South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 48)

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.


South Fork 6/17

Things have changed once again on the South Fork as far as flows are concerned. Due to the higher than expected amount of runoff the BLM has decided to increase the flows coming out the Dam to keep a larger buffer in the reservoir to catch water. The run off has come down faster than they expected this week. I am actually happy to see them do this because it would really suck to have water at 15,000 cfs in the middle of July with hatches and good fishing than have the river bumped over 20,000 cfs cause the lake is full and they need to match outflow with in flow.

The upper river is actually fishing with Rubberlegs and San Juan Worms. Look for fish in the usual places like gravel bars, slow banks, and banks with structure. As the water temps warm up the fish will also move into the holes below the gravel bars and the nymphing will really get good. Don’t let the color of the water discourage you from fishing the South Fork. These fish have to eat. Larger brighter flies will help when it come to catching fish in these water conditions. Try a white zonker below a strike indicator, glo bugs and rubberlegs will be the ticket as well.

South Fork 6/14

Flows have leveled out a 15,000 cfs. We have now been told that the flows will stay at this level so they can fill the reservoir. Expect 1,000-2,000 cfs higher than normal flows for the summer time. This means instead of flows around 12-14,000 cfs in July they will be 14-16,000 cfs. As far as water clarity goes the water will be somewhat dirty for awhile because dirty water is dumping into the reservoir, you also have the tributaries dumping in muddy water as well. I suspect the water clarity will be fishable by the time Stoneflies start hatching.

Fishing right now will be mostly nymphs and streamers. Big rubberlegs and bead head nymphs. Big streamers stripped from the bank will produce fish on the right days.


South Fork 6/11

Flows have been reduced to 15,000cfs but don’t let this drop fool you. Flows will go back up, this drop is to give flood relief to Shelley and Blackfoot while the Henry’s Fork is flowing high. I don’t know when the flows will go back up on the South Fork but I would expect it to happen any time. If you are going to fish concentrate on the upper sections and we don’t not recommend fishing below Byington at this time.


South Fork 6/8

There are many opinions right now about water flows on the South Fork. I called the Bureau of Reclamation to find out the real story. Flows on the South Fork will be dropped a few thousand CFS but you will not see flows below 19,000 cfs until after the runoff. Flows are being decreased to give a little relief to the flooding in Blackfoot and Shelley. Due to the forecast of rain, the demand for irrigation water is not high and that keeps water in the river systems. Flows on the South Fork will most likely increase once this push of runoff water from the Henry’s Fork comes through.

I asked about projections for July. No one can predict the weather but the Bureau of Reclamation was fairly confident that the river would be fishable with higher than normal flows around July 1st . They are now talking about the fact that Palisades Reservoir is still empty and they need to make plans to fill it. Higher than normal flows consist of flows between 15,000 to 18,000 cfs for July. As long as those flows stay consistent the river will be fishing well. So far this is good news we have lost some fishing in June but honestly we haven’t had good fishing in June for the last 3 seasons. We will have awesome fishing in July and August and into the fall season. Cold water is always good for insect hatches and fish.

Fishing right now is not recommended flows are extremely high and the water is muddy.


South Fork 5/23

Flows on the South Fork have been raised to 21,000 cfs out of the Dam. The river at Lorenzo looks like chocolate milk. Not much going on here to report. We don’t really suggest floating the river.