South Fork 9-17-16

Flow out of Palisades Dam was reduced to about 7500 cfs Wednesday. That action took place in the midst of trout responding very well to BWOs and mahogany duns. Some unsettled weather appears to be coming into the area next week, so look for a repeat of fish working these two emergences. Also because Palisades Reservoir is down to 10% of capacity, look for further flow reductions coming up soon.

South Fork 9-13-16

The cloudy and stormy weather predicted for much of this week is bringing on BWO and mahogany dun activity on the river. Look for afternoons to offer the best chance for action, and don’t overlook pitching a streamer when cloudy or stormy conditions prevail.

South Fork 9-10-16

Since our last South Fork fishing report (9-6-16) flow out of Palisades Dam has been dropped about 2000 cfs. It now stands at about 7300 cfs which is about normal for this time of year. Allow a day or two and fish will adjust to this significant flow drop and respond to mutant stoneflies with full interest, will do the same to hopper patterns, and provide good riffle fishing. There has been a repeat of the 2012 whitefish kill on the river. Whether the cause is the same as the recent one on the Yellowstone River is yet to be determined.

South Fork 9-6-16

The stormy day we had on Sunday produced a BWO emergence in the canyon and below. So  it looks like the BWO and Mahogany dun activity is getting a start. Riffle fishing seems to be slowing, but with these events it can pick up.  Currently presenting soft hackled patterns in the riffles may bring a better chance for action.

The flow out of Palisades Dam has been consistent (about 9500 cfs) for several days, Consider, however that the thermal effect of water coming out of the dam during draw-down times, like now, diminishes by the time flow reaches Heise. This means the river can be cooler in its lower portion which can impact the density of aquatic insect hatches.

South Fork 8-23-16

Stable and good quality water means good fishing continues on the river. The Great Feeder has been shut down meaning more water in the river below Byington.  Mutant golden stoneflies are emerging. Wes Newman’s Super X has been around a long time, but it works as well as other patterns for these stoneflies. Chernobyl types also fished on top early and again late in the day are also a good choice. Using two nymph rigs  of small bead head patterns is the most productive approach for fishing drop-offs around riffles now that hatches have diminished a bit. Try caddislfy life cycle patterns in the evening, and consider pitching a streamer pattern after the sun leaves the water.

South Fork 8-13-16

Fishing is holding up very up & down the river.   Near constant inflow from the reservoir and good water temps are the reasons.  A good general strategy is to begin early in the day with mutant golden stone patterns, then with the advancing morning switch to a double nymph rig under an indicator. The top fly should be a rubber leg pattern and the bottom a small bead head nymph of choice. As the afternoon hours proceed, concentrate efforts in riffles with PMD and pink albert emerger and dun patterns. As evening rolls around, switch to caddis life cycle patterns. As evening advances, consider presenting streamer patterns around overhead cover and around areas out of direct sunlight.

South Fork 08-01-16

The fishing on the South Fork is remaining constant with Golden Stones, PMD’s, and now small ants. The flows are staying constant on the river with it running 12,400 cfs out of the Palisades Damn, and the hopper fishing is getting close to starting with these warm dry temperatures. The best fishing lately has been in the mornings and evenings with a dead period during the middle of the day. During that time, I would recommend a dry dropper with a size 12 or 14 bead-headed nymph.

Flies I would use:

Nymphs: Bennett’s Brown Rubber Leg size 6 & 8, Pearl Lightning Bug size 16, Red Copper John size 14, Bead Headed Pheasant Tail Crystal Flash size 16

Streamers: Gallop’s Yellow Dungeon, Kreelix Copper/Gold, Gallop’s White Peanut Envy, Sparkle Minnow, Flash Minnow.

Dry Flies: CFO Copper/Black Ant size 14, CFO Black/Red Ant size 16,  Super Chernobyl Golden size 10 (A.K.A Chubby), CFO Flamer (Purple or Brown) size 8, CW Pink Albert Dun size 16, Pink Albert Captive Dun size 16,

Also, a yellow lab was found at the Byington Boat Ramp Saturday, if you have any information contact Logan at 208-346-2066.

South Fork 7-30-16

The river is about as stable as it can get with flows out of Palisades Dam at 12500 cfs for over a week. Riffle fishing has been good. Try pink albert life cycle patterns with thorax dun, cripples, and emergers being the best candidates. Switch from one to the other  to see which suits fish best in any riffle. Nocturnal golden stones have yet to make a significant appearance.  Ant and beetle patterns work well along well vegetated banks and hoppers are coming on. Try any big floating pattern with an ant dropper and watch cutts take that ant. Also two-nymph rigs presented over drop-offs will produce.

The US Highway 26 seal coating project is not as big a delay as first thought for those folks heading to Conant and Swan Valleys and above. Sections of the highway have reduced speed limits and waits required by flagger orders are usually around 15-20 minutes if at all.

South Fork 07-18-16

Even though it is the dog days of summer, the fishing still continues to be good on the South Fork. The Salmon flies are starting to end on the upper section in Swan Valley, but the Golden Stones are fishing well throughout the whole river. Also, I would recommend fishing a dry dropper with the Golden Stone and a small nymph below it. The best fishing has still been in the riffles with a Pink Comparadun and an emerger. The flows are continuing to stay stable around 13,000 cfs, and there is no word on dropping the South Fork. Although if I had a day off, I would spend it on the South Fork fishing dry flies.

Flies I would use:

Nymphs: Bennett’s Brown Rubber Leg size 6 & 8, Pearl Lightning Bug size 16, Red Copper John size 14, Bead Headed Pheasant Tail Crystal Flash size 16

Streamers: Gallop’s Yellow Dungeon, Kreelix Copper/Gold, Gallop’s White Peanut Envy, Sparkle Minnow, Flash Minnow.

Dry Flies: John’s CFO Yellow Sallie size 14, Kyle’s Yellow Sallie size 12,  Super Chernobyl Golden size 10 (A.K.A Chubby), CFO Flamer size 8, CW Pink Albert Dun size 16, Pink Albert Captive Dun size 16,

South Fork 07-11-16

Even though it is July 11th, there are still big bugs hatching. The Salmon flies right now are most concentrated on the Upper South Fork between Palisades Creek and Spring Creek Bridge. The PMD fishing has been the best it has been in years with PMD’s hatching all the way from the Damn to the Lorenzo take out. Between there you will find fish in riffles looking for PMD’s and Yellow Sallies. Lastly, fishing a Golden Stone and a small nymph underneath has worked well on the lower section.

Flies I would use:

Nymphs: Bennett’s Brown Rubber Leg size 6 & 8, Pearl Lightning Bug size 16, Red Copper John size 14, Bead Headed Pheasant Tail Crystal Flash size 16

Streamers: Gallop’s Yellow Dungeon, Kreelix Copper/Gold, Gallop’s White Peanut Envy, Sparkle Minnow, Flash Minnow.

Dry Flies: John’s CFO Yellow Sallie size 14, Kyle’s Yellow Sallie size 12,  Super Chernobyl Golden size 6 (A.K.A Chubby), Brett’s Salmon Fly size 4, CW Pink Albert Dun size 16, Pink Albert Captive Dun size 16, Super Chernobyl Golden size 10