South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams (Page 4)

Small Streams 7-22-17

Almost every small stream in our area is finally in fly-fishing condition. There are so many candidates, from the Teton River down to such as Medicine Lodge Creek, worthy of a visit that describing each would overwhelm this web site. Best thing to do is to for information on any of these is to contact us for suggestions and strategies.


Small Streams 7-15-17

Run-off is leaving many of our smaller streams, but remnant conditions remain on some. Big Elk, Bitch, and Palisades Creeks area a little high and a bit discolored.  The same for Teton River. Lower Palisades Creek could clear first because the lower lake acts as a settling basin. For now presenting nymph patterns and anything simulating an earthworm might be the best way to go in these creeks.  McCoy and Bear Creeks, however, are in good dry fly shape. The same applies to the upper Blackfoot River, where even though hoppers are flourishing ( mosquitos are doing the same) throughout the meadows, the river is high enough where fish still key most on patterns resembling earthworms and grubs. Robinson Creek is now in great dry fly fishing shape as is Warm River. For PM fishing caddis life cycle and traditional attractor patterns may produce best on these two streams. Visitations are up on all these streams, but you can bet that when dry fly conditions kick in on the South Fork, many fly fishers will forsake these excellent smaller waters  and tranquility will intensify.


Small Streams 7-1-17

Several waters have opened to fishing. These include South Fork tribs Burns, Palisades and Pine creeks and any water closed until now for protecting spawning cutthroat.  Some post spawning cutts will be present in these waters because good flows remain.  Presenting wet patterns from traditional wet attractors to leech patterns and on to streamers should be effective in these for now. Don’t overlook McCoy and Bear Creeks where a few large cutts remain. Both these have great water conditions and have shaped up for dry fly fishing. These are great locations for afternoon visits to present adult caddisfly and traditional attractor patterns. A few golden stones inhabit riffle and run portions of these streams, so try some patterns for these. Nymphing with bead head patterns can result in good AM fishing on these waters and on the Salt River tributaries which are also shaping up. Robinson Creek is another stream that is in good fishing shape and offers something few other waters have. That is the presence of five salmonids: brook, brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout and whitefish. Try Robinson Creek in the afternoon when caddisflies become active. The size of responding fish could surprise you.  Lower Warm River will be crowded, but crowds will not be so bad along waters above the cascades where caddis, PMDs, and a few golden stoneflies will attract resident trout.   The stonefly hatch is proceeding up Fall River where boating is the best way for encountering responding fish in lower reaches. For sure, Birch Creek in the family area above Lone Pine is always a great location to enjoy that lightweight rod and to introduce anyone to fly-fishing.  Other sinks drainage streams; Medicine Lodge, Beaver and Camas Creeks are now in fishing shape where any small or medium sized dry fly will bring action, but the Teton River and its drainage has yet to shape up for the best fishing.  So now begins the season when the “where to visit” choice becomes almost mind boggling. We will keep on top of all the small stream information so we can help you choose a satisfying visit.


Small Streams 6-17-17

Some of our small streams are beginning to shape up. Beaver, Birch, and Medicine Lodge creeks are all in good shape with flows about normal for this time of year. Both Big and Little Lost Rivers drain higher country, and therefore are still running higher than normal. The Big Lost still runs water past Arco and onto the INL.  McCoy and Bear Creek are high and a bit discolored, but offer some fishing if you do not mind presenting anything that looks like a drifting earthworm.  Cutts are in both creeks either having spawned or are about to, and the sizes they range to will surprise you. I avoid areas where they are spawning, but concentrate on presenting flies on slower and deeper waters.  Both Buffalo and Warm River are in good shape with PMDs and caddis being active in good numbers. Forget about fly-fishing the Blackfoot River below the reservoir until the first of October. The river above the reservoir opens to barbless hook, C&R  (for cutthroat) fly fishing on July 1st.


Small Streams 5-30-17

Some roads to small waters remain closed. For example the Ashton Flagg Road is closed beyond the South Boone Creek crossing, and the Snow Creek Road has yet to open. The Cave Falls Road is open, but soft in places.  Warm River is one of the better small streams to try. The lower river will be crowded because of the nearby campground and easy access.  Fewer anglers will be near the Warm River Spring or near Pole Bridge campground because the giant stonefly hatch on the nearby Henry’s Fork is in full swing.  Try wet attractor, small bead head nymph,and caddis life cycle patterns. Tributaries to Palisades Reservoir are sure to be high for a while. Of the Salt River tributaries, Jackknife Creek might be in the best shape where small woolly bugger types and bead head nymphs would be best bets for action. All streams draining high country will host run-off for a while.


Small Streams 5-20-17

Many back country roads are opening up meaning that some of our quality small waters are now approachable. However those that drain high country remain high and discolored.  The Blackfoot River provides a good example of this situation. The river above the reservoir is running very high, but opens to fishing on July 1st.  Roads leading to the river below the reservoir are open, but the river, now open to fishing, is running very high.   The same applies to Fall and Teton rivers: approachable but running high and discolored. Expect the same for Palisades Reservoir tributaries, Salt River tributaries, Little Lost River drainage, Medicine Lodge Creek, and Robinson Creek.  Warm River above Robinson Creek is running high and clear. Birch Creek is the exception. It is in good fishing shape.  Being mostly of spring creek origin, it will remain so through the season.


Small Streams 4-4-17

Flow in the Blackfoot River above the reservoir is much higher (710 cfs at the Henry gage with 110 cfs being normal) than it has been for years.  This is great news because silt accumulation compromises parts of this river. A flush from these flows can benefit both trout and aquatic insects. With more than normal snow pack remaining in the drainage, high flows could be around for a while making the outlook for cooler flows through the summer very good. What could really be beneficial here would be to have a number of consecutive years with flow this high in the river.


Small Streams 3-24-17

It’s a different year than the last few because of our winter with abundant snowfall in the high country. Not only is access difficult or impossible because of road conditions, and with warmer weather coming on, most streams are high and with discolor. For example, last year at this time the lower Blackfoot River was worth fishing with flow around 100 cfs at the Shelley gage. This year with roads mostly blocked and nearly 500 cfs at the same gage, it is time to go somewhere else.


Small Streams 10-4-16

Our 9-24-16 small streams fishing report offered some thoughts about the effects of significant rainfall on stream flow. We currently have a repeat of the weather conditions prevailing around 9-24.  So again looking at USGS flow gauges on streams not influenced by an upstream reservoir reveals flow increases because of current storms. Current weather has been just what is needed to optimize seasonal aquatic insect activity for certain species, but it also adds food forms because of temporarily increased bank and bottom erosion. So it seems a good idea to once again include patterns imitating these food forms as well as streamer, caddisfly and mayfly life cycle, and terrestrial insect patterns in that fly box.


Small Streams 10-1-16

Flow out of Blackfoot River Reservoir has been reduced to 67 cfs. Not good for resident trout in the river below. Some good fishing on the Teton River in the Basin remains with BWO, mahogany dun and terrestrial insect activities bringing action on the river here. More good news here is that daytime recreational boaters are diminishing as cooler weather proceeds.