South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams (Page 16)

Small Streams 8-12-2011

Best time of the season for small streams is right now, so let’s pass on information for another one that is worth a visit. The North Fork of the Teton River is locally called “Bitch Creek”.  It drains the west slope of the Grand Teton Range, flows westerly, crosses Idaho State Highway 32 north of Felt, Idaho, then into a deep, difficult to access canyon to combine with the Teton River. Near the Highway 32 crossing it is fished and visited more than reaches upstream.  In these upstream reaches, Bitch Creek is a classic freestone, riffle and run stream of  the clearest, finest water around.  Cutthroat trout, free of any other trout species, abound here. They range up to near twenty inches.  A four or five weight system is ideal for this water, and fishing on the surface brings the joy of having cutts coming up to take a fly.  Caddisflies and stoneflies abound and now terrestrial insects are important. Traditional attractors work very well. Now with the stream reaching base level it is easily fished by walk-in wading.  You can do this by walking the old railroad grade to the trestle crossing Bitch Creek , then accessing the stream.  Another way that gets you upstream even further is to turn east off Highway 32 at mile seven north of Felt. This well-maintained gravel road heads, after going through section line turns heads east.  Near mile five it heads east for the final time, and at this turn is an access point over private land. This is a non-motorized,walk-in access in which the owners ask that anglers stay within fifty feet of the stream which is about a mile away.    Thus this access is a privilege to be respected.  Tread lightly, comply with the owner’s request, release your catch,  carry out any trash, and consider thanking the owners identified at the access.   Afternoons are best time of day to enjoy Bitch Creek.

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Small Streams 8-8-2011

They are all “at the top of their game ” now. Any one would be a place to find action. If you are in Island Park, here is a place to consider. Warm River from Warm River Spring downstream can be a pleasure to fish with properly sized equipment.  Just above the Upper Mesa Falls access of the Scenic Highway, take the first right which heads east. Follow the well-maintained gravel road to Warm River Spring.  Parking areas are abundant near the spring.  Take a three or four weight rod and floating line to enjoy rises to PM caddis activity, some PMDs, but mostly fish taking terrestrial insect patterns.  Dry attractor patterns work very well.   The river below the spring is classic riffle and run water with well vegetated banks. The further you walk downstream, the fewer anglers you will encounter.  But anywhere here the number of anglers present will be but a fraction of what you will encounter on the near-by Henry’s Fork. Rainbows, browns, and brookies are what will respond, and they run up to sixteen inches.  In the fast water that makes for fun especially with light weight gear.

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Small Streams 8-05-2011

These are all fishing quite well these days.  Caddisfly life cycle, terrestrial, and standard attractor patterns work well on all.  And for almost every one afternoons will be the best time to find action.  Here is another great stream to consider visiting: Tincup Creek.   Most of the best water in Tincup Creek is paralleled by Idaho State Highway 34 in Targhee-Caribou National Forest from the Wyoming state line on upstream. Higher up this creek is paralleled by a well maintained gravel road.  Throughout it is a classic riffle and run stream.  Being close to roads makes Tincup ideal for a fly fisher with physical restrictions or for family fishing.  Yellowstone and Snake River fine spotted cutthroat trout dominate in population with some brown trout in lower reaches.    Anything over sixteen inches is a braggin’ fish, so scale your gear accordingly.  Caddisfly life cycle, terrestrial, golden stone life cycle, and standard attractor patterns work well on the surface. Bead head nymph, soft hackle, and leech patterns in smaller sizes work beneath. As with all high elevation streams, afternoons hold the best fishing.  Two developed campgrounds are located on the creek, so an overnight stay to enjoy Tincup and near-by creeks is a pleasant consideration.

