IDF&G is strongly considering a salvage regulation on the Big Lost River below Moore. This is because as flows out of Mackay Dam decrease fish will become trapped in downstream pools and perish. So rather than being wasted, salvage by legal means is being considered for the lower river. Go to the IDF&G web site for details on where this operation will be applied and for how long.
Action is slowing down somewhat. Best strategy will be to head for creek mouths. All creeks coming into the lake have good water levels this season. Cooler water coming from them attracts fish because of higher dissolved oxygen concentrations. The same applies to spring holes. Get to these locations early in the day to present your favorite leech and damselfly nymph patterns, but expect company from “anglers in the know” as the day advances. Want to experience even better still water fishing than Henry’s Lake currently offers? It’s not far from Henry’s Lake and can be found during the Madison Arm gulper activity on Hebgen Lake.
Run-off is leaving many of our smaller streams, but remnant conditions remain on some. Big Elk, Bitch, and Palisades Creeks area a little high and a bit discolored. The same for Teton River. Lower Palisades Creek could clear first because the lower lake acts as a settling basin. For now presenting nymph patterns and anything simulating an earthworm might be the best way to go in these creeks. McCoy and Bear Creeks, however, are in good dry fly shape. The same applies to the upper Blackfoot River, where even though hoppers are flourishing ( mosquitos are doing the same) throughout the meadows, the river is high enough where fish still key most on patterns resembling earthworms and grubs. Robinson Creek is now in great dry fly fishing shape as is Warm River. For PM fishing caddis life cycle and traditional attractor patterns may produce best on these two streams. Visitations are up on all these streams, but you can bet that when dry fly conditions kick in on the South Fork, many fly fishers will forsake these excellent smaller waters and tranquility will intensify.
With flow out of Palisades Dam reduced to 16000 cfs, look for riffles to begin appearing in the river below, even though flow at Heise is about 17 500 cfs. Those flows will soon drop. Now that run-off is nearly over expect further drops in flow out of Palisades Dam, even though there will be agricultural demands. Fish the soft water for now, but stock up on those patterns (PMD and caddis life cycle patterns terrestrial insect patterns, your favorite bead head nymph pattern, etc.) best for the great South Fork riffle and drop-off fishing soon to come.
The Palisades Reservoir inflow seems to be equaling to the outflow. This could signal the light at end of the high flow tunnel. Keep watching our fishing report as we follow the flow out of Palisades Dam (currently about 19,000 cfs). Meanwhile, look for soft water along the river below for presenting nymph patterns deep from big rubber legs to your favorite bead heads.
Hebgen Lake offers perhaps the best still water fishing in our area. Gulpers are going on big time, and the Madison Arm offers a great location for enjoying them. We traveled past the south shore of Henry’s Lake yesterday and counted two boats in sight. That is good evidence that action there has slowed. Both Chesterfield and Twenty-Four Mile Reservoirs seem not to produce up to par, but Daniels Reservoir continues to be the best place for trout fishing in the southeast corner of Idaho. Midge pupa patterns at the taking depth and damselfly life cycle patterns are the standard fare for finding action. Springfield Reservoir is mossing up, so a good strategy is to fish channels between weed beds. Present dry damsel patterns to fish cruising these channels, and you will have action. Sand Creek Ponds open to non-motorized boat fishing after July 15th.
Here is a strategy constant for nearly the entire river; Our warm weather means that best fishing is in morning and late afternoon hours. This coincides with PM caddis activity and AM spinner falls. If you fish during mid day and see surface activity dwindling, switch to nymph patterns presented deep because waters are coolest there and thus hold higher dissolved oxygen concentrations. Flavs are still around as well as a few golden stones. Green drakes are pretty much gone for this year but some brown drakes with responses from trout can be seen during evenings. For sure, the current heat spell will help bring on terrestrial insects, so begin stocking up on ant, beetle, cranefly, and hopper patterns.
Currently 20,300 cfs is coming out of Palisades Dam (21,700 cfs at Heise), while about 19,000 cfs is coming in. With Palisades Reservoir 100% full, it looks like the high South Fork flows are here for a while. If you intend to try the river, first of all whether boating or wading, use caution. Next fish the soft water (if you can find any!). Try a big rubber legs pattern trail by a San Juan worm or any thing imitating a drifting earthworm.
The Ashton-Flagg Ranch road is open, but a bit slow going east of Calf Creek Hill. Fall River is still running about 50% higher than normal meaning any pattern imitating a drifting earthworm presented deep works best. For sure the best fishing action off the road is in Beula Lake. Damsel fly and speckled dun life cycle patterns work well along with small leech patterns. Also consider that Hering Lake may offer good fishing, but you will need to pack in a flotation device to enjoy it. The lower half of Bechler Meadows may just as well be a rice paddy, and any pattern resembling a drifting earthworm works best in the river for now.