South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 6)

Yellowstone Park 7-23-19

Major quality streams in the northeast portion of the park are now in good fishing shape ( green drakes, PMDs, PM caddis, sallys, terrestrial insects increasing) barring thundershowers that muddy the Lamar River in particular. The problem is that the easily accessed portions ( lower Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek in meadow below the campground and the meadow just above it, Lamar River meadows) are crowded with visiting anglers.  Getting to these great waters is also frustrating because of the massive tourist traffic on park roads causing delays which shorten ” Time on the Water.”  Minimize these delays by traveling earlier in the day: the earlier the better.  Rewards are lighter tourist traffic and the chance to be first on the water.

Compare this to equivalent or even better quality Fall River Basin streams in the diagonally opposite (Southwest) corner of the Park. These streams ( Fall River and Bechler Rivers, Mountain Ash and  Boundary Creeks)  have non-existent crowding, especially on walking as far as one would on Slough Creek and the Lamar River to find equal social conditions.  And tourist traffic is always minimal.  True, Fall River Basin streams are considerably more remote, about 25 miles distant, half over which is gravel, by road from Ashton ID. But therein lies the reason for their giving a better chance of tranquility and an even a better fishing experience.

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South Fork 7-20-19

The South Fork is doing what it is famed for this time of year. Flows are consistent, (12300 cfs out of Palisades Dam and at Heise, whereas normal flow is 12900 cfs),  good hatches in the riffles, terrestrial insect importance coming, and a few big bugs still out  above Conant.

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Henry’s Fork 7-20-19

The lower river, especially below Ashton Dam, is comfortable enough for swimming.  For the river in the Island Park area it is soon time to break out terrestrial insect patterns.  Flows in the river in the Flat Ranch Preserve are beginning to drop, so look for fish there to begin moving to the cooler river below.  The flow there is dominated by the Big Springs outflow, so should be quite hospitable.

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Yellowstone Park 7-20-19

Streams in the northeast corner of the park are now in good fishing shape ( green drakes, sallys, PMDs, caddis). Slough Creek and the Lamar River are a bit high but clear. The lower end of Soda Butte will be the most crowded. A bit high will be a good situation in all waters considering the hot weather predicted for the coming week. Avoid fishing the Firehole below Old Faithful to give the already heat stressed fish a break.

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Still Waters 7-20-19

 

 

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Summer time warm-up has begun, but will really get going with the predicted heat coming next week.  This means fishing early and late in the day just about anywhere is most productive.  Growing aquatic vegetation makes dry fly and indicator fishing the most practical methods.  Speckled dun life cycle patterns, deep, slowly trolled streamers  (Type 2 or intermediate lines) , and midge pupa under an indicator and at the taking depth are best bets for action during these times.  We have not received much specific information on regional still waters. Sand Creek Ponds are now open for fishing from non-motorized boats. Plenty of fish are being caught, but not many are trophy size.

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South Fork 7-16-19

Big bugs are up into Swan Valley meaning plenty of boats there, but PMD life cycle and sally patterns do best in riffles anywhere therefore offering some walk in wade fishing.  Before riffle fishing becomes active try rubber legs or even a “Duracel ” jig dropper under your favorite Chernobyl variation.  Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped a few 100 cfs’s. This small of a drop does not impact fishing.

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Yellowstone Park 7-16-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The only current problem with fishing in the park is tourist traffic. Best way to avoid it is to get there early.  Yellowstone River above Chittenden Bridge opened to fishing yesterday.  We have no reports on fishing there yet, but soon big stoneflies ( already in the canyons below) and then green drakes will bring on activity.

Please avoid fishing the Firehole River below Old Faithful until September. Daytime water temps now get into the seventy degrees F. making playing fish lethal. The Madison and Gibbon ( no salmonids above Virginia Cascade) are also warming up making evenings and early AMs (PMD spinner & caddis life cycle patterns) the best times to fish.  The upper Gallatin is shaping up, a bit high but clear, with stoneflies and caddis providing action. Traditional attractor patterns always work well on this stream.

Northeast corner streams are rounding into shape. Slough Creek is a bit high, but clear. Green drakes are beginning with PMDs and yellow sallies providing action there and on other streams.  Look for lower section of Soda Butte Creek to become crowded as soon as good fishing arrives.  Thunder showers can muddy the Lamar to the point of “you’ll have to wait a day or two.”

Water levels are dropping in all Fall River Basin streams ( Bechler & Fall rivers, Boundary & Mountain Ash Creeks). Terrestrial insect season is around the corner on these streams. PMDs are still around, but in smaller sizes. Beula Lake is offering some of the fastest fishing in the Park. You will need to complete a two and a half mile walk from the Ashton-Flagg Road to enjoy it, but the rewards are Yellowstone cutts with a few up to trophy size. Damselfly life cycle and small leech patterns work well. Soon speckled dun and cinnamon caddis will peak. Pack in a flotation device for best fishing, but wading the inlet and east side gets you into fish.

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Small Streams 7-13-19

We are in the time of year when South Fork-Palisades Reservoir tributaries can be destinations.Those going into the reservoir from the south, McCoy and Bear Creek, still hold a few large run-up fish. A well maintained road runs the length of McCoy Creek, a good trail  (motorized only for trail bikes) leaves the parking-corral area and runs for miles up Bear Creek.  A good non-motorized trail runs for miles up Big Elk Creek (entering from the north) which around mid August features an afternoon western green drake emergence. These streams host only cutthroat trout. Terrestrial, traditional attractor, golden stone, yellow sally, and caddis patterns work best with PMD life cycle patterns the best in mayflies for each creek. Descriptions of campgrounds on these can be seen on the Caribou-Targhee N. F. web site.

Streams coming into the South Fork below Palisades Dam include Burns, Palisades, Pine, and Rainey Creek.  Pine Creek is paralleled by State Highway 31 and therefore heavily fished for cutthroat trout.  Palisades Creek is the only one with a campground, has a non-motorized trail paralleling for miles, and below Lower Palisades Lake hosts cutthroat and cutt-bow hybrid trout.  Rainey Creek, paralleled by a gravel road hosts a diminished population of cutthroat trout, but offers good fishing in its upper reach.  Burns Creek is reached from the 12-mile gravelled River Road upstream from Heise. A motorized trail parallels it for miles with the best fishing for cutthroat trout being in its upper reach. The same fly selection given for streams running into Palisades Reservoir apply to these streams.

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