Riffle fishing on the South Fork is about as good as it gets, especially on the upper river. The flow out of Palisades Dam has been a bit over 13000 cfs with water temperatures in the high 50s in deg. F. for weeks. This is the kind of stability that results in consistent insect activity needed for great fishing. Pink alberts and the remaining PMDs are the reasons. Begin in the AM with nymphs, switch to your favorite emerger pattern as the day advances and you see increased rises. Some folks prefer to stick with their favorite emerger pattern, but others later on switch to a dun pattern for the surface. Fishing the banks is also a good strategy. Hoppers are out and sure to increase, so your favorite pattern should be in that fly box.
Overall fishing the South Fork has been good. There have been a couple of days where it has been slow but the cooler water temperatures this July has made the fishing better than recent summers.
Most days there is some good activity in the riffles with pale morning duns, both olive/yellow and pink. When fishing the riffles your best success will come by constantly changing your patterns from high silhouette duns to emergers and then maybe a nymph suspended in the surface film. Drift purple or gold bodied chernobyl stones against the slower grassy banks and over the riffle drop offs. There are some big hoppers out on the lower river below Byington and down to Menan. We are starting to see some golden(mutant) stone casings along the shore but we need to see some drops in the river flow to really get those bugs emerging. If you stay on the river late there has been a good caddis hatch. Finally we have still been relying on a brown rubber leg/small tungsten nymph combination when nothing is going on topside.
The next two to three days we are suppose to have some good cloud cover and that usually makes for better fishing. Good luck!
No big change since our 7/14 report. Flows are stable (13200 cfs at dam, 13700 at Heise) with water temps in the mid 50s coming out of the dam. The upper river offers the best fishing. A few golden stones remain.Try PMD and pink albert life cycle patterns in the riffles. Timing is nymphs early, then emergers as the day progresses, on to duns if you see fish taking on the surface. Afternoon caddis activity can bring fish up. Terrestrial patterns will be important soon. Try your favorite streamer pattern early in the morning, and around sunset. And remember that for all your dry patterns, presentation and ability to see them on the surface trumps choice.
Fishing on the lower South Fork from the lower canyon downstream has slowed down a lot from last week. The best fishing is in the upper river from the dam through the canyon and that is where most folks are targeting until fishing improves on the lower river.
If you do venture out on the lower river look for nymphing to be your best method. We should start to see the mutant golden stones appear first on the river below byington which should makes thing better for that stretch.
First off, the South Fork is fishing great all throughout the river. The salmon flies are now all the way up to the Palisades Dam, but they are still in the canyon. When fishing the big bugs, I would stop on a gravel bar and fish the structures like log jams, big boulders, and troughs. Along with the big bugs are PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and a big Caddis towards night. If there is an overcast day, I would not be afraid to try a streamer. Therefore the selection of flies I would have, goes as such:
Super Chernobyl Golden Yellow (size 8 & 10)
CFO Pink Ant (size 8)
Improved Sofa Pillow (size 4)
Rollin Stone (size 4)
Pink Comparadun (size 16 & 18)
Pink Albert CDC Biot Emerger (size 16 & 18)
Kyle’s Yellow Sally (size 12 & 14)
Goddard Caddis (size 14)
Bennet’s Seal Rubber Legs (size 6 & 8)
Beadhead Crystal Pheasant Tail (size 14 & 16)
Red Copper John (size 14 & 16)
Gallop’s Olive or White Sex Dungen (size 2)
Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow Sculpin (size 6)
Stenersen’s Lite Brite Minnow Rainbow (size 4)
There is no significant change from earlier in the week with the types of insects and fly patterns. The fishing is very good and we are in the beginning of that time period on the south fork that everyone looks forward to. For those interested in the big stoneflies, they are out in good numbers above Cottonwood. Again we want to emphasize that there are many types of bugs out and you’ll find fish in different parts of the river eating different insects. Below is a list of flies that we will use for the next couple of weeks.
Rogue Foam Stone #4 and 6
Brett’s Stone #4 and 6
Improved Sofa Pillow #4 and 6
CFO Golden Stone #8
Rollin’ Stone #10
Chubby Chernobyl (purple and tan) #8 and 10
Yellow Sally Stones:
CFO Yellow Sally-X #12 and 14
Kyle’s Yellow Sally #12 and 14
Pale Morning Dun Thorax Dun #16
Harrop’s PMD Cripple #16 and 18
William’s CDC Pale Morning Dun #16
Harrops Pale Morning Dun Nymph #16
Sculpzilla (streamer) #4 and 8
The fishing has been very good the past few days and should continue to stay good for the next couple of weeks. There are a lot of different bugs hatching so you will have the opportunity to fish many different types and sizes of dry flies. The big stones are up as far Wolf Flats.
There is some dry fly fishing on the upper river with pale morning duns but it will be a week or so before we see the activity there that we see now on the lower river. Nymph fishing with rubber legs or a pair of small nymphs has been good on all sections of the river.
There is a nice variety of dry fly fishing on the the river now. Most of the activity is from Cottonwood downstream and usually starts by noon. There are good hatches of pale morning duns, blue wing olives and some green drakes. The golden stones and yellow sallies have started too. There are some big stones out below Heise.
We are having great success underneath before the hatches start with rubber leg nymphs, yellow sally nymphs and bead head flash prince nymphs. Streamer fishing against the bank and over the drop offs has been productive too.
The water level is at a normal flow of 13,000 cfs and has a green tint. It is has a little more color closer to Palisades Dam. We’ll post again tomorrow as Everet and I are leaving Tom and Parker to tend the shop and heading up to the south fork for the afternoon………
Still no significant amounts of big stoneflies emerging, but any day now! Flow out of Palisades Dam has been about 13100 cfs for a week, with temperature of around 51 deg. F. So conditions are good. We’ll let you know when the big bugs arrive and fish begin to respond. Meanwhile rubberlegs and Super-X patterns can be good to imitate drifting stonefly nymphs.