Flows are going up on the South Fork! As of yesterday the flows were increased and will continue to increase until they reach 18,000 cfs on the 18th of May. Once this is sustained for a couple days the flows will drop to it’s normal summer flows around 13,000 cfs in time for Memorial Day weekend. Apparently we have enough snow pack in the mountains that they feel we can have a flush this year. The reservoir is only 43% full right now but the inflow into the lake is rising very quickly.
We don’t advise floating the river during the flush due to all the trees and debris that will be floating down the river. Time to focus on the Henry’s Fork for a week to 10 days.
Here is the press release from the Bureau of Reclamation:
Snake River Flows Increasing to Benefit Native Fish
BURLEY, Idaho — The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows in the Snake River below Palisades Dam this week to about 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Each day, starting May 13, the flow will increase about 15 percent until the maximum is reached on May 18. After the high flow is sustained for two days, it will be slowly decreased. The flow will return to the 30-year average of about 13,000 cfs during Memorial Day weekend.
“One objective of this operation is to approach 20,000 cfs at the gage near Heise, approximately 48 river miles downstream of Palisades,” said Roland Springer, Assistant Area Manager for Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office. “Providing high flows at the same time that nature would provide them benefits native fish.”
These water releases will not affect Reclamation’s ability to meet its water delivery obligations. American Falls Reservoir will store the water that is passed through Palisades Reservoir to be used farther downstream.
The river will be fast and cold during the high flow period. Please use caution and be aware when recreating near the river.
Just wanted to give you guys a heads up that the flows on the South Fork have been increased to 9,000 cfs. Still the same game of nymphing egg patterns, bead head nymphs and stonefly patterns. Concentrate on the slower water and the riffles. There will not be many fish on the bank until the water temp increases.
The flows were raised the last few days to 8,600 cfs. This has been effecting the fishing a little, but give it 12-18 hours since the last increase in flows and the fish seem to settle down and start eating again. Rollin guided this weekend and they caught a good number of fish on egg patterns and stonefly nymphs. The gauge at the Irwin site reports the water temp is at 40 degrees. So as things warm up the fish will become increasingly more aggressive towards streamers. I would still fish a streamer right now though I would however continue to concentrate on the slow water and deep pools in the water. Ripping a piece of meat off of the bank right now will most likely not prove to be that effective given how cold the water is.
I don’t know when the water is going to stop rising…probably in the fall, right? Seriously though the water flow is going to keep increasing for the next few months and watching the flows can really help improve your catching rate on the river.
Lorenzo boat ramp is still all screwed up and the word from the BLM is the new ramp will not be in order until this fall. Please use common sense when launching and taking out at Lorenzo. It is only big enough for one boat at a time…So use caution.
Well the Caddis are hatching! Very good fishing this past weekend on the lower river from Warm River confluence to the Fun Farm. The caddis hatch is bringing all sizes of fish to the surface. The nymphing is also very good right now while you are waiting for the hatch to come off. The water below the Fall River confluence is a little off color but don’t let the discourage you from going. The fishing is still good and the water clarity is not that bad. This is going to change as things continue to warm up and we will keep you posted when that happens. The streamer fishing is also picking up, I had a good report of fish chasing streamers from Warm River to Ashton on Saturday. The flows on the river are normal for this time of year so make sure you get out there and get some fishing in. Be sure to swing by the shop or call us for any information or up to the minute reports.
Lots of action on the Henry’s Fork right now! The Mothers Day Caddis have been hatching in huge numbers from Warm River to Ashton. Along with March Brown Mayflies and BWO’s. Below Ashton we have seen some Skwala’s, March Browns, and BWO’s with only a few caddis. Traditionally the caddis do not hatch in the huge numbers we see from Warm River to Ashton. The fish will still key on them below Ashton and you would be foolish to leave those flies at home. If you don’t feel like dry fly fishing you can always fish nymphs with an indicator. Caddis pupa, stonefly nymphs, and pheasant tails, or any other mayfly nymph will be effective.
This is my favorite time of the year to fish the Henry’s Fork. I love the caddis hatch and there are not very many people on the water compared to June. The fish are hungry and willing to eat. They haven’t seen very many flies and this time of year offers the oppertunity to catch some monster brown trout on the lower river. Take advantage of these warm windless spring days and go fishing!
Flows on the South Fork have leveled off at 6,500 cfs for the last 2 days. We don’t know when flows will be increase but for now things have settled down enough to expect some decent fishing. With the rise in water flows the water temperature has decreased which means nymphing is going to be the best option for hooking fish. The rainbows are also spawning so egg patterns will be effective as well as the standard stonefly nymph and bead head. Don’t forget the San Juan worm that always seems to be a trout favorite in the spring. Fishing streamers will also produce fish however presentations need to be slow and concentrated in the deep pools and slowing moving water.
With the cold spring we have been experiencing the snow pack has not begun to melt at all. This is a good thing because we are now at 100% of our average snow pack for the year. I am still hoping for more rain and snow in the mountains this spring. This will slow down the need for irrigation demand and hopefully allow us to add some more snow in the mountains. This will help us in August with cold water and hopefully more PMD hatches. All in all the season is shaping up to be good with great water conditions. I have been told we will be having a flush on the river. Similar to past years I expect that to be during Memorial Day weekend, however I have not heard an official word from the Bureau of Reclamation to confirm my assumption. We will update this report with any information we hear as soon as we know.
Birch Creek is the best option for fishing a small stream right now. Being essentially a spring creek in origin, it is influenced little by run-off after snow around it is gone, such as now. See our web site article on Birch Creek for details. A strategy for fishing it is to present nymph and very small wooly worm patterns during the morning hours, then as the waters warm and insects (caddis, midges, BWOs) emerge during the PM hours switch to dry patterns. Warm River is another small stream not influenced by a large amount of high country run-off. It is open for catch and release fishing until general season begins. Consider the same strategy as we suggest for Birch Creek for fishing it this time of the season.
Ice is off the irrigation reservoirs in the southeast corner of the region. Information coming in this time of year is scanty as usual, but we have reports of action at Hawkins, Treasureton, and Daniels reservoirs where small wooly bugger types are working on all three from what we are told. Chesterfield Reservoir appears to be in the last stages of turning over, so better days fishing it are ahead. We will keep on top of conditions on these reservoirs because of their popularity and because they will be important destinations when run-off and increased irrigation flows impact our streams. A carp fishing tournament is in the planning stages for mid May on Blackfoot River Reservoir. When we have more information on this event, we will post it here and in the shop.
Flows have been increased on the South Fork as of yesterday. The equipment at the Dam is malfunctioning so I don’t have a reading for the actual flows from the Dam. However I have been watching the flows at Heise. and the river flows down there have increase about 1,000 cfs. We will not know the Dam flow until the equipment is fixed, but I will get you all updated as soon as I find out. Wait a few days after the flows have been increased and the fishing will pick back up.