Spring has come early to eastern Idaho, but old man winter continues to surprise us with some snow from time to time. As I have been reacquainting myself with the area over the winter I have been amazed with just how much water we are permitted to guide on! A combination of warm weather, below average snowpack and hungry trout willing to take a fly have created some spectacular days on the river this winter that I will never forget! The crazy part about all this is the best part of spring fishing is still to come! During the spring it is all about watching weather reports, USGS water cfs reports as well as checking in with us at the shop (208)-558- 7525 on the river clarity before you come to fish. Beatis otherwise commonly known as “Blue Winged Olives” or BWO's are starting to make a presence during overcast days and will be the main focus for the next month providing good dry fly opportunities. April through May are my personal favorite months to fish anywhere in the west, few anglers, large hungry trout, and comfortable temperatures for the angler to enjoy the day on the river. Gone mostly are the days of breaking ice out of your guides every third cast! We will be ramping our fishing reports back up over the coming months to weekly fishing reports during our summer fishing season. We are excited that once again that we will be soon fishing with new and old clients that we call our extended family!
Upper Henry’s Fork
Fishing can be very good throughout the spring months in the stretch from the confluence of Henry’s Lake Outlet below Big Springs downstream to Highway 20 at Mack’s Inn. The main problem is access. With the mild winter and spring the access to some of the best places is starting to open up. The water temperature in this stretch is relatively constant due to the proximity to Big Springs. Midge fishing can be very good but look for blue winged olives to get the larger trout focused on the surface. Streamers and nymphs are also productive if you can’t find fish rising. This section of river is also a big spawning area for the trout coming up from Island Park Reservoir, so please leave to fish sitting on their spawning beds alone and focus on the deeper holes holding non-spawning trout. If you don’t know what a spawning bed or otherwise known as a Redd looks like click here to see for yourself.
The water temperature below the Island Park Dam stays constant during the spring months providing good fishing opportunities at any day of the year. Nymphs provide the best fishing. Our favorites include red, olive or brown Zebra Nymphs, Tungsten Flashback Pheasant Tail and smaller black or brown Rubberlegs. Leech and streamer patterns can also produce but you need to swing them or strip with a very slow retrieve. Box Canyon offers a great guiding option with spring conditions. Check out our video of Tyler Treece floating this great piece of water last spring.
Last Chance / Harriman Park
The water from the south boundary of the Harriman Park downstream to Pinehaven is closed to fishing until June 15, 2015. However, the stretch through Last Chance is open year round. We've been seeing some good hatches of blue winged olives, especially on overcast days. Look for these size 18 mayflies in the late mornings or early afternoons, depending upon the weather conditions. It isn’t uncommon to see nice trout feeding on midges on any day of the season. Water temperature can have a major effect on fishing even though it is only 3 miles below the dam. Keep an eye on the weather and if it is not too cold you can find great dry fly fishing. You might need a pair of snow shoes even though the river is only a short distance from the highway. Parking can also be an issue but you are welcome to park in our parking lot or several other businesses close by.
Wood Road #16 – Pinehaven
Fishing is closed from the south boundary of the Harriman East State Park downstream to Riverside Campground until the opening of general fishing season on May 23, 2015.
Access to the Henry’s Fork canyon from Riverside downstream to the confluence at Warm River is not available unless you have a snowmobile. Even then, hiking down to the water in deep snow is very hazardous and not recommended. There is a good snowmobile trail from Bear Gulch up to Mesa Falls that provides awesome winter scenery and is worth the trip even if you don’t fish.
Warm River to Ashton
This stretch can provide great fishing throughout the spring months. However, the water temperature and clarity can fluctuate greatly with the weather. Call the shop on current conditions on the lower sections of the henry’s Fork before you drive up for a day of fishing. Warm River is a spring creek and the water temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much below the confluence. Use the same patterns recommended for Box Canyon. Look for surface activity with blue winged olives in the slicks and back eddys. We have been able to float this water early this year due to the early spring conditions we have had. Small Rubberlegs, Leechs, eggs, midges as well as Beatis nymphs all have been productive in this stretch of river.
