It’s been almost three months since we offered a South Fork report. The big change with respect to water is the flow reduction out of Palisades Dam from about 1200 cfs to about 900 cfs. This reduction means wading is more attractive than boating in much of the river. The other change is that winter is almost finished rather than beginning, and snow and ice are leaving the river edges. With better daytime conditions already begun, getting out is more attractive. But the river remains cold with water coming out of Palisades Dam currently around 36 deg. F. This means midges will provide the only top water fishing until water warms more. Emerger patterns in the surface film or just below will bring the most responses from feeding fish. Some of the warmer, overcast days without wind (imagine that!) could offer the best action. Look for most fish feeding along riffles and tail outs. If you can get to side channels, some can also host good midge activity with fish responding. Nymph fishing can be effective this time of year when riffles and runs are targeted. Small rubber leg and standard bead head patterns are good candidates for use. Try these on floating lines for shallow waters, sink tips for deeper waters. Streamer fishing is the best way to go for a chance at larger fish. Once again, presentation is more important than pattern selection. This time of year focus most of your efforts on deeper water and use a sink tip line and short, stout leader. We suggest Clouser types, fly rod jigs, double bunny types, sculpin imitations, and large wooly bugger variations. Because of the cold water, dress for the occasion. That means either insulated waders or plenty of layers under those Gore-Tex types. Consider using a wading staff because the last thing you want is a dunking in 36 degree water. Looking for specific locations? Come to the shop and discuss these with us because we have reports from various locations.
The South Fork is fishing really well right now and should continue to do so all through the winter when weather permits. We will continue to update the fishing report as things change but here is a good general report for the river in the coming months. The river is flowing 1,200 cfs out of the dam and that means there is great wade fishing access throughout the system. For now, you can still float but we recommend sticking to shorter floats to maximize your time out on the water. Both Nymphing and Streamer fishing have been producing well lately, with nymphing being your best option. As far as nymphing, egg patterns, zebra midges, small rubberlegs, and other small attractor nymphs are all good bets. For streamer fishing, small clouser minnows, sculpzillas, bellyache minnows, etc.. would all be good choices. As the river continues to cool down, try fishing streamer patterns in the deep, slow water of the river with a fast sinking sink tip or even a full sink line. Midges are about the only thing that can provide dry fly fishing this time of year, but sometimes the midge fishing can be spectacular. Make sure and have an assortment of small midge patterns both nymphs and dries whenever you head out this time of year.
As always, feel free to give us a call at the shop with any questions you may have!
Flow out of Palisades Dam is 1250 cfs. At Heise flow is up to 1700 cfs. It is time for presenting streamers anywhere on the river as browns are migrating to spawning areas. Wading conditions are at their best. During overcast days like today expect good BWO activity just about anywhere on the river. It is cold out there, and water temps are getting into the low 40s and high 30s in degrees F. So dress accordingly.
Flow in the river has been stable for about a week, and fishing has been good. After this weekend we are headed for a few days of not so nice weather, and that should make for better BWO activity. The same applies to success with streamers. Stormy weather with low light conditions is when browns tend to migrate during daytime hours, but early mornings and evenings will remain the best times to present streamers. A few mahogany duns remain, so consider giving patterns for their life cycle a try. Some hoppers also remain in sheltered grassy areas and banks. Walk-in wade fishing is particularly good now, and the choice of places to try is best of the year by far. Come to the shop for a visit to discuss which location may be a best choice.
The South Fork is fishing very well right now. With the cooler temperatures the fish are very active and with the flows around 1880cfs, the river is very accessible. On overcast days the streamer fishing has been great. Patterns like the sculpzilla and Galloup’s Peanut Envy in black have been the most productive. On the overcast days, the Blue winged olives have been hatching and providing some great late season dry fly fishing. Various BWO patterns have been producing, come down to the shop and we can get you squared away with the patterns you will want to have. If you happen to get out on a sunny day, the nymph fishing has been really good with a small rubberlegs and dropper like a zebra midge, san juan worm, or egg pattern. Be sure you are getting your nymphs right along the bottom! Streamer fishing has been okay on the sunny days, but it usually doesn’t turn on until later in the afternoon.
This is a great time of year to fish the river! As always, if you need any help with access points, flies, etc…. give us a call or stop in at the shop and we will get you set up!
Flow out of Palisades Dam is 2250 cfs and will go lower. So walk-in wade fishing becomes increasingly practical (we can help with choosing locations). For the next few days when stormy weather is expected, BWO life cycle patterns will produce exceptionally well almost anywhere on the river. Currently that is the case, so strongly consider a visit during this weather! Better weather favors mahogany duns, but this is the time of year when streamers are most effective. The wise fly-fisher will always carry them in somber shades such as olive and black and colorful ones from yellow, ranging into the UV end of the spectrum to purple. Don’t over look streamers in white. Low light conditions will be best time for presenting streamers of any color.
Flow out of Palisades Dam is now at 3000 cfs. That makes for terrific wading conditions in the river below, and we can help pinpoint candidate locations when you get in touch or visit the shop. Lately the South Fork offers some of the best fishing of the year. Another round of stormy weather is expected the end of next week, so get ready for some good BWO and mahogany dun activity then. Be sure to have streamer patterns handy. As a matter of inconvenience, Kelly Island Campground is closed because of the government shutdown.
Mahogany duns and BWOs are making for some of the best top water fishing of the year here. The weather is ideal for these mayflies to hatch, crowds are down, fall colors are coming on, and flow out of Palisades Dam has been hovering around 5000 cfs for a week making for great walk-in wading conditions. All this adds up to a great time to visit this best of rivers. Come in for a visit and to get information on some of the best locations .