Here is some good news about a small stream that has recently been in the fishing doldrums. IDF&G is enhancing the native cutthroat trout population on Willow Creek east of Idaho Falls. Folks fishing the lower creek report some near trophy size fish and some very good action. Most of the action has been through presenting bead head nymphs, but with terrestrial insects growing, forage minnows present, and a good caddisfly population, a lot of fishing options are at hand here. There are several access places to public land on the creek above Ririe Reservoir and in Bonneville County. Visit us for more information on “where, how and when” to fish this stream.
The upper river offers the best fishing now, with flavs appearing in the PM, AM PMD spinner falls, evening caddis hatches and a growing terrestrial insect population. All this is taking place on the Last Chance-Harriman reach. Box Canyon offers good nymph fishing with you favorite bead head nymphs in medium sizes and with rubber leg patterns. The big event on the river this week on July 12th is the Caldera Symposium which combines science and fly-fishing. This event takes place 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM at Pond’s Lodge. Go to the Henry’s Fork Foundation web site to see details on this event which promises to increase your knowledge on how to approach Henry’s Fork fly fishing and appreciation for its fishery.
All waters are in or nearing top shape. Exceptions are the Firehole and Madison rivers and Trout Lake. Leave the Firehole alone until September, Trout Lake until late October, and visit the Madison early in the AM (spinner falls) or in the evening (caddis activity). Fall River Basin streams are in ideal shape for dry fly fishing with PMD and sally activity beginning in early afternoon hours. Brown drakes take over in the evening and one or two green drakes appear when water temps get to the low 50s in degrees F. Beula Lake offers the fastest still water fishing in the Park with its damselfly and speckled dun populations hatching. Add PM caddis coming down the inlet and fish there are responding mightily. Slough Creek brown drakes are coming on, so an evening visit there is a good idea. Grebe and Cascade lakes (both host grayling) offer similar fishing to Beula Lake. Fishing in Shoshone Lake will slow as waters warm.
Top water fishing here is improving considerably. Bring PMD and sally life cycle patterns for trying the riffles. Cycle from nymphs to emergers and cripples to duns as the day progresses. Fish will switch their interest through this cycle as the day progresses, so be ready to change your patterns. This kind of fishing should last for weeks to come as long as water levels, now close to ideal, stay where they are now. If they do, you will experience the fishing for which South Fork is famed. Overall nymph fishing is very good. Some big bugs remain in the canyon and periodically produce good fishing, and evening caddis activity brings responses from fish all along the river. The time to be on this best of rivers is just beginning.
Take it to the bank that because waters are now warming, it is time to go deeper or look for the coolest locations available in any still water location you fish. Fish will go deep looking for better concentrations of dissolved oxygen. It’s a good idea to have a reliable thermometer available when you visit a still water. Check water temperature a bit below the surface. When you see temperatures above the low to mid 60s, don’t expect the best fishing such location can offer. Late and especially very early in the day may be exceptions if water gets cooler.
Stick with “where to go” info we gave in the July 3rd report. All these streams remain good choices, but with warming weather, some will fade from the good fishing scene in a few weeks. We’ll keep tabs on these for making recommendations to you.
Good reports are coming in from Beula Lake where small beadhead and damselfly nymphs are producing. The Firehole River is done for good fishing until September. Some PMDs and lots’a caddis remain on the Madison River for evening fishing. Some evening brown drakes remain on Duck Creek and meadow reaches of the Gibbon River. Fall River Basin streams are shaping up with run-off about finished. Look for their green and brown drakes to begin emerging. Right now PMDs and sallies are just beginning to bring surface feeders on all Basin streams. The Gallatin river is also free of run-off and giving good PM fishing with active caddis and some golden stones.