South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 2)

South Fork 9-16-17

Current weather is “just what the doctor ordered” for increasing fishing success on the South Fork.  Back this up with decreasing flows out of Palisades Dam (currently just under 7700 cfs and sure to drop further as the water storage season begins), and fishing in the near future here looks great. BWOs in good numbers are coming out in the riffles with mahogany duns beginning to show in places. Be sure to have life cycle patterns for each in that fly box.  When periods of good sunshine happen, go back to presenting your favorite hopper pattern back to the vegetated banks and be sure to trail that pattern with a small bead head nymph. We could not ask for better conditions for presenting streamers because of increased low light conditions brought on by unsettled weather looking to last into next week.  So whether you fish from a boat or wade, the South Fork could now be offering some of the best fishing this season.

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South Fork 9-12-17

A taste of fall weather will be in our area for the rest of the week, and with respect to fishing the South Fork it could signal some changes.  One change is the beginning of the fall mayfly emergence cycle meaning the appearance of BWOs and mahogany duns in numbers big enough to interest resident trout. At the same time PMDs and pink alberts will begin a decline in numbers.  But until a killing frost wipes out land based bugs, any fly pattern looking like a terrestrial insect will be effective in interesting trout.  The other change that will gradually take place is the increased effectiveness in time of streamers in luring larger trout. So consider going to the tying vise to crank out patterns appropriate for fishing during the upcoming change in season.

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South Fork 9-9-17

Stable flow out of Palisades Dam (around 9000 cfs) helps keep fishing success stay relatively constant. It’s a bit early in the month for BWOs and mahoganies to be important, so continue presenting bead head nymphs of choice in riffles until rise forms from PMDs and alberts appear in good numbers meaning emerger and dun patterns will become effective. Pitch hopper-dropper combos from boats back toward vegetated banks.  While wading around shallows later in the day, look for baitfish concentrating there. This is a tip-off that larger trout will forage on these as sunlight leaves the river.  Thus if you are on the river during evenings, streamer patterns become effective when presented near shallows as the sun sets. Patterns in somber colors (olives, browns, and ultra-violet end of the spectrum shades) are best this time of year.

The Jackson Hole One Fly Contest is ongoing along the river. No more than eight boats per section will be participating. So crowding is not an issue. This great event deserves support from all fly-fishers. Go to the Jackson Hole One Fly Contest web site to see details on organization, schedule, and purpose.

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South Fork 9-5-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam has been essentially constant (around 9300 cfs) for several days and is a bit higher than were it should be historically.   Clear, and of normal temperature profile (includes warming on going downstream), the river is producing good riffle fishing, but not up to the activity of the past few years.  Concentrating efforts on a particular riffle seems the best way to find action rather than slowly floating through. So anchor the boat and give the rifle a good working over with PMD and pink albert life cycle patterns, or consider leaving the boat behind and wade to available riffles. Casting terrestrial patterns with a bead head nymph dropper back to vegetated banks has been producing. No mahoganies yet, and very few BWOs. Allow a couple of weeks for these to become important.  Another factor in these mayflies emerging in numbers worthy of interest from fish is a cooler atmosphere and some unstable weather.  You can minimize the impacts of these variables by fishing in evenings when good caddis activity brings interest from resident trout and presenting streamer patterns is more effective because of increased cover.

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South Fork 8-26-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam was increased to 10900 cfs a few days ago, but with flow down below at Shelley at a bit over 2000 cfs,it appears someone between there and Byington is using a lot of water.  Riffle fishing now is as good as that which the South Fork can offer. PMDs (3 tails) and pink alberts (2 tails) are providing the action. Mutant golden stoneflies are beginning to show in place, and well placed hopper patterns (with a small bead head nymph patterns of choice  dropper) aimed back toward well vegetated banks are producing.

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South Fork 8-22-17

Last Friday flow out of Palisades Dam was raised a few hundred cfs to satisfy downstream irrigation demands. This small amount did not impact fishing, and riffle fishing has been picking up over the past several days.  Look for this most enjoyable South Fork type of fishing to improve as our weather becomes more temperate.

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South Fork 8-19-17

The flow out of Palisades Dam has been essentially constant at around 9000 cfs (about 100 cfs higher at Heise) for about two weeks, so this stability certainly helps fishing success. Finally the riffle fishing is worth trying on most on the river where an off-color (yellow-olive) PMD, #16, is emerging with fish responding.  Hopper-dropper combinations work well when drifted through runs, pockets and into the heads of holes. Some mutant golden stones are appearing on the lower river, so look for this event to move upstream over the upcoming days.  Look for improved dry fly fishing to last well into September when hopefully good BWO and mahogany dun activity will convince trout to look on top for some food.

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South Fork 8-15-17

Not much change here. Even flow out of Palisades Dam is about the same as last week. Dry fly fishing shows little improvement since then also. It a year with a unusual major situation (lengthy high water period) than recent years.  So we have expect differences, even though the fish are still in residence.

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South Fork 8-12-17

Finally riffle fishing is nearing the good category! PMDs and pink alberts are emerging  from these. Emergences  of both are overlapping a bit more than usual  because of high water earlier this summer.   So choosing the best pattern at a given time is interesting. Fishing back to the banks seems to be lagging a bit even though terrestrial insect population is excellent, so look for future improvement.  Be sure to keep rubber leg patterns in that fly box because although not significant mutant golden stone flies are yet to appear, their nymphs are migrating. Right now flow out of Palisades Dam is about 9000 cfs and about the same at Heise.  That’s just about where the flow should be historically.

One thing to consider is that the lengthy time of high water coming from the dam has changed local bottom structure in the river below.  In places riffles have moved downstream, some have become runs, some holes have deepened while others have filled in, and so on. For sure the fish are still in the river, but favored locations are not always in the same places as last season. Now the fun will be to figure out where the best new locations for fishing are.

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South Fork 8-1-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped to 8450 cfs yesterday (9870 cfs at Heise). That’s lower than normal for this date historically. Reports we receive suggest best fishing on the river is above Byington.  Presenting nymph or streamer patterns remains the best way to action with dry fly fishing not up normal quality throughout.  No mutant golden stoneflies appearing in significant amounts yet. When they migrate presenting nymph patterns is fruitful, but when they come back to the stream surface this year, will dry fly fishing pick up?  That’s a good question in this year of unusual water flows. When we hear of improved dry fly fishing, we will post where, when, and patterns here.

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