Flow out of Palisades Dam dropped to 11000 yesterday. Water temperature just below the dam is 65 deg. F. That’s getting a bit high for the best fishing, especially because we can expect further decreases in flow. Palisades Reservoir is down to 28% capacity. Early in the day fish chernobyl types because mutant stoneflies are coming on. By late morning go to rubber legs trailed by your favorite small nymph pattern. During evenings a good caddis hatch is on-going, making for the best dry fly fishing these days.
Streamer fishing has been holding up (fish early, fish late) fairly well even with some increase in flow. Fishing from a boat is better than wading for now. When waters drop later in the summer more wading opportunities will come around.
We have reports that the gulper action on Hebgen Lake has been somewhat spotty lately. Most of these reports come from folks fishing the Madison Arm, which usually offers the best during gulper season. But it is early in this season, so there is plenty of time for improvement. When we receive reports of better action, we will post them here.
Some meadow streams here are doing fairly well with respect to water flow. Fall River Basin streams and the Gibbon River are amongst these. The Lamar River and other northeast corner streams are not so lucky with flows considerably below normal. So fish early, fish late really applies there. For all these your best chances will be days with enough cumulus clouds to threaten thunder showers. Cumulus clouds indicate increased relative humidity, and this helps much in aquatic insect hatches. Drier air of those bright days means these insects will dry out more quickly allowing shorter time to mate and lay eggs, so they have evolved to hatch in bigger numbers when relative humidity increases. This coupled with good water flows (such as in Fall River Basin streams) hints at when and where to find best fishing success during these hot dry days. All this really does not apply to terrestrial insects, but add the active aquatic insects (speckled duns are in case in the waters given above) and you have a better chance at good fishing!
Fishing success is holding up well at Daniels Reservoir. Try the upper end and east shoreline with your favorite midge pupa pattern under an indicator. Find the taking depth, and action will come. Be sure to have some of your favorite damselfly nymph patterns on hand. Again, late and early are the best times to fish. We have a few good reports from folks trying Springfield Reservoir. Here fish cruise the channels between weed beds looking for food subsurface and on the surface. Presenting a dry damselfly pattern on top of channels between weed beds is effective. Use a strong (3X-4X) leader because hook fish can dive into the weed beds in an effort to escape.
Jim and Jimmy fished the upper Blackfoot River a few days ago and had a good experience on the upper end of the Wildlife Management Area. If you have never fished this part of the Blackfoot River, consider a visit. From Interstate-15 take the Sunnyside exit and go east on Sunnyside past Ammon and up into the foothills. Sunnyside eventually connects with the Bone Road. At this intersection take a right on the Bone Road and head south past Bone. Just south of Bone the road splits. Take the left hand branch, the Long Valley Road, and follow around the east side of Grey’s Lake to Idaho Highway 34. Take a left on the highway to Wayan then a right on the Williamson Loop Road. Go about a mile and take a left on the Lanes Creek Road. Follow this road south to its intersection with the Diamond Creek Road. Here you can take a left onto this road to a parking area on the river. Or you can take a right at the intersection where the road becomes the Blackfoot River Road. Follow it to a parking area on the left, or continue on the road to the lower end of the Wildlife Management Area, take a left to park near the river. All three of the parking areas give convenient access to the river. Cutthroat trout are here in good numbers with a very occasional brook trout arriving from the Diamond Creek beaver ponds. Hoppers are out in good numbers, so what to use is obvious, but also bring a few PMD life cycle and traditional attractor patterns. The country is beautiful so do not leave that camera behind. Best of all, you just may be the only one fishing this classic meadow stream.
Best reservoir fishing to the southeast is in Daniels Reservoir. Although a bit low in water, it offers good fishing for those presenting midge pupa and damselfly nymph patterns under an indicator. Fish early, fish late applies. Springfield Reservoir has weeded up, but try placing your favorite adult damselfly pattern on the surface over channels through the weed beds. You may have to stay focused the same as when fishing a pattern under an indicator, but waiting for something to take on the surface is more interesting. Want to try a different still water location? Consider Paul Reservoir off the Humphrey Exit from I-15 just below Monida Pass. A fifteen inch cutt will be a braggin’ fish, so select your equipment accordingly. You can fish from shore or easily launch a float tube or pontoon boat. No motors are allowed, and very few folks other than natives know of this place.
Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped to 11800 cfs yesterday. Water temperature at the dam is 64 Deg. F. That’s warm enough for wet wading, but not good for much else. The warmer temperature has slowed daytime fishing on the river below whether through using PMD life cycle, terrestrial patterns, or whatever . So “fish early, fish late” applies once more. There is a real advantage to doing so in addition to better fishing: fewer anglers. Expect more flow drops out of the dam coming as in-flow to the reservoir remains less than out-flow.
Mid summer is here, and changes happen on many small waters. On streams where flows drop to the point of little overhead cover and higher in-stream temperature, fish move usually downstream to seek more cover and cooler flows in a main stem water. A good example is that fabulous little brook trout stream, Rock Creek off the Cave Falls Road. Here as waters drop and warm with mid summer, many resident brookies move down into Robinson Creek. The same also happens on lower Willow Creek. This part of the creek provides good early season fishing when flows between 50 and 100 cfs offer better living conditions than much lower summertime flows and warmer in-stream temperatures. So many fish move down into Ririe Reservoir. Streams with a more constant flow such as from springs (Birch Creek, Big Elk Creek, Henry’s Fork above Island Park Reservoir) or with upstream lakes that add sub-surface water(Palisades Creek, Fall River in Yellowstone Park) will not be impacted as much this time of year.