Remember the comment “This time of year what happens on the lower Henry’s Fork is similar to what happens on the South Fork?” This is the case with brown trout migrating to spawning areas in both rivers, and presenting streamer patterns being a most effective strategy to encounter them. For sure resident rainbows ( and South Fork cutties) will also respond to well placed streamer patterns.
Scott Meikrantz took some very informative pictures of an obstruction dangerous to boating anglers on the lower South Fork. These were taken on October 12th this year. He gives the following explanations on the location of each pic.
Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
Pic 4 Pic 5
“Pic 1 is on the approach with the sweeper mid-frame; the channel on the bank of river left and the one splitting off the main will run you right into it. Pics 2,3 and 4 are as you drift by staying river right. Pic 5 is your view of river right as you drift by. The sweeper is about 1/2 mile down from the big rock wall on river right where there are some big homes a ways from the bank.”
Thank you, Scott! This is solid safety information for anyone float-fishing this part of the lower river.
Streamer fishing on the river is becoming more productive because of aggressive brown trout. Flows had been stable for several days but were dropped to 2300 cfs out of Palisades Dam yesterday. This action is sure to concentrate fish into deeper water, make float-fishing a bit more hazardous but increase walk-in wade opportunities.
Flow out of Palisades Dam has been steady at around 3240 cfs for about a week, and the weather is predicted to warm up. Streamer fishing is picking up, and some BWO action remains in the numerous riffles many of which are ideal for walk-in wade fishing. See the above pic of river bottom colors in Swan Valley. They make for a bonus when visiting the South Fork, but won’t be around much longer.
Flow below Mackay Dam is around 200 cfs, meaning wading is safe. BWOs come out during early PM hours with trout responding. But wintry weather predicted for the next few days means this weekend may make for a more comfortable visit.
Low water flow ( 3250 cfs at Irwin, 1660 cfs at Lorenzo) may be a “god send” for walk-in wade fishing, but it makes for perilous boat fishing in certain locations on the river. From Heise on downstream there are dangers where trees once underwater are now above and channels once passable are no longer that way. For example the river left in the Archer area has both these dangers. See our Facebook page for more details on dangers in this area, or get in touch at the shop. Nevertheless, hatches are holding up, and streamer fishing is improving. The upcoming weather may bring on “ice in your guides” periods, but better days will follow.
We have a few reports of success on Daniels Reservoir for those fly-fishers using midge pupa under an indicator. The taking depth must be found. Success for catching large trout from Sand Creek Ponds has not been the same as in past seasons, but smaller and mid-sized trout provide action by taking midge pupa patterns under an indicator or slowly retrieved leech patterns. Consider trying midge pupa patterns under an indicator in the Harriman Fish Pond now that aquatic vegetation is breaking up.
It is a “trout are where you find them” situation, meaning somewhat spotty fishing success so far with small fish (14″-16″) making up most of those responding. Hopefully the upcoming wintry weather spell will make for more consistent success.
The number of small streams offering good fishing this time of year narrows with cold water temperatures, reduced cover, and slowing insect activity being the major reasons. Some still offering some fishing success include Blackfoot, Teton, and Warm Rivers. Teton and Warm Rivers offer BWO hatches that still attract trout. On the Blackfoot River diminishing caddis activity is present with success through presenting streamer patterns increasing.
Aquatic and terrestrial insect hatches are “signing off” for the year. Now is when streamer patterns should dominate in that fly box. With the wintry weather predicted for the next few days there will be enough time to ensure this suggestion. Time at the tying bench or searching the fly bins of regional shops seems better than ice in the guides, in the reel mechanism and in freezing fingers. Better weather is coming and lower river brown trout will remain active for several weeks to come.