South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 8)

Southwestern Montana 8-12-17

For the Madison River, same as on the Henry’s Fork: expect best action during early in the day spinner falls and evening caddis activity. Terrestrial patterns along well vegetated banks will be you best bet during day time.  If you fish below the wade only section, whether you are wading or from a boat, expect interruptions from other boating anglers having accents or lingo from all corners of the world.

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Still Waters 8-12-17

The “Fish deep, Fish early, etc”  saying still applies just about everywhere.   The only exception might be for presenting dry speckled dun and damselfly patterns in the event rising fish are spotted.   On most of our reservoirs the top several inches of water are warmer than below and therefore of less comfort when fish move into this level. This suggests that only a dense emergence of these insects will bring fish to the top and that in other situations they are more likely to feed at lower depths on such as nymph, leech, and pupa forms simply because of higher dissolved oxygen concentrations.  Thus be sure to include  these “deeper water” patterns in that fly box even though you may spot fish rising.

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Yellowstone Park 8-12-17

If you enjoy presenting terrestrial insect patterns on meadow streams, this time of year the park offers an unmatched variety of quality waters for doing so. Starting in the southwest corner, all Fall River Basin (Bechler, & Fall Rivers, Boundary & Mountain Ash Creeks) streams have meadow reaches full of ants, beetles, crane flies, and grasshoppers and not many fly-fishing visitors. The same insects prevail in the meadow stretches on Duck Creek and the Gibbon River, and the “Grasshopper Bank” on the Madison River was named for good reason.  Do Firehole River trout a favor and try elsewhere until late September cools waters to their comfort. Now that the big stonefly events have moved through the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River, terrestrial insect patterns bring the big interest from trout as they do on the Gardner River meadow sections. Not to be outdone, the northeast corner of the park offers almost a many quality meadow streams as Fall River Basin, but in a more crowded manner. Lamar River and Slough and Soda Butte Creek offer roadside convenience as well as upstream isolation.  To the south, Lewis River meadow sections and the Snake River around and above the south entrance offer the same.

Certainly aquatic insect activity attracts trout on all these waters with such as AM spinner falls,  daytime PMD & speckled dun emergences and some afternoon caddis activity. But you can bet on those big fish lurking in undercuts and beneath well-vegetated banks waiting for that unfortunate terrestrial guy drifting by and a resulting take!

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Small Streams 8-12-17

What a difference a year makes with respect to small stream fishing success! Last year such as Palisades Reservoir tribs as McCoy and Bear Creeks were slow dry fly fishing most of the summer. Now both host some large cutts that have remained in-stream because of abundant food, better cover, and cooler water.  Traditional dry patterns (humpys, renegades, wulffs, p-chute adams & cahills), caddis life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns bring action with the chance for a trophy cutt responding from late morning to early evening.  Afternoon western green drake (flav) activity on Big Elk Creek, in addition to what works on other reservoir tribs, makes that creek particularly fun to visit.  Look for the kokanee run to start there soon, and let’s see if the same happens on Bear Creek where IDF&G transplanted some last year from Big Elk Creek.  Teton River PMD and speckled dun activity is bringing action in the river in the Basin.  But the canoe, kayak, row boat, and paddle-board emergence can hinder mid day fishing. So best chance for uninterrupted fishing there is during early AM spinner falls, and evening caddis emergence, but do not overlook presenting terrestrial insect patterns during daytime and early evening. The Blackfoot River above the reservoir features cutts responding to the great grasshopper abundance in not only the wildlife management area but the Monsanto purchase downstream of the narrows.

So it goes on and on with great small stream fishing in the area. Come to the shop, or get in touch with us for more info on our abundance of great small waters to visit and current conditions on them.

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Henry’s Fork 8-12-17

For the lower river “fish early, fish late ” applies and likely will until the end of summer, especially downstream of the Ashton Dam.  Early spinner falls (some PMDs and increasing tricos) and late day caddis activity are the best events for having action.  Presenting terrestrial insect patterns provides the best chance for action during day time (also effective early evenings), whether wading or presenting back toward the banks from a boat.   Trail those patterns with a small bead head nymph of choice.  Similar strategy applies to the river at Last Chance-Harriman section, but take into account the increasing presence of flying ants.  Flow out of Henry’s Lake is holding up (100 cfs) in the Flat Ranch section with trico spinner falls, speckled dun activity and terrestrial insect presence the bases for action.  However with warming water coming in from the lake above, look for fishing action to slow a bit as we move through August.

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South Fork 8-12-17

Finally riffle fishing is nearing the good category! PMDs and pink alberts are emerging  from these. Emergences  of both are overlapping a bit more than usual  because of high water earlier this summer.   So choosing the best pattern at a given time is interesting. Fishing back to the banks seems to be lagging a bit even though terrestrial insect population is excellent, so look for future improvement.  Be sure to keep rubber leg patterns in that fly box because although not significant mutant golden stone flies are yet to appear, their nymphs are migrating. Right now flow out of Palisades Dam is about 9000 cfs and about the same at Heise.  That’s just about where the flow should be historically.

One thing to consider is that the lengthy time of high water coming from the dam has changed local bottom structure in the river below.  In places riffles have moved downstream, some have become runs, some holes have deepened while others have filled in, and so on. For sure the fish are still in the river, but favored locations are not always in the same places as last season. Now the fun will be to figure out where the best new locations for fishing are.

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Still Waters 8-8-17

“Fish early, fish late, fish slow, fish deep!” So recommends our own Tom Banyas. Try leech patterns when doing so.  be aware that the notice for blue-green algae on Henry’s Lake may eventually apply to some other still waters.  Likely the best and most consistent still water fishing in the area remains on Hebgen Lake bays where gulpers are still active during wind-free AM hours.

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Henry’s Lake 8-8-17

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has issued a blue-green algae warning for Henry’s Lake. Even boiling the water will not kill the toxins produced. So culinary use of any kind is out for now, and if you do keep any fish for the table you are taking a chance unless they are thoroughly cleaned and skinned beforehand. With respect to fishing, this bloom signals that fishing action is slow and makes for another reason to wait until autumn for action to improve and for safer water.

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Small Streams 8-5-17

For fishing all our small waters it is the time of year when you can rely on caddis life cycle and especially terrestrial insect patterns as being effective for taking trout. Particularly effective mayfly patterns this time of year vary water to water and are generally less important as trout food.  Here are some exceptions. On the Teton River in the canyon and below gray drakes are important.  Western green drake patterns (flavs, etc) will be important on South Fork and Palisades Reservoir tribs, particularly Big Elk Creek. These are also important on the Big Lost River. Any small stream of low gradient, sandy/silty bottom and adjacent or in-stream still water (think beaver ponds) will have some speckled dun populations. In a few weeks tricos will be important in attracting trout on many streams. So don’t switch all your mayfly patterns to storage!

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South Fork 8-1-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped to 8450 cfs yesterday (9870 cfs at Heise). That’s lower than normal for this date historically. Reports we receive suggest best fishing on the river is above Byington.  Presenting nymph or streamer patterns remains the best way to action with dry fly fishing not up normal quality throughout.  No mutant golden stoneflies appearing in significant amounts yet. When they migrate presenting nymph patterns is fruitful, but when they come back to the stream surface this year, will dry fly fishing pick up?  That’s a good question in this year of unusual water flows. When we hear of improved dry fly fishing, we will post where, when, and patterns here.

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