South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 58)

South Fork 7-16-09

Flow out of Palisades Dam has been steady at 12700 cfs for two days now.  This is very close to historic flows for this time of year.  And the river is clearing noticeably.  The golden stoneflies are numerous from the canyon into Swan Valley, and PMDs are emerging up and down the river.   The upper river provides the best fishing now.   With gravel bars emerging and riffles stabilizing look for a great season for fishing PMDs and later  mayflies all summer.  Come in or contact us about the best strategy and flies as the South Fork returns to it famous reputation for summer fishing.


South Fork 07-15-09

The river continues to fish well from Palisades down through canyon. Folks are still catching fish above Spring Creek on the big stones but the most consistent fishing has been with golden stones and the smaller yellow sallies. The flow has dropped a little more and is down to 12,700 cfs.

One note of caution about the upper river at the Fall Creek falls. On the left bank below the falls there is a log that comes out into the river and this week two boats hit the log and sunk. You can easily avoid this tree by staying on river right.

The lower river from Heise down has been fishing much slower than above. I don’t know the explanation for this but the flow has dropped another 2000 cfs since last weekend so we look for things to improve on the lower river.


South Fork 7-13-09

Big bugs are up as high as Irwin, and with flow out of Palisades down to 13000 cfs the river in Swan Valley is in great shape for fishing.  Bring your favorite dry giant and golden stonefly patterns!  The river is slightly discolored but this does not impact fishing.   Give a bit more time, and it will clear.  PMDs are out along the upper river, and with flows dropping more gravel bars are becoming available.  Big news for the lower river is that it is very tough to take out from the Twin Bridges site because the south channel is small and difficult to see as well as shallow enough to require pulling a drift boat through.  The river has formed a berm near the top of that channel.  But enough water comes up below this berm to allow launching from the Twin Bridges.  On the lower river try such such as rubberlegs and super-x’s.  The best action here can be had in and around springs that enter the river. Try midge pupa under an indicator or PMD life cycle patterns.

A rod inside a rod case has been found on the South Fork.  To identify & claim it, call 589-0385


South Fork 7-11-09

The flow is down another 1000 to 14,600cfs and the water is clearing nicely. About every type of summer bug is out including the big stones, golden stones, yellow sallies, Pale morning duns, and caddis. There are also a good number of Clackacrafts, Hydes, Alumiwelds and other assorted crafts floated down the river along with the bugs. Its a little cozy up there but the good fishing makes up for the crowds.

The big stones are in Swan Valley but I would still use them through the canyon for a week or more. We get asked where the big stones are countless times a day but I think most fish are caught on the smaller stones and sallies.

The good thing about a high and cool water year like we have is that the hatches will be consistent all summer. No slow down in late July and through August because of warm water temps.

We have been fishing Super-X’s and rubber leg nymphs in the mornings and evenings.


South Fork 7-10-09

Flow out of Palisades Dam continues to decrease. It was stepped down to 15600 cfs this AM, and it looks like further decreases may be in the works.  Although the river remains a bit colored, fish are responding quite well.  The big stonefly event is in the canyon, so the best way to encounter it is to float from Conant Valley downstream.  Try big nymphs as well as dry patterns, and remember presentation is more important than having a particular dry or wet pattern.  Yellow sally patterns continue to produce good responses from trout up & down the river.   PMD’s are now coming out big time.  With the river still higher than normal the best strategy for fishing PMDs is try life cycle patterns close to banks and at the shallower areas such as below islands or over visible gravel bars.


South Fork 7-8-09

The flow out of the Palisades has dropped to 16,000cfs which is what we were hoping for. The inflow into Palisades is also dropping rapidly  so we should see continued drops in the flows out of the dam. The riffles will now start to form again and the fish will move in against the banks instead of finding them up in the grass of the submerged islands.

There are great hatches of yellow sallie and golden stoneflies as well as pale morning dun mayflies. The big stones are in the lower canyon. The water is still off color and won’t completely clear for some time but the dry fly fishing won’t be affected by it. If anything the fish will be less spooky.

In the mornings before the the bugs start flying use rubber legs and Super-X’s. Streamers are a good choice too. When it warms up go to the dries.


South Fork 7-08-09

Things have really started to turn around on the South Fork. With the flows continuing to drop the fish are really starting to key in on dry flies. The Salmon flies are moving through the canyon and fish are rising to them on the surface. Yellow Sallie patterns, and Pale Morning Duns are also producing fish on the surface.As the water continues to drop look for the fish to start moving into the riffles. Afternoon Mayfly hatches will be really productive.

If you plan to float the canyon remember to follow the new guidelines for camping down there. I saw the Sheriff and the Forest Service Officer this week checking people, and writing tickets for not obeing the new regulations. The water is still high and there is a lot of “tricky” corners, and spots on the river. Use common sense, and please be alert while at the oars. Its easy to forget about the water flows when the fishing starts getting good, but make sure you are watching where you row your boat! Although the water is dropping there are still a lot of logs and debris to look out for. Use caution while fishing these next couple weeks. As always if you have questions please call the shop and we will be happy to help you out!


South Fork 7-07-09

Flow out of Palisades dropped another 1000 cfs overnight, so now is down to 18, 600 cfs. This certainly bodes well for fishing this weekend with this trend continuing.  With the big stones coming off and moving up into the canyon potential for great drift boat fishing is on the table. Don’t overlook the sallys and goldens either. With PMDs beginning to show and the dropping river, give a  week to ten days and some riffle fishing will be on hand.  We keep on top of the South Fork’s progress back to its great fishing reputation, so continue watching this report.  For the best up to date info, visit us.  We have the flies, equipment and strategy needed to make your South Fork season unforgettable.


South Fork 07-06-09

The flows have dropped to 19,600 cfs and will continue to drop each day another 800 to 1000 cfs a day.

It was a quiet week on the South Fork as anglers choose to fish other waters and wait for the river to drop some more. We did get a couple of good reports however from folks that had good success on yellow sallies and pale morning duns. They reported seeing good numbers of the small stones and mayflies and the fish had moved into the calmer water at the tips of the islands and very close to the bank to feed. Some reported even seeing fish clear up in the grass of the submerged islands.


South Fork 7-04-09

The flow out of Palisades Dam is dropping, but at a slow rate up to now. This AM it is 21,100 cfs.  Nevertheless the big bugs are coming off on the lower river, Twin Bridges to Byington.  Some folks are seeing good action from there, but the best way to find fish remains with big nymphs such as rubberlegs and with streamers fished deep.  Also being seen on the river are sallys and some PMDs.  When the river flow drops further, floating and fishing will be easier and more productive.  Look for that to happen in the manner given in our July 2nd report.  We will keep on top of how the flows are dropping and pass on such info in this report.  So keep on watching here because better days on the South  Fork are not far away!