Fishing has really improved on the South Fork. Great midge hatches over the weekend with fish feeding on the surface. Other than the increase of midge activity all other tactics for catching fish have not changed from our previous reports.
All the boat ramps are open however the river is still at 900 cfs. This means that the river is a fraction of the flow we normally see. Short 3-4 mile floats will take you the majority of the day. We don’t advise going into the canyon. Cottonwood is still closed for wintering wildlife and it would be impossible to float the entire canyon in one day. Irwin slide to Spring Creek or Spring Creek to Conant and Wolf to Byington are good floats. Heise is inaccessible right now because the water is to low. Lorenzo to Menan is also a good float this time of year.
A couple of days ago we floated from Lorenzo to Menan and were happy to see that the new ramp being built below Lorenzo. It will be on the south side of the river and access will be from the Lorenzo/Menan highway. We don’t know the exact date that it will open but we will let when it is. In the meantime there is a 3 foot ledge of ice sitting on the ramp at current launch site. In order to put in you have to push the boat down over the ice ledge. Getting a boat out will take some extra rope and a good push by two folks on the back end of the boat. Then ice hopefully will melt in a week or so.
Fishing has been really good on the river for this time of year. Nymphing has producing the most fish. Jimmy saw a nice midge hatch on Wednesday on the river with fish rising on the surface. Streamer fishing is still and can be effective. Fish the deep slow to non-moving pools. We like to fish a full sinking line with a streamer, remember slow retrieve is the ticket with streamers.
As far as floating is concerned here is some information on the following boat ramps. You can take out at Conant but you will need chains and a rope. Wolf to Byington is a good float. Lorenzo boat ramp is almost impossible to take out but you can launch a boat over the ice. Menan is easy to take out as well. So your floats are Wolf to Byington and Lorenzo to Menan and Irwin to Conant. If you have questions feel free to give us a call.
Well the time has come to update the South Fork fishing report. Flows are still steady at 900 cfs. Fishing is starting to pick up. Reports of Midges hatching on the warmer days and good success on nymphing deep. Streamer fishing is also been producing fish. Be sure your deep and slow with the streamer. We have been starting to see some more action on the Blue Wing Olive nymphs and that will continue to pick up as the weather gets warmer. Spring creek boat ramp is still pretty hard to get in and out of right now and you still need chains or a really long rope at Conant. Wolf to Byington is accessible if you want to float. No reason to drag the drift boat out yet though. There are still really great spot you can access through wade fishing.
The South Fork is beginning to pick up. Right now its mostly all nymphing. Make sure you are getting deep enough and fast enough. This means you need to have split shot and a long leader. The fish are on the bottom of the deep holes and seam lines. If streamers are more your style use a full sinking line and fish the deep dead water. Midges are also hatching on the warmer days, you got to find spots where they are hatching in good numbers. Not every hole will have fish rising.
The majority of the river is accessible for wade fishing. You can drive up the canyon road till you reach the road closed sign, than you gotta hike or ski. There is plenty of great water between Wolf and Road closure to fish.
Zebra Midges, Hare’s Ear’s and Prince Nymphs worked really well last weekend, and we have had many customers report that rubberlegs have been really hot as well.
The South Fork has been fishing really good. We have had several reports from customers having good success. The majority of the fish have been caught on nymphs, Zebra Midges, small bead head Pheasant Tails and Chartreuse Egg patterns. A few people are floating Spring Creek to Conant, and Wolf to Byington. I still recommend wade fishing, however if I were to float it would be one of those two.
Flows on the South Fork are now at the bottom floor for the remainder of the winter at 900 cfs. Techniques and fishing conditions do not really change on the river for the winter time so this is a fishing report for the winter season. However we will update periodically when the conditions require an update, you just will not see regular updates like you do during the other parts of the year. As always feel free to call the shop for questions regarding fishing.
Nymphing will be your best tactic for catching fish. Rubberlegs in a size 8 or 10, Small pheasant tails, zebra midges and lighting bugs are great for droppers below the rubberleg. Midges will hatch and fish will begin to feed on the surface on the warmer days. A full sinking line with a streamer is also a good technique in the slow deep pools on the river. Choosing your day is key for winter fishing. Look for warmer days and fish during the warmest part of the day. As always safety is pretty important during the winter. Always bring an extra pair of clothes and be careful. Small incidents turn into big mistakes and can become serious very quickly during the winter.
Drift boat fishing is not necessary this time of year. The boat ramps are not maintained for snow removal and the river is so low that it takes all day to float a short 3-4 mile stretch. We recommend wade fishing in the winter. The fish tend to congregate in deep holes and don’t hold on the banks like they do in the summer. So feel free to leave the boat at home and focus on finding a good hole and fishing it hard during the prime time of the day.
If you have any questions feel free to call the shop.
The South Fork flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped to 900 cfs this morning. Personally I was not expecting it to go this low. I talked to Mike Beus at the Bureau of Reclamation and he informed me that flows will not change or go below this level for the entire winter. Fishing tactics have not changed and you should expect to see good Blue Wing Olive hatches this weekend with the cloudy weather.
Flows have been reduced to 1,100 cfs. I don’t know if they will be dropped again. We will let you all know if that happens. I personally don’t think it will because the inflow is now great than the outflow and the resevior is begining to slowly fill. Floating is still an option at these flows but it will take you a long time to float traditional stretches you are used to in the summer time. We recommend smaller shorter floats, like Wolf to Byington, Irwin to Spring Creek, Spring Creek to Conant, Dam to Huskies and Lorenzo to Menan. However now that the flows have dropped this much wade fishing is also very accessible throughout the entire river.
Blue Wing Olives and midges have been hatching. The BWO fishing is much better on the cloudy days. Streamers have began to slow down a little but has still been effective. Again the cloudy days will produce more active fish on streamers. Nymphing is always a good option for catching fish right now. The moss is still present on the bottom of the river and nymphing can become frustrating cleaning all the moss off your flies. If you do nymph I would only drop my flies 4 feet from my indicator. Rubberlegs and Zebra midges have been my choice for nymphs. Copper Johns, blue wing olive nymphs and pheasant tails.