Flows on the South Fork keep going up…Kinda like gas prices huh?
The latest flow reports the South Fork at 16,200 cfs at Irwin. There is no water being diverted at the Great Feeder Canal which means about 16,900 cfs is being pushed through the lower river right now. Typically in the summer time the great feeder canal is pulling close to half of the flows from the river, but right now the great feeder canal is closed. This means that there is about 2 times as much water flowing to Lorenzo than we are typically used to seeing. Next too all the down trees and brush piles in the river the passage under the North Bridge of Twin Bridges is very dangerous. We recommend not floating this section.
If you want to fish the South Fork, there are good floats through the canyon and the upper section. The most effective fishing is done with nymphs under indicators. The water is still pretty cold and the fish are not moving to streamers unless it is presented really, really slow. Rubberlegs, glo bugs, san juan worms, and an assortments of beadhead nymphs have been working well.
Flows continue to increase on the South Fork. Flows have been increased to 13,000 cfs as of this morning. This is not the spring flush, the high water is because we need to make room for all the snow that continues to accumulate in the mountains. From the water report that we received last week from the Bureau of Reclamation there is enough snow in to drain the entire Snake river system and fill it back up again and still have more water than is needed. That basically means we have lots of water this year, which is a good thing for fishing this summer. Unfortunately it is not a good thing if you are wanting to go fishing in the next few weeks. As flows increase so will the amount of debris in the water and the color will continue to be muddy. If the flows settle for a day or two the river will settle down and you could catch fish.We will continue to updated on the flows as we receive information.
With these high flows nymphing is the best approach for catching fish. Look for them in slow moving water. Check the past reports for nymphs that have been effective.
Flows on the South Fork got bumped to 11,400 cfs. Unfortunately we don’t have any specific information on when or how much the flows will increase. This is something that we should expect to see over the next few months because of the large amount of snow in the mountains and the decent carryover from last year. This is not runoff water being moved, these flows are increased to make room for runoff whenever that will happen. With the increase of flows it will discolor the river for about 1 to 2 days and the water should be back to its normal clarity and fishing will pick up. We will keep you updated on the flows and as they change.
I hear different stories about the fishing on the South Fork. Some guys are doing really well and others are getting skunked. After hearing different fishing reports from reputable sources I have come to the conclusion the fishing depends still on choosing the right day and finding the fish. These fish are not spread out along the bank yet. They are still holding in very slow water and will eat flies when presented correctly. Streamers have been working but they also must be presented extremely slow. Not much has changed for flies to throw at the fish. Nymphing is the name of the game. The midge action is still an option but you will have more success fishing under an indicator. I would be fishing at least 8 feet to my first fly below the indicator. Once again look for slow water on the inside banks.
Flows on the river reached 10,00cfs today. If it holds steady and we have been told it will the river should clear in day or two. The rubberleg fishing and streamer fishing will begin to pickup. Look for the fish to be holding in slow moving water and on the inside banks. When presenting streamers fish them really really really slow. The water is still cold and the fish don’t move to aggressively when the water temp is below 40 degrees. Beadhead nymphs and glo bugs will also produce fish.
Now that the water is up, side channels will be have water in them. Be sure to check out side channels before floating them. We will keep you updated on information as soon as we hear about it. This includes water flows and access in and out of the river. If you have questions call the shop of stop by.
We have some important news to share with you about the South Fork. Flows will be increased to 10,00 cfs for the next week. These flows will remain steady until they decide to dump more water. I do not expect to see flows drop again until next fall, this is why:
So what does this mean for fishing? They’re 2 things that we should consider. First, wait for the water flows level out, the fishing will pick back up. Second, is the water is still cold (38 degrees) So the fish are not going to move out of the original holding water they have been in all winter. However, there is 5 times the amount of water in the system, so basically the barrel just got bigger. So you need to think about how to target the fish. Continue to look for fish in slow moving water, eddy’s and flats. Plan on fishing deeper and that is most likely your best bet for reaching the fish. With the cold water temps the fish will not move a great deal to eat your fly, you will need to get your fly to the fish. This is what I suggest: Strike Indicator to your 1st fly should at least be 10′ than drop your 2nd fly 24″ from there. I would fish heavy flies, like tungsten bead heads, and weighted stonefly nymphs. Streamers will pick up when the water warms a little. If you have any questions call the shop or stop by the shop.
Just a quick update on floating the river. Huskies boat ramp to Conant on the upper river in Swan Valley, and Wolf to Byington is open for floating. These floats will take you the majority of the day because the water levels are still at 2200cfs. I still suggest wade fishing this time of year giving you the ability to move to many different parts of the river and not deal with a shuttle and a boat. If you do decide to take the boat Julies Shuttle service will run your rig. Nymphing is the name of the game. Very little midge action right now, and no Blue Wing Olive action yet. Glo bugs have been working as well.
Lots of people have been getting out when the weather has been warming up. Nymphing seems to be the most effective way to catch fish. Lots of whitefish have been caught and seem to keep everyone entertained. I was told by a customer yesterday that he had a whitefish jump like a Rainbow trout….That had to be exciting! The trout are there as well you just need to find them. Think outside the box and look for them in water that is shallow and slow, or try really deep holes and make sure you get to the bottom. Remember the water is crystal clear right now so the can see you. Try being stealthy. Midges are hatching every once in awhile. They seem to hatch better on days when its warm and there is cloud cover. As always you can call the shop or stop by for a updated fishing report. Its supposed to be nice this weekend, if you experiencing some Cabin Fever this could be a good time to get out.
The weather has been warm for the past few days and the fishing has picked up considerably on the river. Mostly nymph fishing, but some dry fly action with midges. There is not really any opportunity to float the river right now due to the boat ramps being snowed in. However with the flows holding at 2200 cfs there are lots of access points for wade fishing.
Just wanted to give you all an update of the flow situation for the South Fork. Flows have been increased to 1900 cfs. to make room in the reservoir. Midges have been hatching on the warmer days. Still not a lot of options for floating at this point. Call or stop by the shop for advice and up to the minute info.