South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 35)

South Fork 6-1

The water flows have leveled off at 10,300 cfs. The nymphing and streamer fishing is really good right now. The water temp is still pretty cold but the fish are beginning to move into the riffles and the banks. Right now Rubberlegs and a san juan worm have been killing it. Various other bead heads have been working as well. If you don’t mind nymphing the South Fork is an awesome place to fish right now and avoid crowds. This is a great oppertunity to do an overnighter as well. I have a feeling we will be seeing an early hatch this year for the Salmon flies. So get ready!


South Fork 5-28

The fishing is pretty good on the South Fork right now. It’s all nymphing and streamer fishing. No dry flies yet. Look for fish on the seam lines and in the tailouts of riffles. The water is still pretty cold so a moderately slow retrieve is effective for streamer fishing. Stonefly nymphs, San Juan worms, and pheasant tails have been working well. Go deep on those nymph rigs 7-8 feet should get you on the bottom.

Flows have been dropped down to 11,400 cfs today. We were informed it would hold steady at 13,000 cfs however the demand for irrigation must not be there to warrant the higher flows. Once flows level out we will report it here. As for now if you want to get away from the crowds chasing dry flies on the Henry’s Fork, Rollin says he and a friend were the only boats on the river yesterday.


South Fork 5-22

Just wanted to give you all a heads up on the fishing conditions on the South Fork. Rollin fished yesterday and they caught plenty of fish. He mentioned they caught fish on the riffles and a few on the banks. Egg patterns and San Juan worms were the best flies yesterday. The water clarity is good and the flows are continuing to drop I expect the flows to level out on Friday around 13,000 cfs. If you want to escape the crowds chasing salmon flies on the Henry’s Fork, the South Fork should be a great alternative this weekend.


South Fork 5-21

Flows have begun to decrease on the South Fork. Rollin is fishing it today and will be able to give us a good report tomorrow! Flows are currently at 16,000 cfs and will be dropping this week until they reach a base level around 13,000 cfs. Once this happens the fish will begin to move onto the bank and the riffles. Nymphing is going to be the best option for catching fish right now. Streamers will also be another good option for hooking trout. As things start to warm up in the next few weeks we could see an early Salmon Fly hatch if the reservoir doesn’t fill. We have been told there is sufficient snow in the mountains to fill Palisades, however I am skeptical from what I see in the mountains. If the reservoir does not fill above 60% we will have an early stonefly hatch and the water in August is going to be warm, forcing you to fish early in the morning and late into the evening. Granted this is just a prediction and hopefully (fingers crossed) this will not happen and the lake will fill up.

The flies you need to be fishing the next few days should be San Juan worms, Stonefly nymphs and big bead head nymphs. Weight will be important right now for getting those nymphs to the bottom of the river where the fish are holding. Don’t be afraid to fish split shot and long leaders. In regard to fishing streamers I would still be fishing a slow presentation and making sure I get those streamers as deep as I can with a sink tip line. Switch up fly size and fly color until you find the fish reacting to your streamers.


South Fork 5-14

Flows are going up on the South Fork! As of yesterday the flows were increased and will continue to increase until they reach 18,000 cfs on the 18th of May. Once this is sustained for a couple days the flows will drop to it’s normal summer flows around 13,000 cfs in time for Memorial Day weekend. Apparently we have enough snow pack in the mountains that they feel we can have a flush this year. The reservoir is only 43% full right now but the inflow into the lake is rising very quickly.

We don’t advise floating the river during the flush due to all the trees and debris that will be floating down the river. Time to focus on the Henry’s Fork for a week to 10 days.

Here is the press release from the Bureau of Reclamation:

Snake River Flows Increasing to Benefit Native Fish

BURLEY, Idaho — The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows in the Snake River below Palisades Dam this week to about 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Each day, starting May 13, the flow will increase about 15 percent until the maximum is reached on May 18. After the high flow is sustained for two days, it will be slowly decreased. The flow will return to the 30-year average of about 13,000 cfs during Memorial Day weekend.

