Flow out of Island Park Dam has been nearly cut in half and the boat launch just below is totally accessible. The drop in flow is reflected on downstream to the Fall River confluence at Chester Dam with flow a bit below normal.
Fall River currently is running somewhat high but clear. This means the Henry’s Fork below Chester Dam still hosts good fishing. The Island Park countryside is quickly becoming free of snow, and the Mesa Falls Highway is totally passable. Many side roads are not yet free of snow. The Henry’s Fork at Last Chance features midge and BWO activity, so presenting their life cycle patterns is quite effective.
Flow out of Island Park Dam has been raised from around 550 cfs to nearly 900 cfs. This flow is not carried down much to the lower river where flows are a bit above normal for this time of year. Fishing on the lower river is good ( BWO, March brown, midge, caddis small stonefly life cycle patterns and streamers) except for windy days when anything emerging onto the surface is blown away before fish have a chance to raise to them.
Social distancing is a bit tougher to find at launch sites on the lower river. That is because currently some of the best fishing in the region can be found there. Sun shiny days, like those coming up until mid-week, will dampen the BWO activity a little, but March browns, caddis and midges will provide surface and near surface action from life cycle patterns of each. Streamers remain effective under low-light conditions and as we advance past April, large stonefly nymph patterns will be increasingly effective.
A good bit of news for the Henry’s Fork immediately below Island Park Dam is that flow out of the dam has remained above 500 cfs all winter. Annual average flow out of the dam through the winter has been just below 400 cfs. The higher flow gives more natural bank cover for the youngest of trout to use for shelter thus helping their life expectancy. They are the future, so the more of them, the better.
On the lower river successful fishing is holding steady, so visits whether through boating or wading are on the increase making “social distancing” more difficult to achieve. Nevertheless solitude can be found especially early and late in the day. Consider using the presentation strategies offered in our recent fishing reports for this part of the river.
Fun Farm Bridge at Twilight
Below Ashton Dam river flow has been near normal with minor variations not being enough to impact fishing success. With near constant flow and increasing daylight BWO, midge and increasing March brown and caddis activities are making presenting their life cycle patterns effective. Add to these streamer and large nymph presentations also being effective, and many fly-fishers are currently attracted to the river. Thus compared to the South Fork, social distancing is a bit harder to realize, especially around boat launching locations. Nevertheless, solitude can be realized but especially during early and late hours. So consider these times for a visit.
Some folks are drift boating from Warm River to Ashton. Midges and BWO life cycle patterns will bring the most action, but streamer and stonefly nymph/rubber legs patterns will likely be more interesting to the larger fish anywhere you try the river. Consider trying places upstream along the river road after crossing the Fun Farm Bridge. Access on the lower river is shaping up, but the bad news is that the private access on the other side of the river above the Chester backwaters, known as Seeley’s, has been closed by the owner. Misuse by inconsiderate individuals accumulated enough to cause this closure.
Flow out of Island Park Reservoir has been around 550 cfs all winter, that flow increased by that from the Buffalo River has given good natural shelter along banks to young trout for habitation. This situation gives a better chance for a boost to future populations on downstream in the Island Park area.
Currently much of the lower river has snow covered banks limiting access at boat launch sites and walk-in access at most places. Nevertheless, were walk-in access is available, fishing has been good. Midge and BWO activity produce for the small fly enthusiast. Streamers and big nymphs produce for the large fly enthusiast.
Lower river offers good streamer fishing for browns late and early in the day, but some ‘bows and browns are taking midge and BWO life cycle patterns. You may have to search river locations to find just where such activity is going on.
The lower Henry’s Fork has been offering great but sporadic fishing during these beautiful “Indian Summer” days. Sporadic meaning fish seem active in certain areas, but not in others. Active means responding to midge and BWO activity. Case in point is our yesterday’s experience where there was little activity on the river just below the Ora Bridge ( some discolored water coming from construction actions on the far side of the river but the Ashton side features crystal clear water). Whereas in the Vernon Bridge area fish were numerously responding to midge and BWO activity. So consider scouting out the river to find active fish before committing to a certain location.