South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Fishing Reports

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Fishing Reports (Page 2)

South Fork, May 1st, 2021

Flow out of Palisades Dam was upped to 5690 cfs last night (now 7040 cfs at Heise, 3280 cfs at Lorenzo). Look for more increases to come. Flow out of the dam remains much below normal (7800 cfs) for this date. Water remains quite cold for aquatic insect activity except for that from midges. Rubber legs, streamers and nymph patters near riffles bring most success.

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Henry’s Fork, May 1st, 2021

Very good fishing is present from the Ora Bridge to Chester backwaters. BWOs have peaked, but caddis are active in good numbers.  Presenting nymph patterns from large stonefly sizes down to small produce quite well. Fall River is bringing in discolored water from farm run-off, so fishing below Chester Dam suffers a bit.

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Still Waters, May 1st, 2021

The Blackfoot River Road from just east of Bone to the Blackfoot River Reservoir is graded and open. Ice is still on the reservoir but likely to go fast. It looks like Hebgen Lake will be free of ice by the end of this weekend. Hawkins Reservoir seems to attract many anglers of all terminal gear persuasions. Midge life cycle and leech patterns produce here. Daniels Reservoir has yet to offer good fishing, but warming weather will bring it on. Same applies to Springfield Reservoir.

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Today at Jimmy’s, May 1st, 2021

Thunder Ridge

Thunder Ridge High School of Idaho School District 93 offers a Lifetime Sports program which introduces students to the outdoors and its wholesome activities. Fly fishing and its fly tying corollary is one of the activities.  Lifetime Sports instructor and organizer Jody Webb, for a second year arranged with Jimmy’s All Seasons Angler to host the program’s fly tying seminar in the shop for a two to three-hour session each day (last Tuesday and Wednesday) in which to introduce students to fly tying.  The seminar subject was construction of a woolly bugger and a renegade. Trout Unlimited, its local affiliate the Snake River Cutthroats, and the shop provided tools and materials to tie these flies. We recommended Buck Goodrich and Mike Miller, both much experienced in fly tying teaching, as instructors to Jody. Buck and Mike gladly offered their services to instruct students during both sessions, and most students were successful in tying these patterns. Jody offered that the day following the tying sessions participating students would go to a well-stocked public pond to test their luck at using flies they had tied.  Hopefully some of the attendees will find through Jody’s efforts that fly fishing combined with fly tying can become a most enjoyable lifetime outdoor activity.

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Henry’s Fork, April 27th, 2021

Not much change since our report ten days ago. Flow in the lower river from Warm River to Chester is fairly constant and a bit below normal for this time of year.  You can bet that the lower river will have plenty of fishing enthusiasts present later this week if the predicted nice weather happens.

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South Fork, April 27th, 2021

Flow out of Palisades Reservoir was raised slightly to 4770 cfs ( now 5600 cfs at Heise, 3320 cfs at Lorenzo) last Sunday. Should be no effect on fishing as flow is  below normal for this time of year. With the not quite normal snow pack last winter many reservoirs are being filled as much as possible before big irrigation demands arrive.  A few midges are appearing  up and down the river, but best success for now comes through pitching rubber legs and streamer patterns.

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Today at Jimmy’s, April 20th, 2021

The high side of our fishing season is beginning. Already the South Fork is being visited by drift and jet boaters, the numbers of which are increasing every day with nearly all launch sites open and fishing success picking up. Drift boaters are floating the lower Henry’s Fork where launch sites are becoming more and more crowded, particularly those below Ashton Dam where the river offers excellent dry fly, streamer, and stone fly nymph fishing. Even the main stem Snake River has a drift boat-jet boat population pitching streamers.  So we at Jimmy’s are seeing the beginning of floating fishing season.

Increasingly we get inquiries on “where to go”, “what is it like”, information from folks new to or outside of this area. We pass on as much information as we can, but in the interest of safety we have to stress that there are some basics that anyone should consider if not experienced with any water to be boated.

First, being a responsible boater requires thorough character knowledge of the river section to be floated. If unfamiliar with launch and take-out sites to be used, visit these beforehand, especially if they are of primitive nature to detect short falls or hazards. Consult with someone familiar (reputable fly shops and resorts should have character and hazards information on all these) with the physical nature of the section of interest.

Second, even after obtaining character information on the river section to be visited, it is prudent to stop while in the act of floating to observe its downstream character during an initial visit. It is also wise to do so during a first trip of the season because many places on the river change character. The lower South Fork is notorious for cutting new channels and abandoning old ones.  Going down a channel that has been cut off from the main river and the necessary walk back out pulling a boat can ruin a visit, especially with little daylight left.  Uprooted trees, brush piles, and barely submerged rock features can be unpleasant, even dangerous surprises. Irrigation diversions are particular dangers especially on lower reaches of the Henry’s Fork and South Fork and throughout the main stem Snake River. For example, there are four irrigation diversion on the lower Henry’s Fork from the Fun Farm Bridge down through St. Anthony.

Third, many of us rely on such as Google Earth or Maps software to observe a river’s character. We suggest not doing so. Here is why: changes in river channels occur almost annually. Uprooted trees can happen any time especially during the high flow of irrigation waters and even or run-off. Depending on irrigation demands flow particularly in the South Fork and main stem Snake River change considerably.  Such changes can make new hazards and delete those in place. Detailed launch and take-out sites character and up to date hazard identification are not given. Electronic media is incapable of identifying these changes.

We offer these thoughts in the interest of having unforgettable positive experiences floating our rivers to enjoy some excellent fishing. We ask that you consider these in order to increase the chance that you will return to have another great experience.

 

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Henry’s Fork, April 17th, 2021

Fun Farm Bridge (1024x768)

Fun Farm Bridge

Currently the best stream fishing in the area is on the  lower Henry’s Fork. From the Ora Bridge down to Chester, BWO, midge and a scattering of March Browns bring top water action. Drifting big stonefly nymphs through riffles will is become more effective as we progress toward mid-May. Streamers under low light conditions continue to produce for browns and post-spawning rainbows.  These comments also apply to the river from Chester Dam to below St. Anthony. Drift boat fishers cause “traffic jams” at all launch sites from the Ora Bridge to Chester Dam, but there is room for walk-in wade fishing. From Warm River to Ashton Reservoir there is less crowding because distance spreads anglers around. The same comments apply with respect to fishing strategy but with drift boat fishing obviously the best way to cover water.

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Still Waters, April 17th, 2021

Springfield Reservoir offers fair fishing these days with midge pupa patterns producing at the taking depth. Small black leech and bead head nymph patterns are also effective.  Hawkins Reservoir offers about the same, but its boat ramp-dam area can be a bit crowded especially on week ends. The Dairy Creek road from Hawkins Reservoir over the top to Daniels Reservoir is open but rough.  All these reservoirs have turned over, so fishing on each should improve.  We have no information on Chesterfield Reservoir to date, but being at a higher elevation it is likely behind the above mentioned with respect to fishing.

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