South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams (Page 8)

Small Streams 9-6-16

Many of our small streams are impacted by the hot dry summer and therefore have lower than normal flows for this time of year. Given that condition, they heat up more quickly during daytime hours resulting in less dense aquatic insect hatches and lower fish activity.  Thus the best time to fish these can be during morning hours when waters are coolest. Some of these streams feature morning trico spinner falls which adds to their early in the day attraction.


Small Streams 8-30-16

There is a great and, when you think about it, attractive resource that we in the fly-fishing community make not much use of. That resource is the U. S. Forest Service rental cabins. Many of these structures were originally built in relatively remote places for housing personnel assigned to fire watch, law enforcement patrol, and other functions.  In our area Caribou-Targhee National Forest offers several of these.  Some of these are adjacent to places to fish which for the most part are small streams.  So it is worth taking a look at these in particular.

Perhaps the one with which folks are most familiar is the Warm River Cabin situated at Warm River Spring.  It appears most of its use is from winter time activities.  Being only a moderate cast away, it offers a most convenient base for fishing the river above and below the spring. Being not far from the Cardiac Canyon reach of the Henry’s Fork or the Harriman Fish Pond, it offers not only tranquility, but convenience for fishing these waters.

The Squirrel Meadows Guard Station is another one frequently use for winter time and hunting activities, but being just off the Ashton-Flagg Road just inside Wyoming, it is a great base for accessing Fall River and Beula and Hering Lakes in Yellowstone Park.  Not far away are Fall River in Idaho, the Boone Creek beaver ponds, Cascade Creek, Fish Lake, Lake of the Woods, Tillery Lake, and Grassy Lake Reservoir in Wyoming. That array of nearby waters makes this cabin extremely attractive for those wanting to fish back country waters.

The Stump Creek Guard Station would make a great base from which to fish Idaho’s Salt River tributaries. It is on the Lander Cut-Off of the Oregon Trail just inside the Idaho border with Wyoming. Stump Creek goes right by with Tincup, South Fork of Tincup, Jackknife, and Crow Creeks not far away.

The Al Taylor Cabin is west of Kilgore and off Forest Road 006. Not many folks venture to this area.  Nearby West Camas and Cottonwood Creeks offer fast fishing for small brook trout. Think of a weekend at this cabin while catching enough brookies for an evening fish fry!

Johnson Guard Station on the Diamond Creek Road offers a base from which to fish the upper Blackfoot River and its tributaries. The Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area is only a few miles away. Nearby Diamond Creek offers small stream and beaver pond fishing for brook and cutthroat trout.

Each of these cabins has particulars with respect to facilities, what is offered, and what is required,  Fees are similar for each and each is really convenient and a bargain when compared to more distant commercial accommodations. You can view particulars for each on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest web site home page.  Click the cabin rental bar to see these particulars. You will see that there are other rental cabins in the Forest.


Small Streams 8-23-16

Our hot and dry summer has impacted fishing on many of our smaller waters. For example, flow in the Blackfoot River above the reservoir is almost half of normal.  That means high water temperatures which make it tough for trout to recover after being caught and released. Below the reservoir high and discolored water of varying flow prevail and will continue until the first of October. Thanks to Warm River Spring inflow, Warm River offers very good fishing for miles below where brookies, browns, and ‘bows are responding well to caddis life cycle and terrestrial insect patterns.  Teton River in the basin is fishing well if you are willing to put up with the recreational boaters. You can get away from most of them by fishing downstream of the State Highway 33 Bridge. There is not as much water here as above the bridge, but enough to be a destination.  Terrestrial patterns will be your best bet for action.  The afternoon flav emergence on Big Elk Creek continues to offer good fishing with kokanee entering the creek in good numbers.  Palisades Creek is another good bet to try with caddis fly life cycle, traditional attractor and terrestrial insect patterns bringing action.


Small Streams 8-13-16

Are you looking for a small stream sure to produce reliable action during these warm, dry summer days? If you are, Warm River just below Warm River Spring should be at the top of your “to-visit” list.  Here’s why: the spring provides an abundant and constant inflow of quality water in the low fifties of degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature is about ideal for trout living conditions which includes feeding. With caddisflies, PMDs, and tricos emerging and ants, beetles, and hoppers falling in from banks a variety of food forms is present.  Brookies, browns and rainbows make up the trout roster here. True, they do not range as large as those on the nearby Henry’s Fork, so scale your tackle accordingly.   In addition, most fly-fishers in the area will be on the Henry’s Fork (or around Three Rivers downstream), so add a good chance for solitude as a plus when trying this great small river.

To get there turn right on the Warm River Road off the Mesa Falls Scenic Highway just above Upper Mesa Falls. Then turn right onto the Warm River Fish Hatchery Road, aka Warm River Spring Road.  After this road drops down to the river there are a number of pull-outs before reaching the spring and hatchery. Park, then walk downstream to fish as much as time permits and you should have a good outing.