Ashton Dam to St Anthony
The tailwater section from the Ashton Dam downstream to the Vernon Bridge is closed for fishing until May 23, 2015. Boat ramps are relatively free of snow allowing access to float the lower sections of the Fork. This is the time of year for Beatis or more commonly known as " Blue Winded Olives". Dry fly fishing opportunities will be best on cool overcast days between 10am and 4pm. Also try nymphing with midges and beatis nymphs before and after a hatch to pickup a few more trout before you see noses poking through the surface. Popular BWO patterns are cdc emergers, parachute Bwo, and the sparkle flag BWO all in size 18 - 20. Other patterns to carry with you are egg patterns, leeches have been very productive. Also keep an eye out for Redds as the Rainbows are starting their annual spring spawn this time of year.
St Anthony to Confluence
Lower snow levels have made the wade fishing accessible. With the warmer than normal weather we have been experiencing the river has stayed relatively ice free. The fishing has started to pick back up in this stretch of the river. Look at the video Down and Dirty we filmed last March. Streamers are still the best options in this section.
Henry’s Fork Tributaries
Fall River is a freestone stream and as such it has started to blow out with the warmer weather and early snow melt this spring. Don’t write it off, however, because I’ve had some fantastic fishing as soon as the water shapes up, usually in mid-April & May. Warm River can produce good dry fly fishing upstream from the Highway 47 Bridge. Remember the water below the bridge is closed to fishing year round. Try Beatis, midge and small streamer patterns.
The fishing season on the Madison is a little complex so we highly recommend you check carefully with the Montana fishing regulations for more detailed information. The section from Hegben Lake Dam to Quake Lake is open year round. The stretch from the Quake Lake Outlet to McAtee Bridge is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May. The Madison is open to fishing year round from McAtee Bridge downstream to the Ennis Bridge. The fishing season is closed to fishing from March 1 until the third Saturday in May from the Ennis Bridge downstream to Ennis Lake. Fishing can be very good in this section between the lakes. Another option is the lower Madison below Ennis Lake around the Bear trap campground to where the highway leaves the river to head to Bozeman. We like Zebra Nymphs, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Skinny Nelson and a variety of other small bead head nymphs. You can also find success by swinging a stream through the deeper runs. Access can be tough because of snow.
The fishing on the Teton has picked up over the last couple of weeks. Fish can be found sipping midges and Beatis in the slack water areas as well as taking small streamers. Midge and Blue Wing Olive patterns, along with long leaders and proper presentation, are the name of the game to catch trout in the upper basin area of the Teton River near Driggs. The upper basin has been off color for the last week due to Fox creek collecting snow melt runnof, but we are still picking up a few trout on small streamers. Also don't forget about the lower river sections from the Old Dam site downstream to the confluence. this water can produce some exciting results this time of year as we found out this last week!. Even during the snow storm on last Monday there were Beatis coming off mid day. A few of our favorite beatis patterns are cdc emergers, parachute Bwo, and the sparkle flag BWO all in size 18 - 20. Streamers on a dead drift as well as slow jigging movements to entice lethargic trout to take your fly is another great option when the fishing is slow.
South Fork of the Snake
There are a number of very good options on the South Fork during the spring months. For wading anglers we recommend you concentrate your efforts near the Heise Bridge or downstream at Twin Bridges. The upper river is also good from the Palisades Dam downstream to the Spring Creek Bridge above the South Fork Lodge. Access can be difficult but if you can find good water you’re likely to find good fishing with nymphs or streamers. Midge fishing can also be very productive. Best fishing occurs on mild overcast days.
Unless you like to fish through the ice wait until the ice goes out in Late April or May. We will be starting to ramp our fishing reports back up as we progress into spring with a report every two weeks, so keep checking in on the ice conditions on Henry’s and Island Park Reservoir. Reminder Henry's Lake is closed to fishing until May 23, 2015
Yellowstone National Park
CLOSED FOR SEASON - Will reopen Saturday of Memorial Day weekend 2015read on