Some of our small streams including South Fork tributaries and the upper Blackfoot River will not open until July 1st to protect spawning cutthroat trout. But now is a good time to try other small streams, and here is why. June of this year had much less than normal rainfall throughout the region and its remainder looks the same. We are entering the driest part of the year with most small streams already at or near base level.
There is an increasing demand for information on fishing out-of-the-way waters. We therefore stay tuned to conditions on these waters and report here what we learn. Mornings and evenings are good times to enjoy PMD activity on the Fort Hall Reservation ( be sure to have a Reservation license!) spring creeks. Currently, we can recommend trying any of Idaho’s Salt River tribs, Palisades Reservoir tribs, Warm River, Portneuf River, and Sinks drainage streams. On all these caddisfly and yellow sally life cycle and traditional dry and wet attractor patterns always work well. Mayfly life cycle patterns are more effective on some streams than on others. We can provide information on this condition. Anyway, it appears that the upcoming weeks could be a great time to fish many of our smaller streams, and we can help you make a choice!
It appears that most run-off is over meaning that many of our small streams are in good fishing conditions. That points to these as being alternatives to the present crowded conditions on the Henry’s Fork, and the upcoming same conditions on the South Fork.
Do you want to get a bunch of fish for an upcoming 4th of July fish fry? Try Robinson Creek and tributaries, Upper Warm River, Partridge Creek, Camas Creek, Conant Creek, Sawmill Creek, and Birch Creek for brook trout. These non-native fish rolled in corn meal then fried in olive oil are fit to feed a king, and with a daily bag limit of 25, a few anglers can harvest enough to feed a party.
Some large Palisades Reservoir cutthroat remain in Bear and McCoy Creeks. The upper Blackfoot River and its drainage open to fishing on July 1st, and the same applies to South Fork tributaries. Idaho’s Salt River tributaries (Crow, Jackknife, Stump, and Tincup Creeks) are in great fishing shape. Warm River below the spring will feature a good combined caddisfly-PMD hatch with resident browns and rainbow responding.
So for those of you wanting to escape the crowds, but wanting some quality fishing, suggesting these makes a candidate waters sampler. There are more, and if you come to the shop, we can point them out for you.
Run-off remains in all streams draining high country. This includes Palisades Reservoir tributaries, although Bear and McCoy Creeks can be fished with some success. Sucker spawning runs in these creeks attract large trout from the reservoir, many of which are also spawning. This also applies to Salt River tributaries (Crow, Jackknife, Stump & Tincup Creeks) where sucker runs also attract large trout from the river. Variable flows in the lower Blackfoot River make for tough fishing, and the river above the reservoir is closed to fishing until July 1st. Warm River offers good fishing for those presenting caddisfly, PMD, and yellow sally life cycle patterns. Don’t overlook trying an adult golden stonefly pattern near the cascades. Birch Creek is in ideal condition, and the family fishing area above Lone Pine is a superb location for taking an entry level fly-fisher to accumulate experience in a hurry. Fish are not large here, but they are very active during mid-day hours looking for caddisfly, yellow sally, and PMD emergences, so their life cycle as well as traditional attractor patterns bring plenty of action.
Run-off is coming into most small streams as weather warms up.Those in the valley including lower Blackfoot, Fall, Teton, and Warm Rivers can be fished during the catch and release regulation, but many higher country streams cannot be approached until roads open.
Problem here is that roads in nearly all places remain snowed in. With effort required to go through snow, lower reaches of such as Fall, and Teton Rivers are open. Warm River is open to catch and release fishing.
Fishing on a few of our small streams remains practical this time of year. But road conditions can determine whether it is practical to try certain places. For sure we will get enough snow to close some roads until springtime, but a few could remain open. These can become difficult because of daytime warming after nighttime freezing. So consider that, if you must try a location where roads are not usually well-maintained, it may be best to depart while roads are frozen and return after they freeze up.
Most interesting fishing on the lower river remains chasing browns during low light conditions. This means either “up & at ’em early” (like first light) or evenings. If this weekend storm materializes fishing could pick up during daytime hours. So could BWO activity. If you enjoy pitching streamers on a sink tip line, Box Canyon, with its almost impossibly low flow (currently 86 cfs meaning few if any boats), out of Island Park Dam is the place to go. So are The Tubs above Mack’s Inn where the wading is easier than in Box Canyon.
Fishing ranges from good on the Teton River in the basin to slow in the lower Blackfoot River. Afternoon BWO emergences on the Teton River are making for great action, and if the predicted stormy weather happens, this weekend and early next week could be a great time to enjoy this hatch. It might also improve fishing on the lower river where low water has slowed action a bit. Flow out of Blackfoot River Reservoir is down to 67 cfs meaning fish are concentrated in deeper water in the lower river. This combined with the bright skies makes fish skittish. Best place to fish is deeper waters especially where these are bordered by weed beds (overhead cover) which are beginning to break up. Hoppers are plentiful along banks, but a killing frost is not far off in the future.
It’s the time of year when certain small streams become difficult to fish with success. This is because (amongst other things) through dropping to base level water and cooling off, they lose overhead cover and foodforms become less available. When better conditions are available, residents of these streams will move to more hospitable waters. Local examples include such as the Warm River drainage tribs including Robinson, Rock, and Wyoming Creeks, and some of the Teton Basin tribs to the river. Other small streams maintain good living conditions for salmonids year round. Fall,Teton, and Warm Rivers are examples. So are such as Big Elk and Bitch Creeks. There are a lot more small streams around here that you can enjoy until the roads close or the snow flies. Come in and talk to us. We can suggest candidates.
Flow out of Henry’s Lake into Henry’s Lake Outlet has been reduced to 53 cfs. That means fishing is pretty much over there for the year. Larger fish will move down to the Henry’s Fork.