Thanks as always for checking in on our weekly fishing report for the South Fork of the Snake River. This week lodge manager, Justin Hays, met with the Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho Fish and Game as well as the Bureau of Land Management, so we have a few good updates for you.
Bureau of Reclamation run-off update: We have to give the BOR lots of credit for their preparation and planning for this years run-off event. Currently the snowpack above Palisades reservoir sits at 163% above average. The BOR has drawn Palisades down to just 8% capacity in order to “catch” all the snowmelt. They have done extensive modeling on the current snowpack to try to anticipate flows out of Palisades. Their goal is to keep flows between 16,000 cfs and 20,000 cfs from now through mid-June, and hopefully no higher than 20,000 for the season. However even they admit that the weather is still in control, many factors are in play from rain, more snow, even humidity could contribute to the current plan going awry.
Fish and Game update: The IDFG reports from their annual shocking surveys that the trout population in the South Fork is stable at 3,800 fish per mile and a pretty even split of 33% Cutthroat, 33% Rainbow, and 33% Brown Trout on the upper section of the South Fork. IDFG’s goal is to bring the Rainbow population down to 5% of the total population and they continue to encourage anglers to keep rainbow trout through their Angler Incentive Program, where over 1,400 rainbows are currently tagged with a cash reward up to $1,000. You can learn more about the program here. One other note from the IDFG regarding the current rainbow population, overall average size is up, so keep your eyes peeled for some monster rainbows this year.
Bureau of Land Management update: Justin has been talking to the BLM about “Emergency Waters.” In the past, during a major flood event, the BLM has granted outfitters access to “Emergency Waters” to guide on. Should the need arise we may be granted access to guide on other area waters and/or have more slots available on the upper south fork where fishing is generally more consistent and safe during high flows. The good news is if the BOR’s modeling is accurate this won’t be necessary.
This weeks fishing report: Both Jaason and Josh have been guiding all week. Visibility is around a foot or so and they’ve had good success with beginner anglers catching around a dozen fish per day and experienced anglers catching 30 or more fish. They have been nymphing exclusively and have had best success fishing large stonefly nymphs with a big san juan worm as a trailer. Both Josh and Jaason were nervous with the cold, off-color water but as we’ve seen in past years the fish are eating, you just have to go down and get them! Big strike indicators, big weighted flies, and split shot are your friends.
Both the fly shop and lodge are now open so swing by the shop for the hot flies and up to minute reports or feel free to just give us a call before you hit the river. 208-483-2222