South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 13)

Yellowstone Park, June 30th, 2020

Mtn Ash

Where is it?

This cool, wet weather could make an exception to leaving the Firehole River alone. Overcast to rainy conditions allow some fishing here. Try swinging soft hackles or presenting white miller, sally, and PMD life cycle patterns in areas above larger thermal features until about noon. Then head elsewhere to such as the Madison River where PMD and caddis activities can make afternoon visits enjoyable.  With the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road now open, access to the Fall River, Beulah Lake and other great waters is possible. Streams in the northeast portion of the park still hold run-off waters, but should begin shaping up in a week or two.  Fall River Basin streams are shaping up.  Look for small stone flies to be the first aquatic insects to emerge followed by PMDs. Fish in these streams know what wind-blown giant stone and golden stone flies are.


Small Streams, June 30th, 2020

Medicine Lodge

Look for a long season coming up on all of our small streams. The number of waters here is almost limitless.  From meadow streams such as the upper Blackfoot River, the river in Teton Valley and middle McCoy Creek to riffle and run streams including Big Elk, Robinson, Palisades, Bear and Beaver Creeks, to name a few, the small stream enthusiast in this area is “a kid in a candy shop.”  We will keep track of how fishing develops on these because they offer tranquil alternatives to our much visited icon waters.

Currently roads to some of our small streams may be a it “mushy” because of recent rains. Most will dry out in a day or two of sunshine.   This could apply to roads in the Island Park area, and further west to roads in the Camas Creek and Little and Big Lost River drainages.  The Ashton-Flagg Road is open, but likely soft in places because of recent rains (and snows at higher elevations).

The Blackfoot River and drainage above the reservoir opens to fishing tomorrow, July 1st, as does the Willow Creek drainage and South Fork tribs below Palisades Dam. These late openings are in place to minimize pressure on spawning cutthroat trout.


South Fork, June 30th, 2020

From Cpgd (640x480)

Since June 25th, outflow at Palisades Dam has been stepped up from about 13500 cfs to 19600 cfs ( 19600 cfs at Heise, 14200 cfs at Lorenzo)!  This is because of irrigation demands and to make room for run-off from recent big rains in the drainage. Give the river a few days for fish to adjust and it will be back to rubber legs, big nymphs, and streamers.  Any day now the big stone flies (yellow sallies are out and flying) will begin flying, high water or not, on the lower river.  As they move up the river, look for much of the interest on the lower Henry’s Fork to transfer here as well as from anglers waiting for this event to happen. Expect crowding especially at boat launch sites.   Understand that many of the out-of the-area anglers are here to escape virus outbreaks raging in other parts of the country as well as to enjoy this great South Fork event.  Conducting social distancing as much as possible and having masks visible at these sites will demonstrate that we intend to keep our area relatively free of the virus.


Still Waters, June 27th, 2020

Fishing on Daniels Reservoir has slowed a bit, but is worth a try.  Chesterfield Reservoir offers good fishing even though some draw-down has begun. Damselfly activity is diminishing, but nymph patterns will catch fish.  Some still waters are getting quite weedy making presenting wet flies a challenge for not dredging up “salad.” Count Springfield Reservoir and the Harriman Fish Pond as some of these.


Small Streams, June 27th, 2020

Almost any small stream offers good fishing now excepting the lower Blackfoot River with irrigation water ( 850 cfs at the Shelley gauge) and the Teton River with decreasing west slope run-off. Most small waters are a great places to try traditional attractor patterns, dry and wet. The renegade, a native Idaho fly fished dry or wet, will catch fish anywhere, and if you fish in northwest Wyoming, a humpy is recommended by any native fly-fisher. Call it a goofus bug if you fish it in Montana!


Yellowstone Park, June 27, 2020

The Madison River features PMD and caddis activity while the Firehole River is warming enough to discourage fishing. It is in the best interest of trout here that they be left alone until early autumn when the river cools back to temperatures allowing more dissolved oxygen.   Shoshone Lake weed beds offer fast fishing for juvenile lake trout if you are able to pack a flotation device and equipment to present leech patterns from a full-sink line.  Streams in the northwest corner of the Park still hold run-off waters.


Henry’s Lake, June 27th, 2020

Still fishing very well for cutthroat trout in the 15-18″ range. Use an intermediate line to get down at moderate depths for presenting black, purple and olive leech patterns. Expect tough weather conditions the next few days as a windy cold front is coming in.


Henry’s Fork, June 27th, 2020



His book “Fly-Fishing Guide to the Henry’s Fork” says it all for the river.

Along the upper river major mayfly hatches move on from continuing PMDs to include those of flavs and brown drakes. Caddis accompany them during PMs. So the “name of the game” is finding which of these fish are taking: PMDs, flavs or caddis. Go to the water with life cycle patterns for all of these. Brown drakes coming on will most likely be what trout look for during the evening hours.  If you  fish at twilight, don’t overlook drifting a hair mouse pattern close to banks adjacent to water offering good cover. You could encounter your fish of the year!

The crowds on the lower river are a bit thinner now.  The above aquatic insects are important to trout as are gray drakes during evening hours.


Yellowstone Park, June 23rd, 2020

The Firehole River is warming. Some of the best fishing in the Park can be enjoyed in the upper Lewis River drainage where getting out onto water of Lewis and Shoshone Lakes to locate weed beds will bring on action from leech patterns presented on full-sink lines.  The meadow section of Lewis River between the two lakes still provides the fastest fishing around for brown trout chasing streamer patterns.