Lots of folks fished the river this weekend, and results are good throughout. Rubberlegs patterns produced the best, and bead head nymph patterns were effective in the riffles and heads of runs. Dry fly fishing remains slow. Water coming out of Palisades Dam is at 49 deg. F. , and has been flowing there around 10400 cfs for weeks. At this time USBUREC plans no flush out of Palisades Dam until run-off characteristics are determined. If and when that flush takes place, we will post such information here. For now, the rising water temperature and constant flow means good fishing success.
The flow is up to 10,021 cfs from Palisades dam. Some of the tributaries are starting to rise with the beginning of spring runoff giving the water its customary green spring look. Continue using a rubber leg/glow bug combination for the rainbows. Streamers cast on a full sink or sink tip line will be a good technique in these water conditions.
The great feeder canal is still shut down for maintainance so the flow down to Lorenzo is high.
The flow increased today to 4331cfs from 3400 cfs. There will be additional increases of 900 cfs each day through Saturday. Generally increases slow the fishing but on some occasions the increases don’t bother the fish. If you are looking for the tagged rainbows these flow increases cause them to start moving onto the redds. Use egg patterns dropped below a weighted san juan worm or rubber legs for the rainbows. There are usually browns and cutthroats hanging around the redds too.
We have included some photos of the diversion above byington that was modified earlier this year. At lower flows there were some power boats that hit rocks at the diversion but the river is high enough now that there shouldn’t be problem for either power and non motorized boats.
The flow is now at 3,428 cfs at Irwin. With these increases it might take a day for the small amount of moss and debris that is dislodged to drift downstream. The overall water clarity will stay good until much higher flows come later in the Spring.
Just a quick note about the flows. The Post Register had an article in Thursday’s paper quoting the Bureau of Reclamation about flows on the South Fork. The Bureau said that the flows were increased several times this week with the last increase coming this morning. Today’s increase brings the river to 2130 cfs which is still a low level. Wading is still very easy.
The water will be very clear again in a day or so and the fishing should continue to be good. Just keep using the same patterns mentioned in the earlier posts.
The flow on the south fork has increased some this week. It has risen from 900 cfs to 1512 cfs. The increases could slow the fishing for a day but overall the water conditions should be good for a couple of more weeks.
We have had some very good fishing with a pair of tungsten midges in the deep slow pools. On most days there is a good hatch of midges and we have been using a Harrop’s gray Fluttering midge on the top. In the slow deep pools use a full sinking line with a streamer of your choice.
All of the ramps are open with the exception of Cottonwood/Fullmer which is closed until the access road above the closed sign is officially opened next month sometime by the Forest Service. The water levels at the ramps are good except at Spring Creek where you have to winch your boat a short distance over the gravel at the end of the ramp.
It’s been almost three months since we offered a South Fork report. The big change with respect to water is the flow reduction out of Palisades Dam from about 1200 cfs to about 900 cfs. This reduction means wading is more attractive than boating in much of the river. The other change is that winter is almost finished rather than beginning, and snow and ice are leaving the river edges. With better daytime conditions already begun, getting out is more attractive. But the river remains cold with water coming out of Palisades Dam currently around 36 deg. F. This means midges will provide the only top water fishing until water warms more. Emerger patterns in the surface film or just below will bring the most responses from feeding fish. Some of the warmer, overcast days without wind (imagine that!) could offer the best action. Look for most fish feeding along riffles and tail outs. If you can get to side channels, some can also host good midge activity with fish responding. Nymph fishing can be effective this time of year when riffles and runs are targeted. Small rubber leg and standard bead head patterns are good candidates for use. Try these on floating lines for shallow waters, sink tips for deeper waters. Streamer fishing is the best way to go for a chance at larger fish. Once again, presentation is more important than pattern selection. This time of year focus most of your efforts on deeper water and use a sink tip line and short, stout leader. We suggest Clouser types, fly rod jigs, double bunny types, sculpin imitations, and large wooly bugger variations. Because of the cold water, dress for the occasion. That means either insulated waders or plenty of layers under those Gore-Tex types. Consider using a wading staff because the last thing you want is a dunking in 36 degree water. Looking for specific locations? Come to the shop and discuss these with us because we have reports from various locations.
The South Fork is fishing really well right now and should continue to do so all through the winter when weather permits. We will continue to update the fishing report as things change but here is a good general report for the river in the coming months. The river is flowing 1,200 cfs out of the dam and that means there is great wade fishing access throughout the system. For now, you can still float but we recommend sticking to shorter floats to maximize your time out on the water. Both Nymphing and Streamer fishing have been producing well lately, with nymphing being your best option. As far as nymphing, egg patterns, zebra midges, small rubberlegs, and other small attractor nymphs are all good bets. For streamer fishing, small clouser minnows, sculpzillas, bellyache minnows, etc.. would all be good choices. As the river continues to cool down, try fishing streamer patterns in the deep, slow water of the river with a fast sinking sink tip or even a full sink line. Midges are about the only thing that can provide dry fly fishing this time of year, but sometimes the midge fishing can be spectacular. Make sure and have an assortment of small midge patterns both nymphs and dries whenever you head out this time of year.
As always, feel free to give us a call at the shop with any questions you may have!