South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams

Small Streams, July 11th, 2020


Bitch Creek

Almost every small stream now offers good fishing. The number of these is almost beyond counting. From the Sinks Drainages (Big Lost River above Mackay Reservoir, Beaver, Birch, Camas, Little Lost, Medicine Lodge, Sawmill Creeks) on east to Palisades Reservoir and Salt River Drainages ( Big Elk, Bear, Crow, Jackknife, McCoy, Stump, SF of Tincup, Tincup, Creeks), all have something to offer the small stream enthusiast. Get in touch with us with questions on what to use, when to visit, etc., on any of these or others that are of interest to you.


Small Streams, June 30th, 2020

Medicine Lodge

Look for a long season coming up on all of our small streams. The number of waters here is almost limitless.  From meadow streams such as the upper Blackfoot River, the river in Teton Valley and middle McCoy Creek to riffle and run streams including Big Elk, Robinson, Palisades, Bear and Beaver Creeks, to name a few, the small stream enthusiast in this area is “a kid in a candy shop.”  We will keep track of how fishing develops on these because they offer tranquil alternatives to our much visited icon waters.

Currently roads to some of our small streams may be a it “mushy” because of recent rains. Most will dry out in a day or two of sunshine.   This could apply to roads in the Island Park area, and further west to roads in the Camas Creek and Little and Big Lost River drainages.  The Ashton-Flagg Road is open, but likely soft in places because of recent rains (and snows at higher elevations).

The Blackfoot River and drainage above the reservoir opens to fishing tomorrow, July 1st, as does the Willow Creek drainage and South Fork tribs below Palisades Dam. These late openings are in place to minimize pressure on spawning cutthroat trout.


Small Streams, June 27th, 2020

Almost any small stream offers good fishing now excepting the lower Blackfoot River with irrigation water ( 850 cfs at the Shelley gauge) and the Teton River with decreasing west slope run-off. Most small waters are a great places to try traditional attractor patterns, dry and wet. The renegade, a native Idaho fly fished dry or wet, will catch fish anywhere, and if you fish in northwest Wyoming, a humpy is recommended by any native fly-fisher. Call it a goofus bug if you fish it in Montana!


Small Streams, June 23rd, 2020

Nearly all small streams are in good fishing shape. Exceptions include the Teton River drainage, but run-off into these streams is beginning to drop while the lower Blackfoot River is running high with irrigation water. Flow at the Shelly gauge is around 850 cfs.  South Fork tributaries below Palisades Dam will open to fishing on July 1st.


Small Streams, June 9th, 2020

Birch Crk

Forget about the Teton River drainage upstream in the canyon and in the valley because of flooding proportion run-off.   Just glances from U. S. Highway 20 at the adjacent flooded pastures and the snow remaining on the Teton Range west slope should be convincing enough to stay away for now.  Irrigation water continues coming down the lower Blackfoot River and will continue to do so in varying amounts throughout the summer.  Successful fishing there will be reduced to using streamer and woolly bugger patterns on sink-tip lines.  The drainage above the reservoir does not open to fishing until July 1st.  Palisades Reservoir tributaries are rounding into good fishing shape with presenting wet flies being the best approach. Sinks drainage streams including Birch and Beaver Creeks and Little Lost River are in fishing condition with wet flies and small woolly bugger types bringing success.  Salt River tributaries flowing east out of Idaho (Crow, Jackknife, Stump and Tincup Creeks) are in run-off modes.



Still Waters, June 9th, 2020

Bridge Crk Pd

Where is it?

Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir has been excellent fishing with best approach being presenting midge pupa patterns under an indicator after finding the taking depth.  Slowly trolled small leech patterns on an intermediate line also work. We have no recent information on Chesterfield Reservoir.    Damselfly life cycle patterns are working at Springfield Reservoir, but the stand-by midge pupa pattern at the taking depth produces best. Small black leech patterns also have been producing. From what we have heard, Daniels Reservoir still has good fishing at the far side upper end, but has slowed at bit.  The Harriman Fish Pond has good hold-over rainbows, but the weed growth there is big time.  This reduces frustration-free fishing to  surface fishing or patterns under an indicator.


Small Streams, June 6th, 2020

Birch Creek and Little Warm River remain the two best candidates for taking youngsters fly-fishing. All Teton River upstream tributaries are in a big run-off mode. Palisades Reservoir tributaries have run-off that has appeared to have peaked.

If you do not mind doing a 150 mile drive west from Idaho Falls, the Little Wood River in the Taylor “Beartracks” Williams Preserve is in good fishing condition with browns and rainbows running up to trophy sizes. When run-off is in a decreasing mode, woolly bugger and San Juan worm patterns are effective as fish look for annelids washed into the stream.


Small Streams, May 26th, 2020

Many of our small streams offer solitude this time of year when aquatic insect emergences or opening day “happenings”bring crowds to some of our well-known waters. Warm River, Birch Creek, and Palisades Reservoir tributaries are good examples of small streams offering good fishing and passable roads.   Some, such as the lower Blackfoot River, may be high with irrigation water. Others such as Teton River drainage streams are running run-off high. Fall River, currently is flowing at a normal rate, but with warm weather upcoming it will soon be in serious run-off made.  The best way to find if National Forest roads leading to streams are open is to contact USFS ranger stations.


Small Streams, May 9th, 2020

A judge’s ruling has prevented an open pit gold mine from being constructed in the West Camas Creek drainage. The area drainage is considered to be cutthroat trout habitat, and the impact of open pit mining is of concern to ground water quality within that habitat.

If you are looking for a place to take a youngster fishing or if you just want to enjoy some small stream fishing, Birch Creek within the family fishing area above Lone Pine currently is likely the best candidate for doing so.  The creek may be running a bit high but is likely clear, so presenting nymph or small woolly bugger patterns will bring responses.


Small Streams, Cinco de Mayo, 2020

Some back country roads are opening up, while others have a way to go.  The Bear Creek Road is open but needs to dry in order to minimize damage.   The Big Elk Creek Road is open. However, both streams are high and discolored from run-off.   The Cave Falls Road is not officially open, The Mesa Falls Scenic Loop (State Highway 47) has been plowed, but all forest roads from it remain snow covered.