South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams (Page 10)

Small Streams 7-20-13

This time of year fishing small streams can be a “mixed bag.” With warm, bright days open reaches can be extremely difficult because of the lack of overhead cover making fish either extremely wary or avoiding such locations. Thus concentrate your efforts where there is overhanging brush, undercuts, sweepers, and just below in-stream structure. Several small streams are good fishing now.  This really applies to the South Fork and Palisades Reservoir tributaries; Palisades, Rainy, Big Elk, McCoy, and Bear Creeks.  Take your favorite ant, beetle, hopper, caddis and PMD patterns. Concentrate on the slower water having overhead cover, and each of these streams will have plenty of such. Look for flavs to begin emerging at a significant rate soon on most of these streams making for fabulous afternoon fishing.  Cutts in some of these streams rival those in the South Fork for size, and you will encounter a lot fewer anglers on these waters.  Another water type to concentrate on is beaver ponds, particularly those with deeper areas and cover in the form of willows and well vegetated banks.  Upper reaches of McCoy Creek, the Willow Creek, the Little Lost River drainages, and Idaho’s Salt River tributaries have numerous beaver ponds. For sure, leech patterns are the most effective to use, but submerged vegetation limits their use this time of year, so go with dry damselfly and terrestrial  patterns.  We have more  information that we can place here on the great variety of small waters in the region, so it might be best to come in and discuss with us ones to visit.

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Small Streams 7-6-13

Flavs are making their significant appearance on the Henry’s Fork around Last Chance where they are famed for bringing up big rainbows. But do not think of flavs as only a “big stream” mayfly. They also live in appropriate (quality moving water with gravelly substrate) small streams. I have fished them on eastern Idaho’s Salt River tributaries this time of year.  Eventually flavs will be emerging from Bear, Big Elk, McCoy, and Palisades creeks, the Big Lost River and other local waters. Yesterday they were coming off from Birch Creek  in enough numbers that every trout there seemed to be rising.

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Small Streams 7-2-13

These are all in good shape now.  This weekend we tried a great one for the entry level fly-fisher. McCoy Creek (From Alpine, WY go south on US 89 to the McCoy Road which goes back into Idaho along the southwest side of Palisades Reservoir) is a major rearing stream for cutthroat trout. This time of year a braggin’ fish there may be just over a foot long, but the creek is full of them feeding on caddisflies and PMDs  right now.    Take that youngster to a meadow location on this creek and present life cycle patterns of these  for sure-fire action.  Traditional attractor patterns (size 12-14) will also work.  An ultra-light rod is ideal, and so is a floating line rigged with a 4X tippet.

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Small Streams 6-15-13

Big fish are where you find them.  We have a report (pictures and all) of a 27-inch brown coming out of the Portneuf River above Lava Hot Springs. Here are a few other small streams that hold big browns: Robinson Creek,  Camas Creek, South Fork of the Madison River (Montana), Duck Creek, Grayling Creek, and Gibbon River (Yellowstone Park), Warm River, Stump Creek and Crow Creek ( all in season), lower Grey’s River (Wyoming).  The same could be said for Willow Creek, Cranes Creek, and Gray’s Lake Outlet up until the early 1990s when drought and other actions diminished them. There may be a few left in these waters, but nothing like in years gone by.

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Small Streams 6-11-13

No real change since our June 8th report. With recent warm weather streams draining high country are roaring a bit, so stick with those we recommended on June 8th.  Look for the same flow increases  as we warm up on streams carrying irrigation water. We have word of some good fishing because of caddis activity on the Blackfoot River below the dam, but flows can fluctuate and impact fishing success.

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Small Streams 6-8-13

Small streams not carrying run-off or irrigation waters are really shaping up because of the reduced runoff this year. With the warmer weather, however,  consider avoiding such run-off streams as the Teton River and irrigation water loaded streams such as the Blackfoot River below the dam.    The Palisades tribs on the south side of the reservoir (Bear & McCoy creeks) would be very good choices ( C&R fishing) with such as wooly bugger and leech patterns.  The Salt River tribs  (Jackknife, Tincup, Stump, Crow creeks) are also in great shape, so try your favorite bead head nymphs, small leech patterns and caddis life cycle patterns.  Robinson Creek is now a good bet with the same types of patterns.

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Small Streams 6-1-13

Any  stream not draining high country such as the Teton Range, the southwestern parts of the Madison and Pitchstone Plateaus of Yellowstone Park, or subject to an increase in irrigation water are currently in great fishing condition. Some of these include Willow Creek (tribs are closed until July 1),  South Fork of the Madison River, Palisades Reservoir tributaries (catch & release for cutthroat trout), Warm River and Buffalo River. With action heating up on the Henry’s Fork and the South Fork, these make great alternatives  with good fishing and a better chance of solitude.   Come into the shop and let us advise as to which may be best to visit.

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Small Streams 5-25-13

This time last year Henry’s Lake Outlet was full of escapee trout from the lake. Flows as high as 300 cfs had flushed these into the outlet, and good fishing resulted down into the Flat Ranch well into the summer.   Fewer fish are in the Outlet this year because flows out of the lake  have not exceeded 80 cfs.  Unless there is a flush out of the lake equal to that of last year, fishing will be slower here this year.   If a significant increase if flow out of the lake happens, we will report it here because such an event would have a good impact on fishing.

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Small Streams 5-18-13

We fished Henry’s Lake Outlet above Highway 20 yesterday. What a pleasant day to be out fishing with air temps in the mid 50s, very light breeze, and occasional light rain!  We caught some cutts and a few brookies using medium sized streamers.  Trouble was the fish were not present in big numbers like this time last year.  Big part of the reason for this is the flow out of Henry’s Lake has yet to exceed 61 cfs this season.  Don’t expect fishing to pick up here and down below in the Flat Ranch until an increase in flow brings more fish into the outlet.

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Small Streams 5-14-13

Last Friday we fished the Blackfoot River about twenty miles below the dam.   On arriving we knew fishing success would be difficult as we geared up in a very dense caddisfly swarm.   They would fly into your eyes and ears and cover your clothing.  The river was in good wading condition, a bit discolored, and with a water temperature in the mid 50s deg. F.   We finished the day with only three fish landed. These responded to such as prince nymphs and small bead head peacock leeches.  One was a gorgeous twenty-inch cutt, so all was not lost.  Lesson learned: when such a swarm of aquatic insects is encountered, expect slow fishing.   Being in water “24-7”, fish will respond to such activity quickly and feed until filled up.  If an angler arrives near the beginning of such feeding action, good fishing results. If arriving later when fish stop feeding, as we did, expect reduced success.

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