South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports

Today at Jimmy’s, March 31st, 2020

March South Fork

The last day of March, and most public agencies are now recommending that outdoor activities, fishing included, are safe to enjoy during these uncertain times because they enhance social distancing. Fly-fishers always prefer social distancing when on the water, and none of us likes to be within six feet of each other (excepting when boating), especially during casting actions!    Also the further we separate from our fellow fly-fishers while on the water, the better the “one that got away” stories become!  So getting out to the water can be a great and safe way the relieve the boredom of being cooped up.

With springtime advancing, more water is becoming approachable. The lower Henry’s Fork is losing stream-side ice and snow each day. BWOs, midges and the beginnings of March brown mayflies make for active top water fishing.  Streamers and any pattern imitating a stonefly nymph bring action if you prefer to fish deeper.  On the South Fork boat ramps are opening up, flow out of Palisades Dam has been near constant for about a week, midges remain active making fishing adjacent to riffles and runs productive, and streamers and fly patterns imitating a stonefly nymph can bring action.  Nearby still waters such a Springfield Reservoir and Jim Moore Pond offer midge activity and nymphing for boating fly fishers.  It is catch and release season on many streams, so consulting 2020 fishing regulations can reveal which can be fished now or when roads open up.   Such as lower Fall and Warm Rivers, the main stem Snake River, Willow Creek (but not its tributaries), the Dry Beds, and the Big Lost River from Mackay Dam downstream are candidates.  We can provide information on fishing all of these, and we welcome you to get in touch for information on any of these and other waters.

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Today at Jimmy’s March 28th, 2020

Governor Little’s confinement order is for good reason. Yes, “hunkering down” is trying, especially with springtime emerging.  But for many fly-fishers there are activities that can help occupy these times.  Fly tying, rod building, getting equipment cleaned and in shape for the upcoming season, all can help. As the chalk board  at our front door says,  we are open in the same manner as a restaurant offering take-out services.  You can use our take out service in the following manner:

Call us, 208-524-7160, or 208-497-1356 (calling is more efficient than texting or email) with an order of what you wish to purchase.  We will assemble that order and offer a time to come to our front door, 275 A Street, downtown Idaho Falls, for  pick-up.  OR we can deliver your order FREE OF CHARGE, Idaho Falls to Rexburg daily and to Pocatello weekly.

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We will continue to offer fishing information.  Get in touch with us and watch our web site fishing report for information on what is happening on area waters.  Consider that going fishing gets you away from crowds.

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South Fork, March 24th, 2020

All boat launch facilities on the lower river are open and walk-in wade locations are numerous from Heise on downstream.  Launching access is good at Palisades Dam and at Huskey’s.   Spring Creek and Conant parking areas are plowed, but snow and ice remain on and around ramps making ropes, chains, etc needed to launch.

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Henry’s Fork, March 24, 2020

Some folks are drift boating from Warm River to Ashton.  Midges and BWO life cycle patterns will bring the most action, but streamer and stonefly nymph/rubber legs patterns will likely be more interesting to the larger fish anywhere you try the river. Consider trying places upstream along the river road after crossing the Fun Farm Bridge. Access on the lower river is shaping up, but the bad news is that the private access on the other side of the river above the Chester backwaters, known as Seeley’s, has been closed by the owner. Misuse by inconsiderate individuals accumulated enough to cause this closure.

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Big Lost River, March 17, 2020

The Big Lost River becomes a popular fishery this time of year as snow melt increases to give some access below Mackay Dam.  Midge and BWO activity makes for good fishing. The Mackay area got hammered with about a foot of snow this last weekend, but the river below the dam is accessible where some snow banks remain.  Flow out of Mackay Dam was increased to 320 cfs last Tuesday.

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South Fork, March 17th, 2020

Considering the times of stress reigning in the country, getting out to fly fish seems very attractive, and the South Fork is offering such an escape. Warming weather adds more to this attraction.  Boat ramps on the upper river ( Conant, Spring Creek, Huskey’s) remain a challenge to use needing ropes, chains and such for launching. But walk-in access is good especially the further downstream  you venture where snow banks diminish.  Best strategy  for action is nymphing. So your favorite nymph patterns, bead heads or not,  presented through and at the base of riffles will get you action. During nicer weather midge activity really picks up during PM hours. So with oncoming midge activity as the day passes, life cycle patterns for these become quite effective.  For sure water is cold, but “clear as a bell” even though flow out of Palisades Dam was upped to 5000 cfs  yesterday afternoon ( now 6300 cfs at Heise, 3600 cfs at Lorenzo).

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South Fork, March 14th, 2020

As we mentioned in the previous South Fork fishing report, flow out of Palisades Dam was raised to  around 3700 cfs last Monday.   This is just the beginning of ramping up flow.  Palisades Reservoir is at about 94% of capacity with MUCH snow yet to be melted in the drainage above. Not only that situation exists, but irrigation demands will soon increase as warmer parts downstream in south central Idaho become agriculturally active.  That means more increases are “coming down the pipe” as is typical for this time of the season.  For sure this will temporarily impact fishing in the river ( and the mainstream Snake River) for a few months to come. Therefore we will try to pass on fishing condition information on other waters in order to give a chance to make an informed choice to select waters for a visit.

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Big Lost River, March 10th, 2020

Current midge activity and that upcoming for BWOs results in good fishing. Flow out of Mackay Dam is around 175 cfs. The big “if” is access because plenty of snow remains along the river below the dam.  You might be able to park off the highway, but be ready to walk a ways with some “post holing” to get to the river.

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Henry’s Fork, March 10th, 2020

Flow out of Island Park Reservoir has been around 550 cfs all winter, that flow increased by that from the Buffalo River has given good natural shelter along banks to young trout for habitation.   This situation gives a better chance for a boost to future populations on downstream in the Island Park area.

Currently much of the lower river has  snow covered banks limiting access at boat launch sites and walk-in access at most places. Nevertheless,  were walk-in access is available, fishing has been good. Midge and BWO activity produce for the small fly enthusiast.  Streamers and big nymphs produce for the large fly enthusiast.

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