South Fork & Henry's Fork Fishing Reports

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Small Streams

Jimmy's All Seasons Angler / Small Streams

Small Streams, May 26th, 2020

Many of our small streams offer solitude this time of year when aquatic insect emergences or opening day “happenings”bring crowds to some of our well-known waters. Warm River, Birch Creek, and Palisades Reservoir tributaries are good examples of small streams offering good fishing and passable roads.   Some, such as the lower Blackfoot River, may be high with irrigation water. Others such as Teton River drainage streams are running run-off high. Fall River, currently is flowing at a normal rate, but with warm weather upcoming it will soon be in serious run-off made.  The best way to find if National Forest roads leading to streams are open is to contact USFS ranger stations.


Small Streams, May 9th, 2020

A judge’s ruling has prevented an open pit gold mine from being constructed in the West Camas Creek drainage. The area drainage is considered to be cutthroat trout habitat, and the impact of open pit mining is of concern to ground water quality within that habitat.

If you are looking for a place to take a youngster fishing or if you just want to enjoy some small stream fishing, Birch Creek within the family fishing area above Lone Pine currently is likely the best candidate for doing so.  The creek may be running a bit high but is likely clear, so presenting nymph or small woolly bugger patterns will bring responses.


Small Streams, Cinco de Mayo, 2020

Some back country roads are opening up, while others have a way to go.  The Bear Creek Road is open but needs to dry in order to minimize damage.   The Big Elk Creek Road is open. However, both streams are high and discolored from run-off.   The Cave Falls Road is not officially open, The Mesa Falls Scenic Loop (State Highway 47) has been plowed, but all forest roads from it remain snow covered.


Small Streams, April 25th, 2020

robinson creek3

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.


Small Streams 10-29-19

Current weather makes traveling over back country roads to some of our small streams downright dangerous because of blowing, drifting snow and wind chill. Consider checking with county road maintenance operations before going to such as the Blackfoot River drainage or the Teton River drainage.


Small Streams 10-8-19

The number of small streams offering good fishing this time of year narrows with cold water temperatures, reduced cover, and slowing insect activity being the major reasons.   Some still offering some fishing success include Blackfoot, Teton, and Warm Rivers. Teton and Warm Rivers offer BWO hatches that still attract trout.  On the Blackfoot River diminishing caddis activity is present with success through presenting streamer patterns increasing.


Small Streams 9-24-19

Early AM tricos provide action on the Teton River. Later in the day BWOs take over. Look for terrestrial insect patterns to become less effective as colder weather takes over. The same will soon apply to the lower and upper Blackfoot River with respect to terrestrial insects if the stretch of predicted bad weather brings a killing frost.  Forget trying small streams until next spring.  They are now too cold and low to offer good fishing.


Small Streams 9-17-19

Conant Creek

Don’t rely on very small streams for the rest of the season as they most likely are at base level meaning cold and having reduced overhead cover.  Exceptions could be upper Birch, Big Elk, Bitch, and Palisades Creeks. Such as the Blackfoot, Teton, Warm, and Buffalo Rivers will remain good for quite a while thanks to streamers, caddis and late season (BWO) mayfly activity and terrestrial insect presence until a killing frost happens.


Small Streams 8-31-19

Most small streams are down to base flows. For headwater streams this means larger fish are moving downstream seeking more overhead cover opportunities. Look for decrease in recreational boaters and boarders on the river in Teton Basin where dry fly fishing (hoppers, PMD, sallies) has been good.