South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams (Page 18)

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.


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.


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.


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.