South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 38)

South Fork 10/5

The flows were reduced to 4,200 cfs yesterday. I assume that we will see a more aggressive approach to lowering the water to our winter flows within the next 2 weeks. The lake is low and irrigation demand is low as well, so there is no need for water to be in the system. We have not been informed of how low the river will go for the majority of the winter, but my guess is between 800 and 1,200 cfs.

Fishing is still moderate. Lots of moss still in the river and cleaning your flies is a must if you want to catch any fish. I suggest fishing bead head nymphs below a Hopper or a Chernobyl Ant. Zebra Midges in Red and Black size #16 & #18. Pheasant Tails, and BWO nymphs like the Bubble back Emerger BWO have proven effective as well. You will still get a few eats on the big dry so try not to be so suprised when it happens. I prefer the nymphs below the dry because you don’t seem to catch as much moss on your flies, versus fishing deep with an indicator. Streamer fishing has really picked up and I suggest fishing a sinking tip line or a sinking leader.


South Fork 10-04-12

The flow dropped again this afternoon to 4,200 cfs from 5,087. Generally it takes a day for the fish to adjust so we usually wait a day to go fishing. Then there was a day a couple of years ago in October when we were on the the river when it dropped and we still did well so you never know.

A little overcast and rain would be nice to help the hatches out but that is not in the immediate forecast. In the meantime still fish mahogany duns and small parachutes in the riffles even if you don’t see any hatches or fish rising. I like to keep fishing chernobyls until the fall weather cools and the fish quite taking them. Streamers have been the best early in the morning and again when the shadows fall in the late afternoon till dark.



South Fork 10/2

Just want to give you all a heads up the flows dropped last night to 5,100 cfs. Check yesterdays report for fishing conditions. If we actually get the cold weather that has been forcasted this week we should see changes in the river conditions in terms of moss leaving the bottom of the river and clearing up.


South Fork 10/1

The river has stayed steady at 5,500 cfs. This water conditions are very nice. The water is a little off color by the dam and through Swan Valley, but becomes crystal clear through the Canyon. The biggest issue with the water right now is the moss that has been dumped into the river from the reservoir. Fishing this weekend was good on a Chernobyl and and a bead head dropper. the fish have been keying in on red and black Zebra Midges. The BWO Redemption nymph and a red copper john have also been effective. Dropping a bead head about 3 feet below the hopper or Chernobyl and has helped with moss control. The streamer fishing has been decent with lots of chasing fish and a few players who are eating. I would personally consider the streamer fishing on the lower river really good right now. If you have questions call the shop. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.


South Fork 9/26

Fishing has stayed pretty steady on the River. Streamer fishing is really starting to pick up especially on the lower river. There is a lot of moss in the river right from the reservoir and the lake so make sure to check your flies often and keep them clean. Hoppers and Chenobyls ants with droppers have been producing fish. Takes on the big dry flies are few and far between but it beats staring at an indicator. Also running a dropper off of the dry fly seems to produce less moss on your nymphs. Mahogany’s and Blue Wing Olive patterns presented into the bank have also been effective.

I took out at Lorenzo the other day and it was a nightmare. Remember that this is a 1 boat ramp right now. Please check out the boat ramp up stream before you decide to land and make sure you have a spot. I saw a boat completely miss the ramp because they were not paying attention and had no place to go. The river is still screaming by the ramp and that current makes it very difficult to launch and take out. Unless you want to really risk swamping your boat and potentially loosing it down the river DO NOT back your trailer tires all the way into the river when taking out. Back up to your boat and drag it onto the trailer. I didn’t even get my tires wet and the strong current still pulled my boat around while trying to trailer the boat.


South Fork 9-18-12

Some cloudy weather sure would help increase the BWO emergence. It looks like the beginning of next week may bring some. The river has stabilized with respect to flow changes. The last drop was back on September 14th, and responses from fish are back to normal.  However, the reservoir is less than twenty per cent of capacity, and storage for next year’s irrigation season must begin.  So more decreases in flow out of Palisades Dam must be expected in the coming weeks.  As we learn of these flow changes, we will post them here and advise how such should impact your South Fork fishing strategy.


