Flow is at summertime rates (about 12000 cfs out of Palisades Dam and around 13000 cfs at Heise) and likely to stay around that amount for the near future. See our recent fishing reports for fly pattern suggestions. In several days the big stone flies will begin their activity, and we will offer strategies and fly patterns for enjoying that event. For now the river offers a less crowded and more tranquil, but less colorful option to the Henry’s Fork.
Fishing here has been nearly excellent with moderately sized (16-18″) cutthroat providing the bulk of action. Leech, fly rod jig, damsel fly nymph, and streamer patterns: all seem to bring action from moderate depths. Just about anywhere you can access the lake is suitable for enjoying the fun. Expect crowding at the State Park and the County Boat Dock with anglers of all types telling believable and unbelievable stories and coming and going.
The big stoneflies have come and gone from the river. Straggling goldens can be around on upper sections including Coffee Pot and wind blown into the Flat Ranch section. Now the big mayfly emergence array has taken over. Green drakes are diminishing on the lower river, but flavs, gray drakes & PMDs are taking over to be accompanied with PM caddis and a growing amount of sallies. The trick here is to find trout’s preference at a given time then present life cycle patterns for that preference. If you want fly-fishing company, the Box Canyon to Riverside section is for you.
The array of mayfly activity ( minus gray drakes in number) continues on the upper river. From the top end of the Mesa Falls Scenic Highway to view towards the river looks like a massive trailer camp. The Last Chance rest stop is full of parked vehicles, and there you can hear foreign languages and English language accents from all corners of the earth. Dozens of boats will pass you by along the river during a day of fishing. All this is for good reason: this section of the river currently offers arguably the best trout fishing in the country. So be patient and considerate if you plan a visit!
All sorts of hatches are taking place on the river. The lower river still offers golden stoneflies hatching along with PMDs, PM caddis and green drakes starting. Hopefully gray drakes will join this array. On the upper river golden stones predominate over giant stoneflies and green drakes will start being important any day. PMDs and PM caddis offer action almost everywhere. All this means this near best of all trout streams is attracting fly-fishers in numbers in accordance with the variety and number of aquatic insects for trout to enjoy. You will certainly have company almost everywhere on the river whether you wade or use a boat. Be patient and diplomatic. Remember that many visitors are coming from areas not as fortunate as locally with respect to the pandemic impact and social unrest. Show them how lucky we are to live in eastern Idaho.
With flow out of Palisades Dam down to about 11900 cfs ( 13000 at Heise, 5800 cfs at Lorenzo), fishing strategy is very similar to what we suggested on Memorial Day weekend. That is rubberlegs and streamers fished deep in faster water, Also consider San Juan worm, squirmy wormy, super renegade, and super-X patterns there and in softer water. Look for a modest BWO hatch in shallow riffles during afternoons and oncoming caddis at that time.
Forget about the Teton River drainage upstream in the canyon and in the valley because of flooding proportion run-off. Just glances from U. S. Highway 20 at the adjacent flooded pastures and the snow remaining on the Teton Range west slope should be convincing enough to stay away for now. Irrigation water continues coming down the lower Blackfoot River and will continue to do so in varying amounts throughout the summer. Successful fishing there will be reduced to using streamer and woolly bugger patterns on sink-tip lines. The drainage above the reservoir does not open to fishing until July 1st. Palisades Reservoir tributaries are rounding into good fishing shape with presenting wet flies being the best approach. Sinks drainage streams including Birch and Beaver Creeks and Little Lost River are in fishing condition with wet flies and small woolly bugger types bringing success. Salt River tributaries flowing east out of Idaho (Crow, Jackknife, Stump and Tincup Creeks) are in run-off modes.
Where is it?
Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir has been excellent fishing with best approach being presenting midge pupa patterns under an indicator after finding the taking depth. Slowly trolled small leech patterns on an intermediate line also work. We have no recent information on Chesterfield Reservoir. Damselfly life cycle patterns are working at Springfield Reservoir, but the stand-by midge pupa pattern at the taking depth produces best. Small black leech patterns also have been producing. From what we have heard, Daniels Reservoir still has good fishing at the far side upper end, but has slowed at bit. The Harriman Fish Pond has good hold-over rainbows, but the weed growth there is big time. This reduces frustration-free fishing to surface fishing or patterns under an indicator.
Fishing is picking up on the lake even though weather came be a bit perilous. We have reports of good fishing in front of the cliffs and due east in front of the county boat dock, both at moderate to deep water. Leech and streamer patterns apply. But really “good fishing is where you find it” applies to the lake.