South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 63)

South Fork 6-22-09

As of this morning the South Fork has jumped to 22,200 cfs below Palisades Dam. The reservoir is full and now outflow will have to match inflow so the flows will probably go higher as Jackson Lake is a day or so from filling. The big question is if we are finally near the runoff peak and how long the inflows into Palisades will stay this high. We will report what we hear and see.


South Fork 06-17-09

Due to very low irrigation demand increased flows into Palisades the South Fork is up to 14,000 cfs and will be raised to 17,000 plus by tomorrow. This is a much higher flow than was predicted last week by the Bureau of Rec. The reservoir is only 3 percent from filling so flows may go higher once the lake fills in 3 or 4 days from now.

Hopefully by late June when the big stoneflies start hatching the flows will have dropped back into the 15,000 range. We will keep an eye the conditions and report whatever news we get.  In the meantime if you fish the south fork concentrate again at the bottoms of the islands and slower water next to the current like we did earlier this year when the flows were up.


South Fork 6-15-09

The rain that we have been receiving is keeping the water at a steady temperature around 48 degrees. The streamer fishing has been outstanding! Nymphing with a rubberleg and a bead head dropper has been really effective as well. Fish can be found along the banks and the tailouts of riffles. Look for fish to continue to move into the riffles and the drop offs as we get closer to dry flies hatching. The water is still off color but very fishable.

Flows should stay steady at 10.700 cfs. If we see any increase in flows it will only be to answer the demands of irrigation, and that should only raise the flow around 12,700 cfs at the maximum. If this does happen the fishing will not be affected dramaticly. Give the river one day and it should settle out.


South Fork 6-12-09

Here are two great pieces of information for South Fork enthusiasts.  First, the log that crossed the south channel below Twin Bridges has been removed.  Now we are free to launch boats here without that particular danger. The USBurRec feels that with the current water-weather situation they can fill Palisades Res. in a bit more that a week (it’s about 87% filled right now), BUT because inflow is dropping to fill Jackson Lake it is likely that flow out of Palisades Dam will not rise above 12700 cfs through the summer barring a prolonged hot spell in downstream agricultural areas.   Other than that,  fishing suggestions in our 6-10-09 report still hold.   We will keep up on South Fork giant stonefly progress when it happens. You will see the best information on its progress, strategy and patterns for it right here.


South Fork 6-10-09

We continue to hear great things about the South Fork. No dry fly action to really speak of but the nymphing and streamer fishing is really picking up. As we get closer to the stonefly hatch at the end of June and the beginning of July, I would start fishing two rubberlegs below an indicator. Fish a #4 and drop a #6, or #8 about 18 inches below. San Juan worms, bead head nymphs are also producing fish. The fish have started moving to the banks and into the drop off of the riffles. As always with the change in the lower river because of the high water, if you are unsure about a side channel walk it before you float it. If you have any questions on the new regulations for camping in the canyon or on river character, please call us, or check an earlier post from the “Today at Jimmy’s” blog. You can reach that post by clicking here.


South Fork 6-08-09

The flows on the South Fork have stayed steady at 10.700cfs. The river is fishing really well with big rubberleg nymphs, pheasants tails, prince nymphs, and copper johns. Streamers have also been fishing really well, especially on cloudy days. Use a sink tip while fishing streamers and slow down the presentation. Also try fishing a conehead J.J. Special dead drifted like a nymph under a strike indicator. Clousers and Zonkers are producing fish as well.

The South Channel that floats to the Twin Bridges Boat Ramp has an obstacle that needs some attention for your safety. As you travel to the boat ramp the channel will become very narrow and there is a large tree has fallen over. We have included some photos for you.


This is looking downstream into the narrow channel.


This photo is taken looking back upstream at the fallen log.

This channel is passable as long as the water stays at its current level. As soon as we see an increase in the flows floating to the Twin Bridges Boat Ramp will be out of the question because you will not be able to get your boat over or under this log. As always this time of year check out Channels if you are unsure if they are passable.


South Fork 6-04-09

Flow out of Palisades Dam has been stable at just under 11000 cfs for four or five days now.  Stable flows  bode well for fishing.  So keep on pitching streamers close to banks, into backwaters, and through side channels.  Do the same with big nymph and rubberleg patterns.  Try medium sized (10-12) bead head nymphs in riffles and around transitions.  All these are working well up and down the river for float fishers.  Wading is still a bit tough for getting access because of the flow level.   No big stoneflies yet, but when they become active late this month, we’ll let you know here.  And remember to use caution on the lower river because of changes in flow patterns.


South Fork 6-01-09

The South Fork has been fishing really well. If you are looking to drift some big nymphs or catch a nice trout on a streamer the South Fork is your ticket to fun! Rubberlegs, larger bead head nymphs in a size #12 or #14 is your best recipe for catching fish. streamers presented against the bank and in back eddies presented slow are enticing large fish to eat.  Use a heavy sink to get to those big boys on the bottom of the river. The flows have been dropping and the current flow today is 10,700 cfs which is a bit below normal. This will only make the fishing better. All boats ramps are open, but please use caution while floating the lower river below Byington. Things have changed here and you need to be constantly looking ahead to stay out of trouble.


South Fork 5-28-09

Flow out of Palisades Dam remains stable, and fishing from there through Swan Valley is good. The trick is to use nymphs (try rubberlegs!) and streamers around drop-offs & transitions.  Same applies downstream into the canyon, but fishing here seems a bit slower.  No dry flies of significance yet.  We note that the river below Heise, in particular, has changed somewhat in character because of recent high water.  If you plan to float through this section, consider scouting it from the sidelines a bit to note changes and to minimize surprises.


South Fork 05-26-09

Water conditions on the South fork are much better than we expected to see at this time of year. The flow from the Palisades  Dam is 12,700 with a slight greenish tint. Water temp is in the mid 40’s. We have had our best luck on streamers fished on type IV full sinking lines or long 20 foot  type 4 or 6 sink tips. The fish have been holding on the slower banks and pools. Our best technique is casting the fly straight at the bank from a boat and making a downstream mend. Let the fly sink and begin to swim (or drag) downstream. As the fly swings out begin stripping the sinking line back in.  Some of the takes have actually been on the swing out before you begin striping the fly. Some takes have also been as you pull the fly from the river to recast.

Our best patterns have been:

#4 Clouser Minnows in a chartruese/white color combo,

Belly Ache Minnow in size 4,

Prince-of-a buggers (Brown) in size 4.

Galloup”s Sex Dungeon in size 2 (Olive or Black)

Stenersen’s Olive or Gray String Leech in size #6

Olive, Black or white Conehead Zuddlers in size4

We have also had good luck on a Bennett’s Rubber Leg with either a glo bug or San Juan Worm dropper. We using these flies on a floating line with and indictor.

One note about the lower river below Byington. The river has changed dramatically. Many of the channels we floated last year are dry and new ones have been cut. The same goes for tree and brush piles. Some have moved or have additions to them while other are completely gone. Please be carefull when you leave the main river to enter a side channel.  If you are not quite sure about what might be ahead give yourself plenty of room and time to stop and  look.