Well it’s starting to feel like spring might be on its way! While today it’s snowing in Island Park I know it’s raining south of us and there is ground showing in Idaho Falls, Rigby and Rexburg. I would like to see a couple more feet of snow dumped in the high country. We are in better shape than last year but still below average so I will take it! As of today we are at 91% average snow pack. Island Park Reservoir is 82% full and Henrys Lake is at 87%. On the other side of the mountain Jackson Lake is 67% of capacity and Palisade’s reservoir is 58%. Hopefully as we transition into spring we will have significant rain but all in all I think things are looking up.
The fishing in the area has been very consistent! As temps come up through the day look for fish eating midges on the top! I personally really enjoy fishing midges on days when it’s overcast and above 30. Once you find a pod of fish eating on the surface you will have a few hours of nonstop action, a great way to break cabin fever! Also do not forget your streamers! Have a look at Mike’s Blogfor some tips on how to fish streamers this time of the year.
Upper Henry’s Fork
The access to the Henry’s Fork above Mack’s Inn is very difficult unless you have a snow machine or you want to strap on your snowshoes or skis. The fishing is starting to happen with some good trout that have moved up from the reservoir. We’ve even seen some good sized (#16) Blue Winged Olives and tiny black stoneflies as well as lots of midges. If you get the right day you can find some good dry fly action. Check out our Cabin Fever video for a look at this great section of the Henry’s Fork.
Box Canyon/Last Chance
While floating the Box can be done this time of the year I would suggest leaving your boat at home. The flow coming past the shop is only 135 cfs making a float through the canyon difficult at best, not to mention trying to launch a boat or getting it out. The wade access is not an issue and the fishing in the Box has been great. You’re not likely to find fish up eating midges on the top but fishing Zebra Midges #16 and #18s in green, black or red is a good bet. Also #10 or #8 black or brown Rubberlegs will work well fished along the bottom. Streamers fished slowly will also turn a fish or two for you. I am a big fan of Sculpin patterns in the Box Canyon and I always have Mikes Wool Head Sculpins in Olive and Black when in fish the Box. There have also been some decent fish feeding on midges at Last Chance. Look for Blue Winged Olives later this month.
Lower Henrys Fork
From Warm River on down the Henrys Fork is fishing well. Access may still be an issue but I have seen boats being pushed over the snow bank at Ora Bridge and being taken out much the same way at the Vernon Bridge. Also wading down in that area has been good. The trail down to the Ashton Dam is packed down pretty good making access to the river no sweat…until you have to walk back up the hill. If you’re as out of shape as me then plan on sweating! The fish are looking up so watch for rising trout. Also don’t be afraid to throw some Glo Bugs and have a good supply of #10 and #12 brown Rubberlegs. Focus your streamer fishing in the slower moving deeper runs.
Access on the upper end of the South Fork is good. The only boat ramp I would avoid is the Spring Creek Bridge as there is still a lot of snow piled up at that ramp. The Cottonwood access is also closed for big game wintering so I don’t imagine that will be open until April or possibly May. The streamer of the day on the South Fork is a smaller #10 green and white Marabou Jig. Just remember to slow down your presentation. Also fishing smaller nymphs in the deeper water has been very productive. Look for Cutties eating midges in the slower water at the head of pools as well.
The Upper Teton in the basin near Driggs is sort of hit or miss. The water has been a bit off-color but if visibility isn’t too bad you can still catch trout on nymphs or streamers. For streamers I would concentrate on dark black, olive or brown leech imitations fished deep and slow. The lower Teton is in good shape and fishing quite well. Again, your best bet is with streamers or nymphs but keep an eye on the quiet water for rising fish.
The big news for the Madison is that the entire river is now open all year. If I had my choice of places to fish this week, that is where you would find me. The stretch above Reynolds Bridge has been great. Lots of midges and the fish are eating them! A #18 Griffith Gnat will work very well for you. There is not much snow over there but the river is low so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to float.
We still have a great selection of sale items in the shop so stop in if you’re in the area. Also we have a few guides chomping at the bit to get out and do a little rowing. A trip this time of the year is 495.00 and in my mind a guide trip this time of the year is a great experience so give us a call and we will do the rowing for you!