South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 42)

south fork 4-27-10

We screwed up and the road to Cottonwood is not open. It will not open until the Palisades Ranger District, which actually manages the road to Cottonwood, officially opens it for summer travel. This date varies from year to year depending on snow, weather and road condition. When the road does open the Palisades District will announce it through the media and their web site. If you have any questions you can contact them at 523-1412.

We apologize for publishing incorrect information and now have a thorough understanding of how the road is managed and by whom. When the road does open we will post it on the fishing report.

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South Fork 4/23

Flows are at 2100 cfs. This is not really effecting the fishing on the river right now. The water temp is still around 38 degrees which is keeping the trout from getting very active. There is runoff water coming into the system from Rainy Creek and Fall Creek and the other tributaries. The water clarity is off color but the fish are still eating. Blue Wing Olives are hatching on the lower river and fish are up on them. Nymphing is still the best option for hooking fish on the upper South Fork. For up to the minute reports call us at the shop.

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South Fork 4-20-10

We screwed up and the road to Cottonwood is not open. It will not open until the Palisades Ranger District, which actually manages the road to Cottonwood, officially opens it for summer travel. This date varies from year to year depending on snow, weather and road condition. When the road does open the Palisades District will announce it through the media and their web site. If you have any questions you can contact them at 523-1412.

We apologize for publishing incorrect information and now have a thorough understanding of how the road is managed and by whom. When the road does open we will post it on the fishing report.

We have  much news for the South Fork.  First, the USBLM opened the road to Cottonwood and Burns Creek on April 15th. All boat launch sites are open.  Flow out of Palisades Dam is up to 1450 cfs  (2060 cfs at Heise) making float fishing safer,  but walk-in wade fishing remains a great alternative.  As water moves down the river at these still low flows ( no significant runoff yet) it warms considerably.  The result is that BWOs are emerging on the lower river, so add their life cycle patterns to your fly box when targeting that part of the river, particularly in the afternoon.  Use the info Tim posted in the 4-14-10 South Fork fishing report for best success chances.   Keep those streamers and rubber legs in that fly box, too.   For the upper river and its colder water (canyon and upstream to the dam), those rubberlegs and streamers should be in your fly box, and add red or white zebra midges in smaller sizes.

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South Fork 4-14

We have received a solid conformation that Blue Wing Olives have been hatching on the South Fork from Wolf Boat ramp down to Menan. Lorenzo to Menan has had fairly high numbers of BWO’s hatching. Look for them in the foam, and the back eddy’s. Fish a size 18-20 and I would suggest fishing it behind a size 16 Parachute Adams.

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South Fork

We have had some customers asking about flows. Typically during this time of year we see and major change in the South Fork flows out of the dam. I talked to the Bureau of Reclamation this morning and was informed that flows on the South Fork will increase as soon as they decide to turn on the Great Feeder Canal. Due to the cold wet spring we have been having runoff is very slow and most of the moisture is remaining in the mountains. Everyone (anglers and farmers) is hoping for a delayed irrigation season due to the lack of snow we received. I was also informed me to expect flows around 2000 to 4000 cfs by the end of April. So all of this moisture and snow and cruddy weather that we have been receiving that is kinda getting annoying is actually really good for us as far as delaying the irrigation demand and keeping water in our system. This will translate to better dry fly fishing in August.

When flows increase on the river fishing will be put off for a day or two but will resume as soon as things get a little settled out. Fishing on the Upper section of the South Fork will be your best option if you are fishing on a day they increase the flows. When the water increases no dry flies will be hatching. nymphing and some streamer fishing will be the name of the game. We will keep you posted as things change.

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South Fork 4-9

Fishing on the South Fork remains steady as far as catching goes. Not much has changed here but we feel the need to update the report. Mostly because people are getting out and fishing on the weekends and we want to provide you with as much info as we can.

Nymphing is your best tactic for catching fish. Rubberlegs with Zebra Midges, small bead head nymphs, San Juan worms and trout beads as a dropper. Midges have been hatching moderately, fish can be found rising to them in the afternoon hours. Streamer fishing is tough going because the water is really cold. If you see the water temp get above 40 degrees swing streamers through big holes and strip them really really slow.

