South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

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

South Fork 6-2-18

With flow out of Palisades Dam over 20000 cfs the river below is dangerous. For now, expressing caution when approaching the river is important.  Palisades Reservoir is about 85% full, and water managers are trying to keep up with the high inflow and yet minimize flooding threats from the river below.  Flow into Jackson Lake has dropped significantly. Nevertheless there is potential for the river below Palisades Dam to remain very high through much of this month.

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South Fork 5-26-18

 

 

Kyle Spencer

Flow out of Palisades Dam was increased to 19100 cfs Wednesday  (Now 19400 cfs at Heise, 14900 cfs at Lorenzo). With the reservoir about 75 % full and over 30000 cfs coming into it, an increase in outflow seems necessary.  However with irrigation water being taken out on a large scale, flow below Byington is about 14500 cfs which is about double for this time of year.  Water is discolored with suspended matter.  We have a few reports of exposed gravel bars and some fishing action below Byington where rubberlegs and brightly colored streamer patterns  sunk deep are interesting fish.  No dry fly action yet, but at least something is going on with respect to fishing on the lower river.  Above Byington it is best to try drop-offs and any gravel bars that are not in deep water. A weighted rubberlegs trailed with a San Juan worm trailor might be the best way to interest fish.

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Henry’s Fork 5-22-18

Bear Gulch

 

Big bugs are out big time from Ora to Vernon Bridges and increasing from Warm River to top of Ashton Reservoir. But the same goes for float and wading anglers. Anywhere you try  in these areas you will experience REAL crowds of fly-fishers.  I hope you are exposed to good stream etiquette along these places. Whether you are or are not exposed to such, strive to be a good example of such. Understand that as the big bug emergence moves upstream, there are a number of location in which you can find minimized crowding. Try walking down to the river from the old Bear Gulch ski area. Best fishing here is upstream. Try the river from the Sheep Falls Road off Highway 20 or from the Mesa Falls Park just off the Mesa Falls Scenic Highway.  Try the river from the West Hatchery Ford Road from the Highway 20 side, or walk downstream from Riverside campground.  These and other unmentioned places will have more solitude, tranquility, and likely better fishing than the easily approached locations most folks frequent along the river.  Be assured that any big floating fly pattern resembling a giant stonefly will work; just place that pattern close or drift it by or under vegetation hanging over banks, beneath cliffs, around rocks above the surface, or any object protruding into the river.

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South Fork 5-22-18

FYI: Flow out of Palisades Reservoir was upped from 16000 cfs to 18000 cfs yesterday. So the days of equilibrium conditions on the river are gone for a while.  Palisades Reservoir is at about 60% of capacity.

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South Fork 5-19-18

 

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It’s not all bad news for the South Fork, because nymph fishing seems to be improving.   Currently Palisades Reservoir is at 60% of capacity. Water coming out is cold, but clearing, and flow out of Palisades Dam has been nearly constant at 16000 cfs for about two weeks.  So stable conditions are present. Big rubber legs and stonefly nymph patterns work as do small bead head nymphs in riffles.

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South Fork 5-14-18

 

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Flow out of Palisades dam has been constant at just under 16000 cfs for about a week. That’s a few thousand cfs higher than average and may not remain at that level, particularly if our weather warms. Palisades Reservoir is filling and is near 60% full.  Most effective fishing currently is through boating to present rubber leg patterns deep and the same for streamers under low light conditions.

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South Fork 5-9-18

 

03-26-13 South Fork Bald Eagle

Looks like the South Fork is on its way to reasonable fly-fishing conditions, but has a way to go.  On May 1st flow from Palisades Dam was dropped to 13900 cfs (now 15400 cfs at Heise, 11200 cfs at Lorenzo) and remains there this day. The reservoir is currently about 47% of capacity and slowly filling.  Warming weather and abundant remaining snow could speed up the filling rate.  So for now stock up on well-weighted streamer, San Juan worm,  and rubber leg patterns because better fly-fishing days on the river are soon to come.

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South Fork 4-1-18

Yesterday flow out of Palisades Dam was increased to 18000 cfs.  That flow makes for difficult near-term fishing. Over the last month the Palisades Dam flow graph looks like a step function, and for good reason. There is more than normal snow pack in the upper Snake River drainage.  Thus the Bureau of Reclamation placed a public announcement on April 3rd giving their Snake River water management strategy. Here is an excerpt from it that impacts the South Fork reach and the main stem Snake River to just below American Falls Dam.   Note Reclamation’s  estimate of 114% of the recent decade average.  That’s the basis for their management strategy.

Reclamation’s April through July volume runoff forecast for Heise is 3700 KAF, which is 114% of the 1981-2010 average.  To begin advancing on updated flood control targets for Jackson Lake Dam and Palisades Dam the following changes have or will be made this week. 

·       Jackson Lake Dam discharge will be increased Thursday (4/5) at 10 am from the current 630 cfs up to between 1,000 cfs and 1,500 cfs.

·       Palisades Dam discharge will be increased Thursday (4/5) evening into Friday (4/6) morning to go from the current 10,000 cfs up to between 14,500 cfs and 16,000 cfs by Friday morning.

·       American Falls Dam discharges were increased today from 11,000 cfs to 13,000 cfs.  Another increase will occur Wednesday (4/4) morning at 10 am to go from 13,000 cfs to 15,000 cfs.

The intent with respect to Palisades Reservoir is to decrease its capacity to around 50% ( Currently at about 70%) in order to contain expected run off.  More increases in flow out of these three dams are possible, with weather being a factor in determining flow management. For additional information and resources, please visit Reclamation’s website at:  https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/uppersnake/ .

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South Fork 11-28-17

At Heise Br. (640x480)

Palisades Reservoir seems to be filling. Volume of water there was 95% capacity a few days ago, now it is 97% capacity. Look for flows into the South Fork to remain about where they are now ( about 4200 cfs) with future increases out of Palisades Reservoir possible.  Although walk-in-wade fishing will be a bit tougher than in past winters, fish will be the big winners of these flows if they last through the winter.  Whether or not we have high water conditions during spring and summer of 2018 depends on snowfall amounts this coming winter.  Until springtime midge hatches will provide top water fishing, while presenting streamer patterns and nymph patterns ranging from small bead heads to larger rubber leg types will result in the best techniques for sub-surface fishing.

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South Fork 11-21-17

Rolly at Dam_Small

Flow out of Palisades Dam was raised to 3130 cfs last Thursday ( upping flow at Heise to almost 3600 cfs).  With Palisades Reservoir about 95% full and at least normal snowfall expected this winter in the Snake River drainage, look for flows below Palisades Dam to be higher this winter than in recent years. A forecast for mild weather for this week should result in good BWO activity. Midge activity remains consistently good, and presenting streamer patterns under low light conditions is a sure way to find action from migrating browns and the rainbows following them this time of year.

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