South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 47)

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.


South Fork 6/27

We have some news for the South Fork. First off the clarity is starting to clear up and you have about 2 feet of visibility, until you get down to Fall Creek Falls. The visibility goes downhill from there. The good news is we feel like the peak of the runoff has happened and things should start shaping up and clarity will improve greatly. Insects have starting hatching on the lower river. We have pretty good reports of fish being caught through the canyon on nymphing rigs. Rubberlegs and San Juan Worms have been producing fish. So despite the water clarity being less than desirable the fish are still eating and we catch them. I prefer to fish a larger and brighter fly when the water is off color. The large silhouette of the fly in dirty water makes it stand out to the fish.

The lower river is floatable but it is dangerous. Jimmy floated it this past weekend and he can help you if you have specific questions. The river has completely changed and channels that used to be floatable are no longer. As always we have encouraged people to get out of the boat and walk channels before floating them. I can’t emphasize how important this is right now on the lower river. I would also bring some type of saw with you. If you want to float this section please feel free to call us for any questions.

South Fork 6/23

I was driving through Hoback and Swan Valley last night so I got to put an eyeball on the river. The Snake river above the reservoir is muddy. The lake is starting to settle out and there is about 2-3 feet of visibility at the Dam. The South Fork looks somewhat clear coming out of the Dam with possibly a 12-18 inches of visibility, until Palisades Creek. At the Spring Creek Bridge the water is off color but you could fish with a large stonefly nymph, bright streamers and glo bugs. It appears that the runoff in starting to back off and the water from the tributaries should be clearing off in the next week or two. Once the tributaries clear up the river will become a aqua green color it will have a few feet of visibility and will start fishing really well. Dirty water will actually produce more fish on the fly with the water this color. Very similar to an overcast day, the fish will feel more protected which means they will eat more aggressively.

If I was going fishing today on the South Fork I would set up a nymph rod with a big bright streamer/leech type of pattern and a rubberleg as a dropper. I would also have a streamer rod set up with a sink tip and a big meaty fly. I would fish the upper section, Dam to Spring Creek.

South Fork 6-21-11

The flow has dropped to 15,100 cfs which means many of the islands won’t be flooded. Generally flows of 16,ooo or higher cover most of the islands. The  best patterns to use in these  conditions are #4 Bennetts Rubber legs with a San Juan or glo bug dropper.