river below the  Warm River  confluence (Robinson Creek is a significant run-off stream) than above.  It suggests that Fall and Teton rivers will  be running with normal rather than less than normal run-off given that the rest of springtime is temperate or cool.  So plan your early season visit to the lower Henry’s Fork accordingly, and expect us to report on flow conditions that can influence fishing.

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South Fork

Most of us have been complaining about the terrible weather our region has been experiencing lately.  That weather includes rain and snow, all blown around by cold, strong winds.   But this cloud has a great silver lining in that snow pack in the Snake River drainage is now over 100% of normal.   Here’s why we discuss this good news in the fishing report.  If you are planning a visit from outside the immediate area to fish the South Fork, 100% of normal pack this late in the snow season greatly increases the chance that the river will have flows adequate through the summer to keep water cool  for good fishing.   Of course, this must be combined with a temperate springtime that keeps water in the reservoir system longer.  It is our practice to  keep on top of  flows in the river and report them here when significant changes occur.  But adding good snow pack news this time of year gives you even more information for making plans.

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