2010 Fishing Report.
leaving Quartzsite the first fishing stop of the spring 2010 was the San
Juan River, Navajo Dam, NM, which has to be one of my favorite rivers to
fish. It is a medium sized tail water river, not to big, not to small,
easy to wade at normal stream flows, dependable fishing most of the time.
Its also very technical fishing, long leaders, very fine 5 and 6x tippets,
ultra small flies, #24, 26, and even #28's, with only very limited dry
fly action, most of the fishing is done with a micro shot and a float indicator
(fancy name for a bobber,, but don't call it that or the locals and guides
will be offended)
that said, you can catch lots of fish and some of those will be very large.
The staff at Abe's is always glad be of assistance, there are two other
fly shops in town and numerous guides if you feel the need for extra attention
or want to have a boat.
area above the Texas Hole, and the Simon Canyon access are my favorite
portions of the San Juan. I also count it as a victory every time I get
one of those tiny flies tied on to my tippet, # 24 flies 6x tippets and
2010 summer tour of points West and North has been a success. We left the
warm water streams of the mid west in early August, and after pilgrimage
to the original Cabela's, in Sidney, NE. we began to search for Fly Waters.
Main stem of the Snake River below Palisades dam was a disappointment,
The river is very large, with steeply eroded and overgrown banks, dangerous
to even try to wade fish in the deep channels and swift current. After
a few days we moved on.
Henry's Fork of the Snake river and its tributaries is considered sacred
fly water by the many writers for the fly fishing magazine industry, but
our first stop at Rexburg, ID was far from special.
the river leaves the Island Park Cladera if is immediately diverted by
the many irrigation channels in the valley. By the time it reaches Rexburg
the Henry's fork is a slow moving warm water stream, not conducive to fly
fishing. We moved on after a few days, after all when you can't find a
Liquor store there has to be something wrong..
Henry's fork and tributaries in Island Park are a hallowed place to many
fly fishers. The streams get a lot of fishing pressure, but you can still
catch fish. I found that a small caddis fly size 18 to 20 worked well.
It is a joy to fish in the Henry's Fork in the Mack's Inn the current is
gentle, the bottom is solid and sandy and the river is not overly deep,
you can with care wade almost everywhere. The only problem is to avoid
being run down by the many tubers, hoards of tubers, rafters, canoes and
other water craft. I would wait till evening to fish and most of the riff
raff would have gone home for the day.
portions of the Henry's Fork above the Mack's Inn area are restricted,
closed or private so know where you are and what the regulations are. We
did not Fish much below Mack's Inn, but there are areas along the road
and areas more secluded that you can hike into, all of which should be
good fishing. The local fly shops are most accommodating posting the current
hatches and hot flies, of course they want you to come in and buy those
same flies, but I prefer to tie my own. In the town of Island Park there
is an Orvis Fly shop along with several others. You can also get information
from the fly shops in West Yellowstone, such as Bud Lily's.
also had good luck on the Buffalo River above the Buffalo Campground. With
the river running on the south edge of the campground the easily accessed
areas get lots of fishing pressure, but go a few hundred yards upstream
and I found lots of very willing cutthroat trout to catch.
were a week early to attend the Federated Fly Fishermen conclave in West
Yellowstone, MT. But have in the past gone through the Museum they maintain
there. I will have to keep the conclave dates in mind next time we travel
through the area.
spent a week at Mack's Inn and I caught fish every evening. Some days were
better then others, but
caught fish, not in huge numbers, and some times not huge in size, but
every fish caught is a good fish, and every hour fishing is better than
any other alternative. We finally moved on, the vast unexplored (by us)
reaches of the west beckoned.
left Island park for points west by going North into Montana, through Ennis
and Twin Bridges, MT.
through the river valleys of the Madison, Jefferson and Beaver Head Rivers.
At Twin Bridges, MT. We missed the opportunity to tour the R L Winston
Fly Rod Factory, did not know it was there and could not get Ron to want
to stop, so on we went.
are lots of rivers in Montana, and excellent access to the rivers, you
can traverse any river as long as you stay below the high water mark. The
problem is not so many fish, the Montana DNR likes to advertise you will
be fishing for “Wild” fish, translation, we don't stock any fish so what
you find is what you find and you'll have to work hard for it, or pay for
a guide and boat.