If you don’t like catching whitefish and you find yourself in a whitefish hole, just move. The trout and whitefish are not mixed this time of year and the trout are not as active as the whitties. I have been hearing a lot of customers tell me that people are killing whitties by throwing them up on the bank. Jimmy’s All Seasons Anlger does not encourage this type of behavior! Whitefish have just as much right to be in the river as Cutthroat because they are native fish. Whitties are not competitive with trout, they just happen to eat the same food and are actually considered a part of the trout family.  You will be ticketed and fined if you are caught by Fish and Game doing this. I can’t imagine any of our customers would think of doing this but we have had enough coustomers come in and talk about it I felt I needed to talk about it.

Short floats are you best option, when drifting. Dam to Huskies, Irwin to Conant(this is a long day), and Wolf to Byington, are the best floats for a day of  fishing. Wading fishing is the most effective way to find fish this time of year. The river is still low and you can access most of the river by foot.

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South Fork 3/29

Fishing on the South Fork has really picked up. Many people are having really good success on nymphs and dry flies. With the majority of our days reaching into the 40’s the fish are getting fairly active for a few hours during the day. The streamer activity is starting to pick up as well. Swinging streamers through big deep holes is your best option for hooking into trout. Flows are still really low and we only recommend floating 3-4 miles, that will take you a full day if you stop and fish. Wolf to Byington, Palisades Dam to Huskies, and Irwin to Conant are your best options for floating. With the river this low it is really easy to get out and wade fish the whole river is open. Call the shop for any questions.

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South Fork 3-22

The South Fork is fishing well. Flows are really low and floating long floats is not recommended. Floats that you would want to do is Dam to Huskies, Wolf to Byington, and Lorenzo to Menan. These stretches are very floatable for a day trip. Floats much over 5 miles is not recommended because it takes so long to with the low flows.

Fishing is basically nymphing with rubberlegs, bead head nymphs, Zebra Midges, Glo bugs, San Juan worms, and Trout Beads. If you get into a whitefish hole just move and find another deep slow moving hole with trout holding deep. Also later in the day you will find whitefish and Trout sipping midges on the surface. No Blue Wing Olives yet, I would expect them later in April. Call the shop if you have any more questions.

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South Fork 3-9

Flows on the South Fork have dropped again to 1000 cfs at the Dam. With the decreased snow fall in the mountains this year the Bureau of Reclamation is trying to store as much water as they can. This will not directly effect the fishing this time of year. However remember that floating the river takes more time with the decreased flows. If you are going to float we recommend short 3 mile floats, these will take you the majority of the day. However we suggest you wade fish.

Dead drift nymphs 7-8 feet below an indicator. Use a #6 or #8  Rubber leg stonefly nymph, bead head nymphs size 16-18, also Glo bugs and San Juan worms. There has also been success with Super-X’s dead drifted below a indicator and being swung through deep pools. Midges are still hatching but are very inconsistent, look for fish eating them in the foam lines.

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South Fork 3-5

We have many customers calling and coming to talk to us about fishing on the South Fork today. While fishing on the South Fork is good right now, floating the river is not your best option. Right now the flows are lower than they have been all winter. Flows out of the Dam are around 1200 cfs. This means that a 3 mile float is going to take you all day to float. Snow removal is not maintained on the boat ramps during the winter. All of the Swan Valley boat ramps are snowed in and not accessible with a truck and trailer. The only boat ramps that are open on the river is Wolf and Byington. Byington however is iced over and requires chains, and 4×4 drive to get your truck out of the ramp.

With the flows being this low walk in access is very good. We suggest Heise Bridge, Wolf Flats, Kelley Island, Spring Creek Bridge, and Fall Creek. Access to the Canyon road is closed above Wolf Flats but the fishing is accesable along this road up to that point. From the road closure you can walk in but no vehicles are allowed to protect wintering wildlife. Catching fish has been productive with Rubberleg Nymphs , Beadhead nymphs and midges on top. There has been some productivity on Streamers but you must present them extremely slow because the fish are not that active. Concentrate your fishing during the warmest part of the day and you should find some success during this spell of warm weather. For any more information or questions call us here at the shop.

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