Flow out of Palisades Dam has been steady at about 14000 cfs for about a week with Palisades Reservoir at about two-thirds of capacity. Look for the country side to begin greening up, but no big changes in fishing conditions for now.
As we are rolling out a plan for re-opening the shop, we hope everyone takes into consideration the safety of not only yourself, but those around you.
Daniels Reservoir is offering good fishing. Before the wind comes up try midge pupa patterns under an indicator, but find the taking depth. Only a few rises likely means deeper water will be best. Do not overlook trying dragonfly and damselfly nymph patterns especially after the wind comes up. No problem with social distancing here, as folks are well spread out along the east bank. The road over from Hawkins Reservoir is in good shape with a few stretches of coarse gravel. Might be best to have tires in good condition because of these spots. Hawkins Reservoir has been a bit slow. Social distancing at the dam-boat launch area remains a bit chancy. Ice is off Twenty Four Mile and Chesterfield Reservoirs.
Many anglers have questions about the impact of Covid-19 on non-resident fishing in Montana, especially with the general fishing season opening there in mid-May. To see current non-resident restrictions go to fwp.mt.gov/covid19. On this site select “Quarantine Directives for Out of State Travelers to Montana.” Open (and save, if desired) “Quarantine Directives.pdf” for details. These restrictions may change in the near future, so go to this site from time to time.
Eastern Idaho received a higher than normal amount of snow last winter. Now that our weather is warming significantly, run-off in large proportions is here. Examples include the Willow Creek and upper Blackfoot River drainages with both having some flood potential. The upper Blackfoot River drainage and Willow Creek tributaries do not open to fishing until July first, but their run-off situations provide what to expect on eastern Idaho streams draining high country and being open for catch and release fishing. Many of these streams are currently unreachable until roads are passable but can provide good fishing when run-off subsides. The best way to find when such roads open is to contact local National Forest ranger district and BLM offices.
Flow out of Palisades Dam has been steady at around 13800 cfs for about a week (Now 16200 cfs at Heise, 10900 cfs at Lorenzo). The river is flowing clear and cold for now. Big nymphs, rubber legs, and streamers with midge life cycle patterns in calmer waters being a good choices for success. Palisades Reservoir is about 70 % full making room for certain upcoming run-off thanks to our warming days.
Flow out of Island Park Dam has been raised from around 550 cfs to nearly 900 cfs. This flow is not carried down much to the lower river where flows are a bit above normal for this time of year. Fishing on the lower river is good ( BWO, March brown, midge, caddis small stonefly life cycle patterns and streamers) except for windy days when anything emerging onto the surface is blown away before fish have a chance to raise to them.
The road from Hawkins Reservoir over to Daniels Reservoir is now open. Good midge pupa fishing is ongoing at Daniels on finding the taking depth which varies depending on location. Damselfly nymph and small leech patterns should work well in areas where weeds are beginning to grow. You will see some out of state anglers here. Hopefully they have purchased fishing licenses before April 4th.
Hawkins Reservoir also offers good fishing, but social distancing at the dam, adjacent boat ramp, and nearby campground can be chancy. Of course, no such problem exists when out on the water. There are some flotation device launch sites, primitive as they are, along the highway paralleling the north shore. Use the same presentation strategies suggested above for Daniels Reservoir.
Flow out of Palisades Dam was tweaked upward to 14000 cfs (now 16000 cfs at Heise, 11700 cfs at Lorenzo). Flow remains well within the range of that for summer, so keep the fishing strategy recommended for the river in our recent reports.