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Small Streams 8-01-2011

The choice of great small streams in eastern Idaho to fish now is almost endless. Right now it doesn’t matter which major drainage you wish to visit, the tribs will offer great fishing and a great chance for solitude.   Here is a great trib in the South Fork drainage—Palisades Creek. It’s off  US Highway26 about halfway between the town of Swan Valley and Palisades Dam. Park at the campground, and walk up the well-maintained trail as far as time permits. It’s a riffle and run stream hosting mostly cutthroat with a few cutbow hybrids with lots of water adjacent to the trail. Trout here range up to eighteen inches, and are they great fun in the fast water. This time of the season a dry caddis pattern, terrestrial patterns, and standard attractors will get you action. If you can, walk the five and a half  miles up to the creek just above lower Palisades Lake. Here the gradient is slower as the stream flows through a brushy meadow.  There are more of the larger fish here than below the lake.  Next report we will feature another great small stream to consider.

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Small Streams 7-27-2011

Once again we suggest contacting us about which small stream to fish this time of the season. There is an almost endless choice here, and most will offer great fishing now that run-off is mostly out of the system.  We have small streams where cutthroat are the dominant trout, others where browns dominate, others where brookies take over, and others where rainbows rule the roost.  We even have some where you may encounter grayling.   Some of these streams are riffle and run, some are meadow streams, others feature beaver ponds.  So pick your species or type of water you enjoy and get in touch with us.

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Small Streams 7-21-2011

A request we receive many times is: “Where do I take my entry level friend or family member. All they want to do is learn how to catch fish” ?  We always answer this question with suggesting a small stream.  Small streams are less intimidating,  more approachable, safer, and fish tend to concentrate in them.   Afternoons are the best time to be on these as they warm up to levels where fish will be chasing both aquatic and terrestrial insects.  In these smaller waters fish must make the most of opportunities, so they are always ready to feed, and this time of year so much of what they are after is on the surface. We can recommend which small waters at any given time will be worth the experience for an entry level person. Get in touch or come in to get some ideas on where to try.

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Small Streams 7-18-2011

Give streams draining the west slope of the Grand Teton Range another week or so, and they will join our huge variety of small streams offering great fishing.  There is a perception that because a stream is small it will not hold large trout.   Don’t believe it!   Most of the larger creeks in the South Fork-Palisades Reservoir drainage hold cutthroat that would qualify as large in the South Fork and the reservoir.  For sure there are not as many large ones present, but there are much fewer folks fishing these, no boats to intrude on your riffle, and terrific scenery. It’s the same with small streams in the Henry’s Fork drainage and the Salt river drainage.  And there are many more small water that hold large trout.   Want to get away from the crowds and still have a chance at some large trout in moving water?  We can recommend several places where you will have chances. Come in and listen to what we can suggest.

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Small Streams 7-14-2011

We are about where we should be with respect to good fishing on small streams. The big exception would be streams draining the west slope of the Grand Teton range. Huge amounts of snow higher up are keeping these waters high.  Right now there are several areas where you can find great small stream fishing. To name a few: the Sinks drainages (Medicine Lodge, Beaver, Birch, Camas, Little Lost, Pleasant Valley,Sawmill): Salt River tribs (Jackknife, Tin Cup, Stump, Crow), South Fork (Bear, Fall, McCoy, Pine, Palisades, Big Elk): Henry’s Fork (Warm River, Robinson Creek, Buffalo River). As you can see, we don’t have room here to discuss individual waters, so get in touch or visit us for details.

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Small Streams 7-11-2011

Some of these are rounding into shape.  These include the Salt River tribs which can offer some good browns and cutts.  Look for sallys, caddis, PMDs and a few golden stones to be present. Along with their life cycle patterns traditional attractor will be effective.

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Small Streams 7-8-2011

Add Robinson Creek to the list of good small waters now offering good fishing.  It’s a great small stream with brookies, browns, cutts, rainbows, and a few whitefish thrown in.  They take almost anything offered, but right now for specifics, caddis, sally, golden stone, and PMD life cycle patterns work.  Sure, most of what you tie into will be a foot or less, but there are some real surprises here, especially in the lower reaches.

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