“One objective of this operation is to approach 20,000 cfs at the gage near Heise, approximately 48 river miles downstream of Palisades,” said Roland Springer, Assistant Area Manager for Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office. “Providing high flows at the same time that nature would provide them benefits native fish.”

These water releases will not affect Reclamation’s ability to meet its water delivery obligations. American Falls Reservoir will store the water that is passed through Palisades Reservoir to be used farther downstream.

The river will be fast and cold during the high flow period. Please use caution and be aware when recreating near the river.


South Fork 5-7

Just wanted to give you guys a heads up that the flows on the South Fork have been increased to 9,000 cfs. Still the same game of nymphing egg patterns, bead head nymphs and stonefly patterns. Concentrate on the slower water and the riffles. There will not be many fish on the bank until the water temp increases.


South Fork 5-6

The flows were raised the last few days to 8,600 cfs. This has been effecting the fishing a little, but give it 12-18 hours since the last increase in flows and the fish seem to settle down and start eating again. Rollin guided this weekend and they caught a good number of fish on egg patterns and stonefly nymphs. The gauge at the Irwin site reports the water temp is at 40 degrees. So as things warm up the fish will become increasingly more aggressive towards streamers. I would still fish a streamer right now though I would however continue to concentrate on the slow water and deep pools in the water. Ripping a piece of meat off of the bank right now will most likely not prove to be that effective given how cold the water is.

I don’t know when the water is going to stop rising…probably in the fall, right? Seriously though the water flow is going to keep increasing for the next few months and watching the flows can really help improve your catching rate on the river.

Lorenzo boat ramp is still all screwed up and the word from the BLM is the new ramp will not be in order until this fall. Please use common sense when launching and taking out at Lorenzo. It is only big enough for one boat at a time…So use caution.



South Fork 4-30

Flows on the South Fork have leveled off at 6,500 cfs for the last 2 days. We don’t know when flows will be increase but for now things have settled down enough to expect some decent fishing. With the rise in water flows the water temperature has decreased which means nymphing is going to be the best option for hooking fish. The rainbows are also spawning so egg patterns will be effective as well as the standard stonefly nymph and bead head. Don’t forget the San Juan worm that always seems to be a trout favorite in the spring. Fishing streamers will also produce fish however presentations need to be slow and concentrated in the deep pools and slowing moving water.

With the cold spring we have been experiencing the snow pack has not begun to melt at all. This is a good thing because we are now at 100% of our average snow pack for the year. I am still hoping for more rain and snow in the mountains this spring. This will slow down the need for irrigation demand and hopefully allow us to add some more snow in the mountains. This will help us in August with cold water and hopefully more PMD hatches. All in all the season is shaping up to be good with great water conditions. I have been told we will be having a flush on the river. Similar to past years I expect that to be during Memorial Day weekend, however I have not heard an official word from the Bureau of Reclamation to confirm my assumption. We will update this report with any information we hear as soon as we know.


South Fork 4-25

Flows have been increased on the South Fork as of yesterday. The equipment at the Dam is malfunctioning so I don’t have a reading for the actual flows from the Dam. However I have been watching the flows at Heise. and the river flows down there have increase about 1,000 cfs. We will not know the Dam flow until the equipment is fixed, but I will get you all updated as soon as I find out. Wait a few days after the flows have been increased and the fishing will pick back up.


South Fork

Most of us have been complaining about the terrible weather our region has been experiencing lately.  That weather includes rain and snow, all blown around by cold, strong winds.   But this cloud has a great silver lining in that snow pack in the Snake River drainage is now over 100% of normal.   Here’s why we discuss this good news in the fishing report.  If you are planning a visit from outside the immediate area to fish the South Fork, 100% of normal pack this late in the snow season greatly increases the chance that the river will have flows adequate through the summer to keep water cool  for good fishing.   Of course, this must be combined with a temperate springtime that keeps water in the reservoir system longer.  It is our practice to  keep on top of  flows in the river and report them here when significant changes occur.  But adding good snow pack news this time of year gives you even more information for making plans.