Yesterday was a gorgeous Idaho day no wind and highs in the upper 60’s. Woke up this morning to temps in the mid 30’s and winds expected to reach 40 mph! This is spring in Idaho, seems like winter just doesn’t want to let go. We have been getting a lot of questions about water and flows so I thought I would talk about that situation.
Let me start by saying the information I am passing on is a mix from the Bureau of Reclamation and our general thoughts here at the shop. The only real fact that holds merit in this discussion is we have a lot of water this year. Period. The BOR is predicting flows at a minimum of 23,500 cfs at the Heise measure station for 5 to 6 weeks. As of right now the river is flowing 23,200 cfs at Heise. All of this is dependent on weather conditions. So there is no clear answer to when we will be able to fish the South Fork. However we counted out the weeks and best case scenario puts the flows at a reasonable level around the 4th of July. We will keep you all informed as soon as we find out more.
Allow me to debunk a few myths that seem to float around fisherman. First off there will be a Salmon Fly Hatch on the South Fork. If the hatch is huge or small will depend on weather and flows, but those bugs will hatch. Last year I didn’t see Salmon Flies on the upper till mid July, but they hatched. Second, all of this water flowing down the river will change things but it will not flush all the fish away and the insects will be fine. We had huge flows in 97′ and the river fished great once the flows went down. The fish will move into areas with decreased flows and the nymphs will crawl deeper into the rocks. There have been no talks of the river reaching 30,000 cfs or above and to our knowledge the BOR has not predicted those type of high flows. If temps get cold it will reach that level for sure so lets all hope the weather continues to stay warm.