South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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South Fork

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / South Fork (Page 8)

South Fork 6-10-17

22400 cfs is currently flowing out of Palisades Dam. No wonder the river below looks like a milk shake!  Fish likely cannot even see San Juan worm patterns as they go whizzing by in the watery gloom. Go somewhere else to fish for now.

Here’s an overview of South Fork run-off situation.

Flow out of Jackson Lake is up to 6500 cfs and Buffalo Fork, Hoback, Grey’s and Salt Rivers are running high making inflow to Palisades about 41000 cfs.  Currently  Palisades Res. is 70% full and Jackson Lake is about 87% full, not leaving enough room in both reservoirs to catch projected run-off.   Thus inflow to Palisades is about double outflow with run-off peaks yet to be reached. In the near future release profiles from both reservoirs will depend on run-off forecasts and flood control requirements.  We will keep on top of this South Fork run-off situation and report here how it looks for the river to come into good fishing condition.

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South Fork 6-6-17

Have a battleship you want to float? With flow out of Palisades Dam hovering around 20000 cfs, and a bit more at Heise, you might be able to do so on the South Fork! As of today about 36000 cfs is coming into Palisades Reservoir from the Grey’s, Salt, and Snake Rivers combined.  With the reservoir currently at about two-thirds of capacity, and more than normal snow remaining at higher elevations, high flows will remain for a while as room is made to contain resulting run-off. In fact, flow coming out of the reservoir could increase.   The high South Fork flows here are sending fly-fishers to the Henry’s Fork, making for perilous wading conditions, and certainly have resulted in ample water to create an anti-rainbow spawning flush this season.

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South Fork 6-3-17

The recent good fishing days with 9000 cfs coming out of Palisades Dam  (around 10000 cfs at Heise) are over for a while. Yesterday flow out of the dam was increased, then increased again early today to 17100 cfs, and is climbing. Flow out of the dam is likely to continue to climb. Here’s why. Palisades Reservoir is about 57% of capacity, filling quickly, and our weather is warming significantly. This means an increased snow melt rate in the high country making it necessary to provide more room in the reservoir for increased run-off.  Because of the increasing flow in the river, use extreme caution when wading.

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South Fork 5-30-17

Flow out of Palisades Res. is reduced to 9700 cfs as the reservoir is filling (nearly half full) for the agricultural season. Flow at Heise is a bit over 10000 cfs.  Flows are likely to increase later as  irrigation demands kick in.  Currently the lower flows make for good fishing, whether boating or wading, mainly by presenting nymphs. Try riffles and drop offs. For best responses try rubber legs trailed with small bead head nymph patterns, San Juan worms, and small bead head patterns by themselves. Use sink-tip or floating lines depending on depth of water to be fished.

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South Fork 5-20-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam has been reduced sequentially over the last several days. Currently it is 10400 cfs, and 11100 cfs at Heise. Palisades Reservoir is about 29% full but rising because the upcoming irrigation season will soon be demanding water. This demand will counter run-off coming in, so BuRec is doing a “balancing act”  by catching in-flow, lowering flood potential, and storing water necessary for irrigation.  With lower flows below Palisades Dam, look for the river, although somewhat discolored, to be safer, more easily approached, and fish easier to encounter.  Because waters remain cold, nymphing and presenting streamers will be the most effective means for hook-ups. Bead head nymphs, rubber legs, San Juan Worms, and streamer patterns of choice should be effective when fished through riffles and into runs, slower water, and below islands.

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South Fork 5-6-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam was raised to 17600 cfs yesterday (19800 cfs at Heise). This makes wading more perilous, but the length of high flows should result in an effective flush for sustaining cutthroat trout in the river.

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South Fork 4-25-17

Flow out of Palisades Dam currently is 14600 cfs (15700 cfs at Heise). Wading remains a bit perilous, and boating gets you to the best waters. Presenting rubber leg and streamer patterns remain the best ways to encounter trout. Smaller nymphs presented in or at the base of riffles will get action from trout as well as from whitefish.

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South Fork 4-15-17

On April 11th flow out of Palisades Dam was raised to 18000 cfs.  Result is flow at Heise is 19600 cfs, so use caution when wading. Water temperature is around forty degrees F. so don’t fall in! Use same fly-fishing tactics as offered in the April 4th fishing report..

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South Fork 4-4-17

Although flow out of Palisades Dam has dropped some (16000 cfs out of Palisades Dam), the river remains dangerous for wading.  Boating is the best way to reach “fishable” gravel bars, the tails of islands, and current-free back waters. Rubber leg,egg, and streamer patterns are the best choice for encountering trout in these water types.   Because of the high flows, a trip from Conant to Byington without stopping takes about four hours!

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South Fork 3-24-17

With 18300 cfs coming out of Palisades Dam, the river is high enough to make most riffle fishing difficult. At Heise flow is about 17500 cfs meaning “more of the same” with respect to riffle fishing. Water is cold to be sure but relatively clear, so streamers and such as rubber legs presented deep can bring some interest from trout.  Look for further increases in flow as room must be made in Palisades Reservoir (and Jackson Lake) for increased run-off as weather warms.

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