Big caddisfly hatch is going on from Vernon Bridge down to Chester backwaters, and fish are responding to it. Fall River, with flow higher than normal, is putting muddy water into the Henry’s Fork at Chester Dam messing up fishing in the river below.
If you intend to fish the river from the Vernon Bridge down to Chester Dam backwaters, be sure to include rubber leg patterns in your fly box and bring a sink tip line to present them. Drifting these patterns through riffles and runs in this reach has resulted in some great fishing recently.
BWOs are beginning to emerge along the lower river where flows are currently around normal. Afternoons are the best time to enjoy fish responding to them, and with the nice weather we are having, even though cloudy weather would bring out more, getting onto the river makes for a good time. Drifting some big stonefly nymphs deep can also be effective. If you stay into the evening hours, consider presenting streamer patterns around overhead cover. It is also easier to get up during these daylight savings times when sun-up is a bit before 8AM. Before strong sunlight gets on the water is another good time to pitch streamers in hope of encountering a big ‘bow or brown. Don’t fall in, though. That water temperature in the low 40’s to high 30’s in degrees F. will make you head for that spare dry clothing in a hurry!
For the River below Ashton Dam strategies used on the South Fork apply quite well. This time of year the big attractions are the BWO activity and streamers during low light conditions. One difference: you will see more tiny blue winged olives (pseudocloeon) here than on the South Fork. With the change of weather for the worst coming up, both BWO (and tiny blue wing olive) life cycle patterns and streamer patterns should be the ticket for the best fishing here. Flows out of Island Park Dam are just above 200 cfs making wading the Box Canyon a great choice. Streamers can bring out those big fish, and a double nymph rig drifted through runs and holes can produce.
Now is a great time to fish the Box Canyon. Flows are low, wading is at its easiest, and the big rainbows are stocking up for winter. That means streamer patterns can bring out the bigger fish. Proper location and presentation is more important than pattern selection. The same applies to the river below Ashton Dam. Streamers are just the ticket for those big browns becoming aggressive for their spawning season. Choose low light conditions for your best chances. Current beautiful weather is not the best for top water fishing here as far as BWOs are concerned. But weather will turn for sure, and with those conditions that tell of oncoming winter, BWOs will be more active along with the fish looking for them.
We see that flows out of Island Park Dam have been reduced to around 400 cfs. That makes for tougher boating through Box Canyon, but opens up a lot of wading possibilities. Two nymph rigs during daytime should produce, but streamers presented at the tops of holes and deeper runs, then on through, during low light conditions have a better chance for getting you into some of the big bows the “Box” is famous for hosting.
Fishing is picking up on the river below Ashton Dam. BWO, mahogany dun, and hopper patterns bring daytime action, but streamers under low light conditions will get you into the bigger fish.
This cooler weather is “just what the doctor ordered” for improving daytime fishing on the river below Ashton Dam. Look for the various BWO species, mahoganies, and midges to provide increased action to go along with possibilities from terrestrial insects. Consider that presenting streamer patterns under low light conditions will become more important the further we move through autumn.
This coming two weeks is one of my favorite times to fish the Harriman State Park reach of the river. Crowds are definitely down, and more enjoyable weather prevails. Surely there are many approaches to fish the river during this time, and all can produce under the right conditions. Because it produces for me, my favorite is through long drifts around cover using a hopper pattern. I prefer using this technique with traditional patterns. That is because I believe their imprint on the smooth surface of the river here is closer to that of the natural insect than those patterns fashioned from foam and rubber. And this technique with traditional patterns produces for me on other streams with similar surfaces. On water of broken surface this difference is minimized. When presenting with a long drift be aware of drag, strive for a natural drift as long as possible, and wade as little as is practical.
From Last Chance to Pinehaven terrestrial patterns will bring the best daytime action. Fish these around overhead cover. For the mayfly enthusiasts tricos and speckled duns are emerging, so their dun and spinner patterns are a must, especially in the morning. In the Coffee Pot area terrestrial patterns are best with caddis life cycle patterns doing well in the evening.
If you fish the Last Chance-Pinehaven reach, your best bet for action is through terrestrial patterns. Mornings offer action from fish seeking spinners, but after that, prospect banks and channels between weed beds with hopper patterns. This technique, although a bit uncertain, can be educating through learning favorite locations big fish move to for a meal. Be sure to look for flying ants, because as Mike Lawson offers, fish really key on them during their presence, and even in their absence this time of year. Forget the river below Ashton Dam until we begin the late summer cool down. Cardiac Canyon waters are best fished with terrestrial patterns or two nymph rigs.