South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 108)

South Fork 7-23-13

Flow out of Palisades Dam was dropped to 11800 cfs yesterday.  Water temperature at the dam is 64 Deg. F.   That’s warm enough for wet wading, but not good for much else.  The warmer temperature has slowed daytime fishing on the river below whether through using PMD life cycle, terrestrial patterns, or whatever . So “fish early, fish late”  applies once more. There is a real advantage to doing so in addition to better fishing: fewer anglers.  Expect more flow drops out of the dam coming as in-flow to the reservoir remains less than out-flow.


Small Streams 7-23-13

Mid summer is here, and changes happen on many small waters. On streams where flows drop to the point of little overhead cover and higher in-stream temperature, fish move usually downstream to seek more cover and cooler flows in a main stem water. A good example is that fabulous little brook trout stream, Rock Creek off the Cave Falls Road. Here as waters drop and warm with mid summer, many resident brookies move down into Robinson Creek. The same also happens on lower Willow Creek.  This part of the creek provides good early season fishing when flows between 50 and 100 cfs offer better living conditions than  much lower summertime flows and warmer in-stream temperatures.  So many fish move down into Ririe Reservoir.  Streams with a more constant flow such as from springs (Birch Creek, Big Elk Creek, Henry’s Fork above Island Park Reservoir) or with upstream lakes that add sub-surface water(Palisades Creek, Fall River in Yellowstone Park) will not be impacted as much this time of year.


Yellowstone Park 7-23-13

These bright, warm days make for tough daytime fishing on all streams, but on meadow streams in particular.  So in such as Fall River Basin streams, Duck Creek ( see recent article), Gibbon River, and Slough Creek timbered reaches are likely to offer the best fishing.  For Bechler River and Boundary Creek this means the forested reaches above the meadows.  For Fall River it means timbered reaches between each meadow.  For Duck Creek it means the south side above the upper meadows; for the Gibbon River the timber above Gibbon Meadows. For Slough Creek it means the under-fished timbered reach between the first and second meadows above the campground.   Hoppers are becoming important on all streams, but “fish early, fish late” applies.  When doing so, do not overlook trying a hair mouse pattern!


Henry’s Lake 7-23-13

Action has become slower on the lake due mostly to warming water. The best fishing locations remain in front of Duck, Howard and Targhee Creeks, but “fish early, fish late” applies.  Try the flies and strategy Everet suggests in his 7-13-13 report.  We drove past the south side of the lake yesterday and observed no boats in front of the cliffs and in front of Duck and Hope Creeks.   That observation hints at slow action.


Henry’s Fork 7-23-13

Even though the flows are slightly higher than normal, the lower river is already in the summer doldrums because of the early warm weather.  In the Last Chance-Harriman part of the upper river, all the drake hatches are over and some PMDs remain, but fishing has slowed because of warm weather and recently increased flows out of Island Park dam.  When speckled duns and hoppers become important look for fishing to pick up big time. “Fish early, fish late” applies until then.  Same applies to the lower river, and don’t overlook trying your favorite streamer during sunset to twilight or around sunrise.


Big Lost River 7-2–13

With flow out of Mackay Dam still close to 500 cfs, wading is limited.  The flow is sure to drop, and make for easier wading to meet flav and terrestrial insect and later trico activity.  Floating the river to fish is possible, and caddis, PMD, flav life cycle patterns will work. Likely some golden stoneflies remain. We will post decreases in flow here as soon as such happens.


Yellowstone Park 7-20-13

We offer much information about meadow streams such as in Fall River Basin, along upper Slough Creek, and Pelican Creek which is on the rebound.  Size of the fish, scenic beauty, and solitude make these places among the most enjoyable that can be visited. For many anglers seeking meadow streams, however, the problem is the long walks required to reach the best waters on these.  Let’s suggest some meadow streams that do not require hours of walking to and from.   The Lamar River above the canyon is fishing well now.  So are the Gibbon River in meadow reaches above the canyon, lower Slough Creek, and the Lewis River below the Falls and adjacent to the South Entrance highway.  Very large trout reside in each of these, and for each of these waters you need to be stealthy and knowledgeable with respect to approach. Terrestrial patterns, PMD life cycle, damselfly life cycle, patterns for diminishing brown drakes are  best for now, and in these warm, bright days the axiom “fish early, fish late” applies.  But being adjacent to major roads means that many anglers will accompany you on each of these. So we offer a meadow stream on which you cannot expect little or no company, is  in beautiful country, hosts a variety of very large trout, and requires a minimal walk.  Want to read more about this water? Go to our Articles page and read about Duck Creek in Yellowstone Park.


Small Streams 7-20-13

This time of year fishing small streams can be a “mixed bag.” With warm, bright days open reaches can be extremely difficult because of the lack of overhead cover making fish either extremely wary or avoiding such locations. Thus concentrate your efforts where there is overhanging brush, undercuts, sweepers, and just below in-stream structure. Several small streams are good fishing now.  This really applies to the South Fork and Palisades Reservoir tributaries; Palisades, Rainy, Big Elk, McCoy, and Bear Creeks.  Take your favorite ant, beetle, hopper, caddis and PMD patterns. Concentrate on the slower water having overhead cover, and each of these streams will have plenty of such. Look for flavs to begin emerging at a significant rate soon on most of these streams making for fabulous afternoon fishing.  Cutts in some of these streams rival those in the South Fork for size, and you will encounter a lot fewer anglers on these waters.  Another water type to concentrate on is beaver ponds, particularly those with deeper areas and cover in the form of willows and well vegetated banks.  Upper reaches of McCoy Creek, the Willow Creek, the Little Lost River drainages, and Idaho’s Salt River tributaries have numerous beaver ponds. For sure, leech patterns are the most effective to use, but submerged vegetation limits their use this time of year, so go with dry damselfly and terrestrial  patterns.  We have more  information that we can place here on the great variety of small waters in the region, so it might be best to come in and discuss with us ones to visit.


Yellowstone Park 7-13-13

Bechler Meadows opens to horse traffic on July 15th.   With the river dropping and ultra-clear, successful fishing will be tougher than any place around.  So if you want to test your dry fly skills, this is the place. If you are in the meadows and want action for sure, try Boundary Creek. The fish are smaller to be sure, but there are some large enough to be a credit anywhere and surprise you.  Start relying on your favorite small (#18) PMD patterns.  Hoppers are several days away in the meadows, but ant, beetle, and deer or horsefly (try the “out of style” humpy in size12) patterns, gently and precisely placed, will work.


Yellowstone Park 7-9-13

Watching Fall River flow gauges and regional weather reports convinced me that it was time to head to Fall River Basin yesterday for some dry fly fishing.  I could not have timed it better as the river in Bechler Meadows was in perfect shape for such fishing, with a sky filled with cumulus clouds, higher than normal relative humidity, and only a slight breeze. PMDs began emerging (only a few green drakes, however) about lunch time and kept going until high winds put them down just after 4PM.  Before that fish responded with gusto.  I was a bit  “out of style” by using a #14 blond humpy, but the fish did not care.  More proof that it is not so much the particular fly used, but how it is presented.  Good dry fly fishing should remain in all Fall River Basin streams for several days now, given partly cloudy and relatively humid conditions prevailing.  Look for the same on similar Park waters including Slough Creek, Lamar River, meadow reaches of the Lewis and Gibbon Rivers, Pelican Creek, and Duck Creek. But avoid the bright, cloudless, and dry days for best fishing success on such waters.