October is here and man what a great summer it has been! For me personally it was hard to tear myself away from the ranch. I can tell you that after spending so many seasons on the South Fork that never in my life have I had my ass kicked so many times by these dang rainbow trout! Heck I even had a whitefish snub me a few times. The Ranch definitely has humbled me. While the South Fork will always be a special river to me I am so happy to have landed on the Henrys Fork and surrounding waters. I have been very fortunate to fish in some great trout water around the country and the world but the Henrys Fork is far and away some of the best and most diverse water in the country if not the world. The people that come here are just as diverse. I have met people from all over the planet this summer and it’s been a great experience. I am hoping for a ton of snow this winter and am already looking forward to next summer and seeing old friends and hopefully making a few new ones as well. It’s not time to put the Henrys Fork to bed for the season however. October has been great. Lots of great hatches and relatively mild weather has kept the rivers and lakes very productive in the area.
The Ranch has been very consistent. Great hatches of Blue Wing Olives daily. With the low flows fish are very difficult to approach. They also get in pods so if you spook one the rest will be gone as well. Fishing #20 Nohackles has worked very well. On days when the weather is overcast and the water has a blanket of BWOs try something a little different. A #18 or #20 Parachute Cripple or Hatching May Fly will sometimes do the trick. Long leaders and 6x tippet will also help. There is still a lot of aquatic vegetation in the water so that adds to the challenge. There is very little pressure in the Ranch so finding a spot with open water is not too difficult.
We’ve just received word that the flow from the Island Park Dam will be reduced to 80 cfs by Thursday morning. This will really change the game. First off, floating the Box will be virtually impossible. The best runs can be approached on foot and you can spend more time fishing the good water. Wading the Box is always difficult so having a dry change of clothes is not a bad idea. Streamers and small bead head nymphs should keep you plenty busy. #18 or #20 Zebra Midges have been working well in the box. If you’re not getting good eats right away then add some split shot to make sure your getting along the bottom. #2 Black Meat Whistles have been working as well as #4 olive & gold or olive & silver Lil Kim’s have also been fooling some bigger fish in the box. As always you can never go wrong fishing black or brown #10 and #12 Rubberlegs in the Box.
Lower Henrys Fork
The lower river from Warm River on down has been amazing! Great hatches of Blue Wing Olives have kept fly anglers very happy. Concentrate on fishing backwaters like Chester or the Fun Farm. Look for fish to start rising around 10:00 am and rising throughout the day. #18 Captive Duns and #18 Nohackles have been working very well. Streamers have been working very well between Ora and Chester. Zonkers and Blings are probably your best bet. Fishing Streamers early in the day and then again in the evenings is a safe bet.
The Madison always seems to fish well in the fall. Keep in mind that the Ruby Creek access is currently closed due to construction but everything else is open. I would grab a handful of streamers if I was going to the Madison. Lots of big Brown Trout are eating streamers on the river. One of my personal favorites on the Madison is a Crystal Zonker. Also Olive or Black Meat Whistles have been working well.
The South Fork is a great fishery this time of the year. Current flows are just over 5000 cfs. Focus on riffles and look for BWOs. I have spent entire days on one or two riffles feeding hungry Cutties Nohackles. However don’t count the banks of the South Fork out. Hopper patterns and mutant golden stones will still turn plenty of fish. The River will continue to drop throughout the upcoming weeks and the fish and game will be shocking different sections the river for the rest of the month. To find out dates and where the fish and game will be shocking call the Idaho Falls office of the Idaho Fish and Game or you can also call the shop for a current schedule. As always do not forget your streamers. Casting one of Mikes Wool Head Sculpins at any sunken structure this time of year will almost always turn some bigger fish.
After a long summer of very tough fishing on Henrys Lake things have definitely turned around. Fishing the lake is very good right now and should just get better as we continue into fall. Lots of fish are returning to the State Park boat ramp where they were released and will eat just about anything you put in front of them. Lots of boats as well as wade fishermen are stacked up at the state boat ramp. If you want to get away from that, putting your boat in at the county ramp is a good idea. Head for the Duck Creek outlet. Lots of big brookies will start to stack up in that area and they are aggressive and very beautiful this time of the year. Most leech patters will work as well as pheasant tails and other small nymphs.
Island Park Reservoir is the sleeper that nobody is really fishing. Your best bet is to fish this water early and late when the water is glass. You find pods of trout feeding just below the surface. Pay close attention to the surface and you will see dorsal fins just barley breaking the surface. Cast a #16 Flash Back Pheasant Tail or a #16 Red Lighting Bug right in the middle of these fish and slowly strip it back. I would suggest a tight grip on your rod!
We have been getting some good reports from the park. The Madison is seeing the most pressure with Barnes Pools getting the brunt. If you can get away during the week that’s probably your best bet. Lots of large Brown Trout have been being caught in that area of the Madison. The Firehole has been very good to. Lots of small trout but that’s the name of the game on the Firehole. A great place to introduce a beginner to fly fishing.
The upper Teton has been fishing well this fall. Again I would have a handful of streamers for the Teton. Casting hopper/dropper patterns is a good Idea. Dry fly fishing has been productive with BWOs. The fishing on the lower river has been a little tough with low water conditions but fish that are being caught are on the larger side. Again # 18 Red Zebra Midges below a #8 Sweet Grass Hopper or a #8 Tan More or Less Hopper is a good call.
It’s a great time of the year to be on the water. The fishing pressure is light compared to what you see in the summer and the fishing thus far has been great and will just continue to get better. Also Henrys Fork Anglers is having a great sale so get up here and get up 50% off on clothing Items and see what other deals you can find. Shop hours have changed we are open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday thru Saturday and closed on Sunday. Like I said we have plenty of guides available so give us a call and let us do the rowing for you!