South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

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

Small Streams 9-16-2011

No hard frosts yet in much of the area means that many of these waters continue to offer great fishing.   Stay with the terrestrial, attractor, caddis, BWO and trico (if any emerging) life cycle patterns.  Some of these streams  (Salt River tribs, Robinson Creek, etc) will host brook or brown trout runs, so bring streamers.  South Fork and Palisades Reservoir tribs are having hecuba hatches.  These big late summer drakes will attract fish and provide some great late season dry fly fishing.


Small Streams 9-13-2011

Terrestrial and dry attractor patterns are still working on all these. Best fishing starts mid days and extends to late afternoons. Exception may be trico emergences on such as the Birch Creek diversion or Boundary Creek.   Robinson Creek is one of most interesting small streams in our area. It hosts brookies, browns, cutthroat, and rainbow trout as well as whitefish.   Best access for it is off the Cave Falls Road.   The road connecting  the Fish Creek Road on the north and the Cave Falls Road on the south  to serve Teton View and Pot Pouri estates offers walk-in locations that require  at short hike into the canyon.  Off the Cave Falls Road in Targhee National Forest, the creek can be reached from the road serving the LDS Church’s Rock Creek Girl’s Camp and from a steep trail down from Horseshoe Lake. One can also access Robinson Creek in Yellowstone Park from Bechler Ranger Station or on the west boundary off the end of Fish Creek Road. This time of year terrestrial patterns are sure to bring action until frosts begin in earnest, then going to nymphs and small woolly bugger types will continue action.  Robinson Creek is a good example of a small stream holding surprisingly large fish. Deep holes can host a few browns over twenty inches and rainbows almost as big. So if you fish it, especially in lower reaches, don’t be surprised.


Small Streams 9-1-2011

Many of these will remain at their peaks for a few weeks to come.  For the smaller ones cooler weather and a drop to base flow will cause trout to migrate downstream to more overhead cover and less temperature extremes. Here’s a small one to consider before we begin cooling off.   Cascade Creek flows  north out of Wyoming  into Fall River in Yellowstone Park.   You cross Cascade Creek on the Ashton-Flagg Road a few miles west of crossing Grassy Lake Dam.  A trailhead  just off the road to Terraced Falls on Fall River is the access point to a  meadow reach through which the creek runs before dropping into Fall River.  It’s less than a mile walk to reach, and I’d be surprised if more than six folks fish this creek in a season.  You will need a Park license to fish here and enjoy the most colorful cutthroat-rainbow anywhere.  Bring a high resolution camera.  The stream has a bit of a gradient here, so caddisflies are the main insects active this time of year.  Terrestrial and attractor patterns in small and medium sizes will work very well.  A two-weight rod with a floating line is the best tackle, and if you catch  one of those hybrids in the lower teens of inches, you have a braggin’ fish.


Small Streams 8-26-2011

Best chances for success on nearly all is to use terrestrial patterns.

Here’s another great small stream to try. It requires a bit of walking , four or so miles minimum, and a Yellowstone Park fishing license, but the rewards of fishing Yellowstone Park’s Boundary Creek are great scenery, solitude, and the chance for large cutthroat-rainbow hybrids.  Its another classic meadow stream in about the size of extreme upper Slough Creek, Duck Creek, and Flat Creek.  Access it from Bechler River Ranger station from which well maintained trails will take you to either the lower (Bechler Meadows Trail) or the upper (Boundary Creek Trail) reaches of the creek in Bechler Meadows.  As with any small stream, it is overshadowed in reputation by its larger neighbors, in this case Bechler and Fall rivers.  But the size that fish range to here is comparable to the two rivers.  To fool them requires more stealth and a near perfect presentation, whereas the numerous smaller trout here are aggressive and will take just about any pattern in small and medium sizes.  During this time of year terrestrial patterns are by far the best way to encounter large trout here.  Especially in the lower reaches, tricos will be numerous.  So morning visits should include their life cycle patterns.  As midday approaches begin switching to your favorite hopper and ant patterns.  Take a camera, insect repellent and a water purifier, and in case of thundershowers, a raincoat.


Small Streams 8-19-2011

This is the time of year when they are at their best.  Terrestrial patterns are likely the best choice on any of these.  Here is one that is a great choice if you want to minimize your traveling time and plan on easy access.  Beaver Creek above Spencer, Idaho is the place, and travel all the way is on Interstate-15.  A good access point is the Interstate-15 interchange a few miles north of Spencer.  From here one can walk upstream into the canyon (look out for an occasional freight train) to fish free-flowing water or beaver ponds or  walk downstream to fish the same.   From this Interstate-15 interchange one can also take the frontage road on the west side of the creek to access parts further downstream.  Brookies and rainbows are the residents and they are eager enough to take any terrestrial, caddisfly life cycle, or traditional attractor pattern you present.  Fish here range up to the mid-teens in inches with a very few of the bows getting larger, especially in the beaver ponds.  Afternoons offer the best fishing.

As some folks have noticed, the road accessing Big Elk Creek has been closed. The reason is road work to widen narrow stretches close to US Highway 26.  The road opened today but will be closed from time to time for finishing work.  The best way to learn of the closings schedule is to contact the Palisades District Ranger Station at 523-1412.


Small Streams 8-15-2011

Almost any of these will be a great choice at least to the end of the month, but some of the very smallest will begin to fade as water reaches base levels and trout go downstream to seek more overhead cover. Want to try a small stream with super-abundant trout and quite a ways off the beaten path?   Sawmill Creek is a great candidate. Go to Howe, Idaho on State Highway 33.  Turn north on the paved county road and travel for miles up the Little Lost River Valley. The pavement ends just above the “almost township” of Clyde, Idaho.  From here travel further up the well-maintained gravel road bearing to right to where it forks for final time. Take the right fork (left hand fork goes on to the Pahsimeroi Valley), and follow it to the Sawmill Creek crossing. You can stop here, about 130 miles north and west of Idaho Falls,  and fish or travel further up the creek to drop off at any worthy looking spot, and there are many of them, to give it a try.  Rainbows, brookies and bull trout are the residents, and anything over fourteen inches is a “braggin’ fish” , so plan your tackle accordingly.  They will take just about any attractor, caddisfly life cycle or terrestrial pattern you offer on top water, and sub-surface they do the same for any soft hackle or nymph pattern presented.  Yes, it is a long haul, but the country is gorgeous and good fishing almost a sure thing.  Don’t forget that camera.


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.


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.


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.


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.