South Fork 9-14-12

The lower flows and dropping water temperatures have improved the fishing from what we experienced last weekend. The riffles have started to fish much better with better hatches of mahogany duns and blue wing olives. We had good success fishing the riffles even when there was no hatch with a two dry fly combo like #14  and #16 adams parachute trailed by a smaller blue wing or mahogany dry.

The flow is now down to 6710 cfs and with each drop the river becomes more accessible for  wading. As we get more information on Fall water levels we’ll pass it along.


South Fork 9-11-12

Just a few hours ago flow out of Palisades Dam was reduced to 7240 cfs.  At the Heise gauge it is about 9700 cfs.  This makes for easier wading, and just might be the ticket for improving riffle fishing when BWOs and mahogany duns peak.   Also we might see more mutant golden stones emerge. Wait a day or two for things to stabilize in the river and fishing will pick up.


South Fork 9-7-12

The flow has dropped to 9000 cfs from 9600 earlier in the week. We will continue to see these drops throughout the Fall. We are starting to see good hatches of Mahogany duns and some blue wings and the cooler nighttime temperatures we are experiencing now will make these hatches better. The cooler nights are actually making the water cooler downriver at Lorenzo where the water is 59.5 F versus the temp below Palisades Dam which is 62.4F.  Some years we have seen better hatches downstream due to the cooler water temps.

Fishing with Chernobyls should improve also with each water drop. Early Fall is also the time to start using streamers more.

Finally we received info from Idaho Dept of Fish and Game on the whitefish mortality. We’ve included their press release below.



September 4, 2012




IDAHO FALLS – Recent sightings of dead mountain whitefish have been reported from across the Upper Snake Region, including the Henrys Fork, South Fork Snake River, Teton River and main Snake River as far south as Firth.  Exactly why these fish are dying has been a mystery until now.  Preliminary results obtained by IDFG’s Fish Health Laboratory in Eagle show that the parasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae (also called PKD or Proliferative Kidney Disease) may be behind the deaths.  This rare parasite has not been documented in Idaho’s wild fish before, although it has been reported in both wild and hatchery trout and salmon in North America and in Europe.  This may be the first time the parasite has been detected in any whitefish species.  The life cycle of the parasite is not well understood, but involves a freshwater sponge as well as a fish.  Transmission and disease signs are linked to elevated water temperatures, which have been common in area waters this summer.  There are no known health risks to humans or other warm-blooded animals.


Although a likely cause of fish mortalities has been identified, new questions are arising as a result of this information.  For instance, IDFG does not know the level of impact the current outbreak may have on mountain whitefish populations, or if the parasite will also affect other species, such as trout.  Currently it appears only mountain whitefish have been affected.  Also unknown is why only younger whitefish have been affected, if the kill occurs periodically, or if this is the first time an outbreak has occurred.  Scientific literature indicates fish that survive an initial infection develop strong immunity to the parasite.  Additional samples will be collected and analyzed to verify the preliminary test results, and to look for the presence of this parasite in trout.  Structured sampling this fall will provide an insight into how extensive the kill has been on the South Fork Snake River.


For more information concerning this matter contact Upper Snake Regional Fisheries Manager Dan Garren at 208-525-7290 or at dan.g[email protected].




South Fork 9-4-12

Young whitefish dying here remains a mystery so far.  Now the same is being reported for the main stem Snake River (below the “South Fork” -Henry’s Fork confluence) and the Teton River. Flow out of Palisades Dam is dropping slowly.  Today its down to 10200 cfs meaning little impact on fishing.  So keep on pitching hopper and chernobyl-like patterns toward banks and stream-side cover.   The storage season is upon us with agricultural needs dropping, so it’s a matter of time for flows to drop significantly.  The next big mayfly emergence will be BWOs and mahogany duns in a matter of weeks.  Likely by then flows will be at a level better for fishing.