Small Streams 8-9-16

Palisades Creek is fishing quite well where terrestrial insect, traditional attractor, and caddis life cycle patterns are producing best almost throughout the creek.  The flavs are emerging afternoon hours from Big Elk Creek.  Two-nymph rigs and terrestrial patterns will work well earlier in the day until the stream warms to the point where the flavs emerge. Blackfoot River on the WMA is also fishing well. Try terrestrial insect patterns and concentrate presenting them on the faster portions of the river there.


Small Streams 8-2-16

The Teton River is fishing very well throughout. In Teton Basin PMD spinner and terrestrial insect patterns bring good action mornings and evenings.   During daytime hours recreational boaters flock to the river here, so best fishing is early and late. To fish with less daytime disturbance, try below the State Highway 33 bridge. There is plenty of easily wading, but because of no boat launch-take out facility, except at the bridge, recreational and fly-fishing boaters are greatly reduced.  Access to Teton Canyon above the dam site is somewhat limited. The river can be reached with the least effort at the Felt Dam, from Badger Creek, from the Bitch Creek Slide and from the Spring Hollow Road. Beware of rattlesnakes when you are not within the high water level. Gray drakes will soon be emerging during afternoon hours. Caddis life cycle, traditional attractor, and terrestrial patterns bring most interest from resident trout.   All these patterns work well on the lower river which can be waded at the dam site, at the Hog Hollow area, and above Teton City where it splits into the north and south forks.

To eliminate boaters altogether try Big Elk, Bear, and Palisades Creeks. Caddis life cycle, terrestrial insect and traditional attractor patterns are currently working well on each. The flavs (western green drake?)  should begin any day, with that event on Big Elk Creek being the “star of the show.”  Want a real “get away from it all” stream?  Try the South Fork of Tincup Creek.  Trying to fool cutts there with lightweight tackle there is a blast. There are others in this category. Come into the shop and ask where they can be found.


Small Streams 7-23-16

It looks like our hot dry weather will continue indefinitely. This will impact fishing on many of our small streams for weeks to come as flows drop and waters warm.  Resulting reduced cover contributes to less fishing success, but the overlying reason is that higher water temperatures mean less dissolved oxygen. Less dissolved oxygen means fish cannot be as active, and larger fish are impacted particularly.  Reduced dissolved oxygen also impacts aquatic insect activity.  Here are some thoughts that may help in making a choice in small streams. Any stream with a good component of water coming from springs will be less impacted by the current weather. Birch Creek, Big Elk Creek, Tom Creek, Warm River, and the Fort Hall Reservation spring creeks are good examples. Palisades Creek has a good flow throughout the season for an unusual reason. That is the two sizeable lakes in its drainage having a good component of (lower Palisades Lake) or total (Upper Palisades Lake) subterranean water in their outflow to the creek.  There others that are good candidates for a visit this time of year. Come in and talk to us. We can help in making a small stream selection for a good fly-fishing experience.


Small Streams 7-16-16

Now begins the season to think terrestrial patterns for best dry fly fishing on small streams, especially when trying their meadow reaches.   Examples include Bear Creek, Birch Creek in the Family Area, Jackknife Creek, McCoy Creek, South Fork of Tincup Creek, Upper Crow Creek (too bad absentee landowners dominate the lower part), Sawmill Creek, Blackfoot River in the Wildlife Management Area, and Teton River in Teton Basin. Some of these will host decreasing PMD hatches, and almost all have caddisfly activity on-going.  Traditional patterns will always work, especially those that imitate horseflies and deer flies which take over from mosquitoes as pests on many streams. Fishing on some streams will begin to slow a bit as their run-off component drops to zero. Include Boone, Conant, and Robinson Creeks in these.


Small Streams 7-2-16

Any small stream with a campground nearby will be heavily fished this holiday weekend. One exception might be the upper Blackfoot River. The river within the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area is the best water above Blackfoot River Reservoir and likely will not be crowded because of the South Fork turning on and the lure of the upper Henry’s Fork and the Madison River.  Camp at Mill Creek campground to enjoy the evening brown drake emergence which may be relatively sparse during this low water year. PMD and caddisfly life cycle patterns and patterns to simulate the few gray drakes during afternoons will bring some action as will patterns to simulate a growing terrestrial insect population.

Palisades Reservoir tribs are in good shape now with PMDs, caddis, and sallies providing hints for effective patterns. South Fork tribs are also now open and in good shape with same insects as in Reservoir tribs providing food for trout and pattern ideas for fly-fishers. In fact, all area small waters not impacted by irrigation diversion are offering good fishing. Now  may be the best time to fish small waters during the next several months because of the low water year we are having.  So consider visiting a small stream now, then get in touch with us to see which may be fishing best at a given time.


Small Streams 6-25-16

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!