We see that flows out of Island Park Dam have been reduced to around 400 cfs. That makes for tougher boating through Box Canyon, but opens up a lot of wading possibilities. Two nymph rigs during daytime should produce, but streamers presented at the tops of holes and deeper runs, then on through, during low light conditions have a better chance for getting you into some of the big bows the “Box” is famous for hosting.
Fishing is picking up on the river below Ashton Dam. BWO, mahogany dun, and hopper patterns bring daytime action, but streamers under low light conditions will get you into the bigger fish.
This cooler weather is “just what the doctor ordered” for improving daytime fishing on the river below Ashton Dam. Look for the various BWO species, mahoganies, and midges to provide increased action to go along with possibilities from terrestrial insects. Consider that presenting streamer patterns under low light conditions will become more important the further we move through autumn.
Flow out of Palisades Dam was raised step-wise beginning 9/8 to about 7570 cfs to satisfy irrigation needs. Expect this coming week that flow out of the dam will be reduced back to levels before 9/8. This change should have no significant effect on fishing because of good water conditions and the high quality of aquatic insect activity we have seen on the South Fork this season. Thus we suggest using same strategies that have worked well before this change in flow . These include wading side channels and wading to riffles. For boating anglers, park boats and wade to fish riffles, or on drifting by, slam terrestrial patterns or Super-X’s near banks having overhead cover and good vegetation. Be ready to switch from mid summer mayfly patterns to BWO and mahogany dun life cycle patterns especially on riffles, and under low-light conditions devote more time to presenting streamer patterns.
The trico emergence on the Birch Creek diversion has peaked. Now it is the turn of BWOs to bring fish up on this tough to approach but excellent and little visited small stream. On observing the size of fish here, anyone would become interested. But these fish are not easy to fool because of surrounding thick willows and easily disturbed stream bottom. Want a test for your small stream skills? Try this one. It’s open year round.
We fished Sand Creek Pond #4 yesterday, and there is some good news to spread around. Water temps near the surface are in the mid fifties in deg. F. The caretaker hired by IDF&G relates that the ponds are filling. Around 2 PM the speckled dun emergence was thick enough to land individuals on our boats, decorate our hats, but most important to bring fish, large and small, to the surface. We also saw a few BWOs and egg laying caddis. Soft hackled patterns twitched slowly a bit under the surface worked just fine. So did floating speckled dun patterns.
There have been two drops in the flow the past week bringing the South fork down to 6434 cfs. We should see these drops throughout the Fall until irrigation season ends sometime in October. We are seeing less pale morning duns and more blue wing olives and mahogany duns. Continue to fish chernobyls in the flats and over the color changes along the banks.
Overall the fishing has been very good for this time of year. There have been some days where it has been slow during the middle of the day ,especially on bright days. On the sunny days we have done better in the late afternoon until dark.
Streamer fishing has been good early in the morning and again at night. Finally we have mentioned before that we have done well fishing dry flies in the shallow riffles even when there are no hatches, A good combination is a small parachute adams trailed by a mahogany dun or small CFO ant.
This coming two weeks is one of my favorite times to fish the Harriman State Park reach of the river. Crowds are definitely down, and more enjoyable weather prevails. Surely there are many approaches to fish the river during this time, and all can produce under the right conditions. Because it produces for me, my favorite is through long drifts around cover using a hopper pattern. I prefer using this technique with traditional patterns. That is because I believe their imprint on the smooth surface of the river here is closer to that of the natural insect than those patterns fashioned from foam and rubber. And this technique with traditional patterns produces for me on other streams with similar surfaces. On water of broken surface this difference is minimized. When presenting with a long drift be aware of drag, strive for a natural drift as long as possible, and wade as little as is practical.
Palisades Reservoir tribs are fishing quite well these days. Now that Labor Day weekend is behind us there will be fewer anglers on all these. Hoppers are out in abundance around all these streams, so are Mormon crickets, craneflies, ants, and beetles. Big Elk Creek could be an exception with respect to number of anglers because of the annual kokanee run and the anglers trying to catch them. Flavs are out there, and the kokanee do not inhibit the cutts from rising to flav emergers in the afternoon. McCoy Creek, being roadside for many miles, is most easily accessed, and easiest to fish. Bear Creek has beaver ponds (so does McCoy Creek) up and down its length, and these surely host the best fish in the creek. Also consider that any fly that works on these streams will also work on Palisades Creek below the reservoir.
Unfortunately we post the following notice from the Southeast Region Office of IDF&G. That notice is that boats cannot be launched at the Chesterfield Reservoir launch site because of low water. Water in the reservoir is low to the point that this site is far enough from the water level that attempts to launch will become mired in mud deep enough to bog trailers and vehicles. On a positive note, boats can be launched onto Daniels Reservoir where water temperatures have cooled to the point that fishing is good with midge pupa patterns under an indicator, small leech patterns, and speckled dun life cycle patterns. The same applies to Springfield Reservoir.
Recent rains impacted fishing on Park streams. The Lamar River discolored quite a bit, and Slough Creek had some discolor. Conditions are returning to normal, so go back to trico patterns in the morning, terrestrial patterns during daytime, then caddis life cycle patterns in the evening. We are getting near the time of year when browns and rainbows begin migrations into the Madison River. So get those streamer patterns into fishing shape!