Year in our travels through Mt. I had my best fishing on an ignored little
road side stream east of Great Falls, MT. Streams such as the fabled Blackfoot
river were busts, not only for my self, but every person I talked to. Could
blame it on the weather, to hot, low stream flows, but mostly on heavy
fishing pressure, and not enough fish put into the system.
Idaho at Bannock Pass we were in the Lemhi River valley. The Lemhi River
looks like a nice little stream, only 15 feet or so across, with heavy
irrigation diversions, but still a nice stream, lots of willow to tangle
your fly and a heavily cobbled bottom, not the easiest wading. I did not
get to fish the Lemhi due to an inner ear infection that was affecting
my balance. There were three fisheries biologists from Challis, Id in the
campground, and they went out every evening for a bit, never did get a
report from them.
the Lemhi river North we arrived at the the town of Salmon, ID. Lots of
emphasis on white water river rafting, but no fly shop in town. My first
hint. At the campground my second hint at the quality of fishing was the
complete lack of fishermen's trails and paths along the river. The final
word on the matter was delivered by a fisheries biologist a couple days
later that the river gets to warm for trout, and that the only time to
fish the river would be in the fall winter and spring for the steelhead
and salmon runs.
years ago I had fished the salmon river further upstream, above Challis
towards the headwaters, and found it to be a nice stream to fish, but the
fishing was a little on the slow side and I only caught smaller fish, steelhead
and salmon smolts.
Lochs River is now my most favorite stream to fish. We stayed at the Jerry
Johnson campground, not far from the access/trail head for the Jerry Johnson
hot springs, and I had the best fishing I have had in a very long time.
The local Cut Throat trout were abundant and very willing to take a fly,
many of the fish were also very respectable in size the largest fish taken
were in the 18” range, and had a healthy girth to them.
the Lochsa you might as well leave your waders in the camper, the current
is very swift and the cobbles are large enough that wading can be dangerous.
The biggest challenge is to find a way down the very steep highway embankment,
a rope might be handy to help climb into and out of the river and up to
selection or size did not seem to make very much of a difference, a dry
fly fished dead drift over the right spot in the stream and you had a fish.
I did use mostly #14 caddis fly patterns, but also used stimulators, adams,
parachute adams, and they all worked—You can catch em on anything--! :
Lochsa is also easy to get to, the highway parallels it from Powell Junction,
Id all the way to the rivers junction with the Selway to form the Clearwater
River. Catch and release fishing, single barbless hooks.
not so lucky on the Selway, different regulations, more fish removed, so
fewer fish to catch. Same tactics as the Lochsa, but much easier to wade,
and get to, the highway embankments were much lower. The Selway is also
a bigger river, when wading pay attention to your surroundings. The fly
fishing sites that extoll the virtues of the Selway all are talking about
points very far from the end of the road with access via river rafts from
the headwaters, a horse back ride or very long hike.
Clearwater River below the Lochsa and Selway rivers did not get fished,
my inner ear/balance thing was acting up. In talking with the fisheries
biologist that I ran into in our travels I was told that the stream is
fished primarily for Steelhead Trout and Chinook Salmon. There is a huge
federal hatchery Below Orofino, ID. When we were at Orofino in late September
the Steelhead were just starting to arrive, or expected. The Steelhead
fishermen were there waiting and hoping.
fishing is a whole nother form of fly fishing and I do not yet understand
it, sinking or monofilment lines and large streamers. I am used to Dry
Fly or Nymphs on a floating line, will need to latch on to a mentor or
face a very steep learning curve. Of course neither Ron not I want to be
in the north for real steelhead weather, November, wet, cold.
final stop on the 2010 fall fishing tour was White Bird, ID. On the Salmon
River. As on the Selway the Steelhead were anticipated. The River is very
large, I would not advise trying to wade where we were at. I did catch
a few small trout, along with a couple of what I think are salmon smolt.
are Currently setting in an Idaho Power Co campground below C J Strike
Dam south of Mountain Home, ID. There were lots of fishermen out over the
weekend, heavy spinning and baitcast rods, and dead minnows fished on the
bottom for sturgeon. It was relayed to me that there were actually two
sturgeon caught and released over the weekend that were in the 8'0” range---really!
Also there are lots of carp splashing the backwater below the spillway.
For the daily blog posts
about the areas Terry is talking about go to the below INDEX
See the links for dates
Aug. to Oct. 2010
where we are at right now. DataStormUsers
map ID 98
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