Terrestrial patterns are about the most important dry flies to have in the box these days for success on Park streams. This includes hoppers (of course), ants, craneflies, and beetles. So many flyfishers forget patterns for a terrestrial not in the above list of suggestions. That would be patterns to simulate deer flies and horseflies. If you enjoy fishing meadow streams such as Slough, Boundary, Duck, and Soda Butte Creeks or Bechler, Fall, Madison, or Gibbon Rivers, you know how annoying these pests can be. They seem most numerous on the brightly sunlit areas of these and other like waters, and their bite hurts like “——!” I have been accused of “chumming” when I swat one, then flick the crushed result into the water to wait for a downstream take. When I hear that rise take place, I put an imitation on and go for it. A big, juicy looking humpy is my favorite for this purpose, but choose your favorite, and with a downstream drift, you are sure to have action.
Overall fishing the South Fork has been good. There have been a couple of days where it has been slow but the cooler water temperatures this July has made the fishing better than recent summers.
Most days there is some good activity in the riffles with pale morning duns, both olive/yellow and pink. When fishing the riffles your best success will come by constantly changing your patterns from high silhouette duns to emergers and then maybe a nymph suspended in the surface film. Drift purple or gold bodied chernobyl stones against the slower grassy banks and over the riffle drop offs. There are some big hoppers out on the lower river below Byington and down to Menan. We are starting to see some golden(mutant) stone casings along the shore but we need to see some drops in the river flow to really get those bugs emerging. If you stay on the river late there has been a good caddis hatch. Finally we have still been relying on a brown rubber leg/small tungsten nymph combination when nothing is going on topside.
The next two to three days we are suppose to have some good cloud cover and that usually makes for better fishing. Good luck!
Area stillwaters have slowed down for the most part due to the summer heat and water levels being drawn down. The reservoirs to the southeast have been most affected by the summer heat. The only real option on lakes like Daniels and Chesterfield is fishing deep and fishing early. Fast sinking lines and deep indicator fishing with double chironomid set ups have been most productive.
Lakes and Reservoirs to the North have fared a little better as far as water levels and water temperatures. We have received good reports from Hebgen, Cliff, Wade, Island Park, and Henry’s Lake in the past week. Henry’s Lake has been fishing well around the Targhee Creek area early in the morning with patterns like the Henry’s Lake Pheasant tail, Henry’s Lake Renegade, Lt. Olive Crystal, and Henry’s Lake scud. Concentrate on shallow water early and work your way to deeper water as the sun continues to rise.
The Sand Creek Ponds have been fishing well lately too. After a slow opener, things seem to have picked up a little bit. The best fishing has been early and late in the day with damsel and Callibaetis nymphs under an indicator. On certain days, the dry fly fishing on Callibaetis spinners has been very good. If you prefer to fish sinking lines, a slow sinking line and darker brown/olive mohair leeches have been producing well.
Looking for another great small stream to take a youngster or physically challenged person to for a chance for a good fly fishing experience? For sure Birch Creek is a great selection, but McCoy Creek is another. It is currently in great fishing shape. Go south on US Hwy 89 from Alpine, Wyoming, then about three miles below town, take the McCoy Creek Road back into Idaho along the Palisades Reservoir southeast shore. After the road crosses McCoy Creek and closely parallels it going upstream, you will see a number of pull-out with the creek close by. Meadow and riffle-run stretches are present. This time of year dry terrestrial patterns, caddis life cycle patterns, traditional attractor, and on occasion flav life cycle patterns will bring cutts up. It will be rare to attract a cutt over fifteen inches, but you never know for sure. So easy to access, scenic country, and eager trout makes for a good selection!
No big change since our 7/14 report. Flows are stable (13200 cfs at dam, 13700 at Heise) with water temps in the mid 50s coming out of the dam. The upper river offers the best fishing. A few golden stones remain.Try PMD and pink albert life cycle patterns in the riffles. Timing is nymphs early, then emergers as the day progresses, on to duns if you see fish taking on the surface. Afternoon caddis activity can bring fish up. Terrestrial patterns will be important soon. Try your favorite streamer pattern early in the morning, and around sunset. And remember that for all your dry patterns, presentation and ability to see them on the surface trumps choice.
Sand Creek Ponds opened to boating Wednesday. Results were mixed. Most reports we have talk of smaller fish coming from Pond #4. Water temps seem to be in the mid 60s in degrees F., so water temp is not yet an issue. could be the best days are ahead
Fishing on the lower South Fork from the lower canyon downstream has slowed down a lot from last week. The best fishing is in the upper river from the dam through the canyon and that is where most folks are targeting until fishing improves on the lower river.
If you do venture out on the lower river look for nymphing to be your best method. We should start to see the mutant golden stones appear first on the river below byington which should makes thing better for that stretch.
The giant stonefly event is pretty much over, but fish still know what they are, so keep a few patterns for them in your fly box. Golden stones, PMDs (3 tails on duns), pink alberts (2 tails on duns), afternoon caddis, and sallys are keeping fish active on most of the river. So be sure to have patterns for their life cycle in that box. Don’t overlook swinging one of Wes Newman’s Super-X patterns under, then away from overhead cover.
A good reason why South Fork fishing is stacking up better this year than last is that Palisades Reservoir at 75% of capacity. This means cooler water (currently around 54 deg. F just below Palisades Dam) going into the river. Last year with the reservoir at so much less of capacity, water going into the river was warmer making dry fly fishing frustratingly slow by this time of year. Are you a South Fork enthusiast? Count your blessings for 2014 because good water conditions should go on for quite some time here.
All small streams not impacted by irrigation water are in good fishing shape. The lower Blackfoot River is an exception because of fluctuating flows of irrigation water. But the river above the reservoir, having opened on July 1st, is in good fishing shape. Try your favorite PMD life cycle patterns here, and for the meadow reach in the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area look for a sparse evening brown drake emergence. And remember that adult damselfly patterns will work here as they will on any meadow stream.