South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 45)

South Fork 7/25

In our efforts to continue to keep you updated on the water flows and fishing conditions for the South Fork. Inflows are dropping very fast and the flows from Palisades Dam has been dropping as well, this morning the flows were at 17,400 cfs. We expect to have these flows to continue to drop this entire week.

Dry Fly fishing is beginning to pick up in the riffles. I heard very good reports of fish eating mayflies this weekend. The riffle fishing will only get better and better as the water drops and those gravel bars get exposed. There are very good hatches of Yellow Sallies and Golden Stones on the water as well. Nymphing is still the best fishing technique for catching fish, however this should change soon as the dry fly fishing continues to improve.


South Fork 07-23-11

The inflow into Palisades is dropping fast and the Bureau of Reclamation has reduced the outflow from Palisades to 20,400. There will be another drop today of 1000 cfs. If we continue to see the inflow drop 1000 to 1500 cfs a day it is probable the Bureau will drop flows in the South fork and we will have very fishable flows week.

If you fish in the next couple of days I would continue to use nymphs below the drops. With each decrease in the flow there will be more holding water and the riffles will start to appear. I would also would not rule out trying a dry later in the day. The hatches have been steady through this high water so with the river coming into shape we should have the good fishing we have waiting for.


South Fork 7-19-11

The flow below Palisades Dam was reduced to 20,400 cfs from  24,000 over the weekend. The inflow into Palisades is also dropping fast. We floated the canyon yesterday and caught fish on nymphs and san juan worms. There were a lot of yellow sallies and some golden stoneflies in the air. We saw pale morning duns in good numbers too but we saw very little surface action. The water clarity has improved and really isn’t bad at all. With the amount of bugs we saw I expected to see some fish next to shore in the slower current. (We did try dries along several of the better looking banks but had no takers.)We have caught fish on dries with this color of water so my guess is that we need to see the water drop into that 16,000 cfs range.


South Fork 7-14-2011

Inflow to Palisades Reservoir is dropping with a few delays from rain storms, but at around 26000 cfs today is higher than today’s outflow of  23500 cfs.  It will be a while before we have the fishing that puts the South Fork on the map.   For now if you must try this great river, remember that fish don’t need to spend energy coming to the surface; there is plenty of food drifting subsurface. So rubberlegs, streamers, wooly bugger types, SJ worms (tough to disguise, isn’t it!) in singles and clusters, all fished deep will get some action. Isn’t what we are use to this time of the season, but better days are ahead.  We’ll keep you posted on when they arrive.


South Fork 7/11

Some hopeful news for the South Fork. Flow dropped today from 23,800 to 22,500 cfs. Inflows to the reservoir seem to be dropping quickly so hopefully the flows on the South Fork quickly will drop as well.


South Fork 7/7

Flows have been increased to 23,000 cfs. They are trying to increase the buffer of the lake filling so we don’t have 30,000 cfs plus in the next week. We don’t recommend fishing until the flows decrease.


South Fork 7/6

Flows have been increased to 19,000 cfs. We are not recommending people to fish the river, we are strongly recommending people staying off the lower river. If you must fish refer to my earlier report for fly suggestions.


South Fork 7/5

Flows on the South Fork have been bumped up to 17,00cfs out of Irwin. Flows into the reservoir have been fluctuating up and down with the warm weather. Its going to be about 6 days before the reservoir is full, so I talked to the Bureau of Reclamation today and they told me that the Flows out of Palisades will be increased to 19,000 cfs. Will the flows be increased more? Who knows, I hope not, but most likely it will happen. I wish I could give you better news for the flows on the river but I don’t have any to share.

Fishing on the river is all nymphing. I have had reports of Salmon Flies, golden stones and Yellow Sallies on the lower section of the South Fork. However these reports have not had any luck catching fish on the dry fly. Nymphing is producing the most amount of fish on the fly. With the water being increased you will want to fish deeper with your nymphing rig. I would have at least 10 feet between the indicator and your first fly. Also be sure to fish with some weight so you can get those flies down to the bottom quickly.

South Fork 7/1

I wanted to add to Jimmy’s report from yesterday. The Outfitter that I guide for had 5 boats on the South Fork yesterday. They had boats through both sections of the canyon and the upper stretch. There is a hatch of Yellow Sallies beginning to hatch on the river. One of the boats fished dry flies all day yesterday and caught 2 fish. The other boats fished nymphs and caught many more fish. Whitefish and trout have been the mix on the nymphs.

So here is the deal. Despite the color of the water the South Fork is actually pretty fishable right now, despite the less than marginal conditions the water is in. I have been told the streamer fishing is pretty good right now, hit it in the mornings and evenings. Nymphing is a different game right now. Typically we would be throwing size 4 or 6 rubberlegs with a #14 or 16 beadhead dropper. With the dirty water I would fish a Orange Rubbeleg size 4, with a #12 Pheasant tail or a #10 prince nymph. Copper Johns and San Juan worms are working as well. However the key is to fish the larger fly in the dirty water.

As Jimmy mentioned things are really unpredictable right now. We all want the inflows to decrease but we have a few days of super warm weather headed our way. Once that is over we should have a better indication of what will happen with the flows. Keep you fingers crossed, hope, pray or whatever that the inflows into Palisades will begin to decrease. As Jimmy mentioned we will keep you updated as things change. Questions, please feel free to call the shop.


South Fork 6-30-11

South Fork (what we would like it to be)

The flow is steady at 12,000 cfs and clear. The big stones are out around Twin Bridges in good numbers. Heavy hatches of yellow sallies, golden stones and pale morning duns are in the riffles. Some green drakes in the late afternoon. If you want to get a head start on the crowds consider launching before daylight and fish streamers against the bank until the sun comes over the canyon rim.

South Fork (what it really is)

The flow is 15,000 cfs and very off color. There are good hatches of yellow sallies and some golden stones but the fish are not looking up and probably won’t until the water clears some. We have been fishing san juan worms, bennetts rubber legs with a small nymph dropper with fair success on trout and good success on whitefish.  On the lower river below Heise the flow is 9,000 cfs and there are more places to get out and fish.

There is 32,000 cfs running in to Palisades Reservoir and at this rate the reservoir will fill around July 11th. We are hoping that the inflow will drop  so that inflow will match outflow by the 11th. Please hope with us. Meanwhile we’ll continue to monitor the flows and pass along any additional information we get.