South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams

Small Streams 9-18-18

 

 

 

Catfish grayling (640x480)

We have a most unusual small stream in our area that can offer most interesting fishing. That stream  is Red Rock Creek in Montana’s Centennial Valley, just west of Henry’s Lake.  What makes it so interesting is its grayling population, among which are a few individuals approaching eighteen inches in length.  These fish can be difficult, however, but when found in a feeding mood provide perhaps amongst our rarest of fly-fishing treats. Right now their season in the creek is winding down, so they are retreating downstream to upper Red Rock Lake. They however can take caddis life cycle patterns (#12-18) and small ( nothing bigger than #10, 2x long hooks is advised) terrestrial patterns if in a feeding mode. If you are lucky enough to encounter then release one, be sure to handle it gently and quickly. That is because these unusually beautiful salmonids are in danger of diminishing. By the way, Odell Creek, further to the west, slightly smaller, and ending in Lower Red Rock Lake also hosts these living gems.

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Small Streams 9-8-18

Bear Creek reduced

Smaller streams are now mostly at base level. That means concentrate fishing efforts on deepest downstream water. Terrestrial insect patterns will be effective, even for days after a killing frost. In the smaller category Bear, Birch, Palisades, and Big Elk Creeks currently offer the best fishing.  Larger small streams offering good fishing are the Teton River throughout, lower Blackfoot River (still a bit high with nymphing and presenting streamers best ways to find action), and Warm River (BWO, hopper, and caddis activity).

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Small Streams 9-4-18

 

Bitch Creek 9-25-13

With school now in session, most vacations over, and cooling daytime air temperatures, look for a decrease in recreational floaters and boaters on the Teton River in the basin and even through the canyon. That signals a return to tranquil daytime fishing.  For the river in the basin successful fishing is tied to Early AM trico activity and terrestrial insects during daytime hours. Big attractors (ie chubby chernobyls) will always be effective in the canyon reach this time of year.

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Small Streams 8-25-18

 

Conant Creek

Grass hopper patterns are essential for fishing area small streams this time of year.  There are exceptions such as patterns for the Big Elk Creek PM flav event, for speckled dun life cycle events on beaver ponds, for AM trico events, for PM caddis events, and for gray drake emergences on such as the Teton River. Hopper patterns, presented around overhead cover and water of good depth can be effective during these events.  Compared to mayflies and caddisflies, trout get more “bang for the buck”when rising to hoppers.  Its all about conservation of energy: how many rises does it take to gain the equivalent food value in mayflies or caddis flies compared to one rise to a drifting hopper?  The same applies to big stoneflies in season. So regardless of any other insect being available for trout, keep hopper patterns in that fly box for several weeks to come.

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Small Streams 8-18-18

 

 

Bitch Creek

The best small stream destinations this time of year are those with either lakes at their upper reaches ( Palisades Creek, Medicine Lodge Creek, Cascade Creek, Modoc Creek, etc. ) or a good inflow from springs (Big Elk Creek, Warm River, Bear Creek, Birch Creek, Bitch Creek, Teton River, and Diamond Creek).  In all of these some of the best water to target is where riffles drop into holes or runs. This is the case because trout sitting in this interface have first crack at any edible life form drifting in, can make a quick escape to deep water, and can make more efficient contact with dissolve oxygen from moving rather than still water.  Currently terrestrial insect and caddis life cycle patterns are likely the best to use in these waters.

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Small Streams 8-7-18

Big Elk (2)

It’s time to begin looking for the famed Big Elk Creek flav hatch. Until then (and during) terrestrial insect patterns provide a great way to enjoy the excellent cutthroat trout population of this stream.   The same thoughts for terrestrial insect patterns applies to all the South Fork-Palisades Reservoir tribs, and the Salt River tribs, as well.  None of these streams, however, can match the Big Elk Creek flav hatch.

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Small Streams 8-4-18

 

 

Birch Crk Malia

Birch Creek remains one of the best small streams for a youngster to try fly-fishing. At the family fishing area above Lone Pine the flow is stable, access is easy, fish are aggressive, and weather usually nice this time of year  (only heavy wind and thunder showers compromise fishing success). Try wet flies early in the day and dry flies from late morning to early evening, and that youngster will have many chance at finding, hooking, playing, and releasing resident brookies and bows.

Looking for a bigger small stream? The Teton River in the basin might be one of the best currently if you remember to leave mid-day to recreational boaters and floaters.  Try rusty spinners and terrestrial insect patterns in the early AM, and caddis life cycle and those terrestrial insect patterns during evening hours.

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Small Streams 7-28-18

Bear Creek reduced

Your choice of small waters to fish is almost endless. The Palisades Reservoir and South Fork tributaries are all good choices to visit. Terrestrial insect patterns, soft hackled patterns, traditional attractors ( renegade, humpy, wulff series, purple haze), caddis, and yellow sally life cycle patterns will get responses from resident trout.   Try the same patterns on Warm River. Be aware that several sheep herds are grazing on allotments on upper McCoy Creek. The best times to fish Teton River in the Basin are early AM and after dinner time because of  mid-day recreational boaters.  Such as rusty spinners will be effective there in the early AM.  Caddis and PMD life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns will attract fish during evening hours.

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Small Streams 7-17-18

Lower Teton River

Many stories are going around about crowding along our icon waters ( South Fork, Henry’s Fork, Madison, etc). Fortunately we have ways to escape this condition with the regional presence of many smaller quality waters.  Most of these will get you away from those fishing from boats and the increasing crowds of recreationists. If you enjoy fishing from a boat but want to experience less crowding the Teton River offers two locations for doing so (do not consider drift boat fishing in the canyon. There are two unfloatable rapids in the canyon for a drift or hardsided of type boat. It should only be floated in an inflatable and rowed by someone with expert whitewater experience.)  One location for boat fishing is the river in Teton Basin. Expect crowds of recreationists  during daytime hours, so an evening or early AM float will allow you fewer interruptions.  Caddis life cycle, yellow sally, rusty spinner, and terrestrial insect patterns should be in your fly box. Another location is the river from Spring Hollow downstream to either the dam site or the Hog Hollow Road.   Recreational floaters are minimal here. PMD, caddis, yellow sally, grey drake life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns should populate your fly box.  If you prefer walk-in fishing your choices this time of year are numerous. We can feature some from time to time in this report, but a best way to find the best at a given time is to get in touch or visit the shop.

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Small Streams 7-10-18

 

 

 

 

Conant Creek

Just a “heads up” on fishing small streams higher up in any drainage.  Many of these headwaters are now dropping to base level. This means larger fish will move downstream to find better overhead cover, deeper water that provides cooler temperatures, and better chances for in-stream food.  We fished the McCoy Creek head waters yesterday and found this situation to be in progress.  We did better downstream where deeper water held more trout to moderate sizes. PMDs and caddis provided mid-day and afternoon fare for foraging trout. Grasshoppers are beginning to populate stream sides here, but fish were yet to key on them big time.  Be aware that thundershowers threaten to shorten time on the water this time of the season.

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