Report 5/11/12

Good news friends; Things are really starting to warm up here in the Caldera. The remaining snow is hardly noticeable, trees are budding & the grass in front of the shop already needs a cut. Old man Winter is gathering the last of his things as the warmer spring days send him packing. I’d like to say we’ll miss him, but he’ll be back soon enough. The local critters are back as well. The meadows are alive with Elk, Deer & Antelope. The Osprey are here and tuning up their roosts as well….in between sparring sessions with the local Bald Eagles for the best fishing beats. A few of the TroutHunter guides we’re fortunate enough to come across a wounded Osprey [HERE] last weekend in the Box Canyon. The little lady was grateful as they wrapped her up, floated her back to Last Chance & delivered her to the Raptor Recovery center in Jackson Hole WY. Stay tuned to the TroutHunter blog & Facebook page for updates on her recovery. If everything goes well, we hope to release her back in to the Box Canyon soon.

Along with the weather, the fishing is heating up as well. But, with fluctuating weather, comes fluctuating river flows & conditions. When you come to fish, be prepared and open to rapidly changing weather, fishing conditions and bumps in river flows. Here’s a current report:

The Box is currently running at 1,210cfs. Nymphs and streamers are the name of the game in the upper canyon. Fish rubber-legs with small bead-head droppers for consistent action. It’s hard to beat OMP’s Rub-Her-Legs trailed with a #16 red Zebra Midge this time of year. When the novelty of bird-dogging a bobber gets old, rope up one of Gaffney’s Box Canyon Double Bunny’s and have your way with those rambunctious Box Rainbows. This pattern fishes best on a short-stout leader in front of a 200-300 grain sink tip. Below the lunch counter, keep your eyes open for Baetis & March Browns. On the right day, either of these two bugs can literally blanket the water. A well presented HOH Para-Cripple or Biot emerger will most often turn the trick. A few Caddis are bouncing around as well.The fishing here will only improve as we move through May and we’ll keep you up-to-date on Salmon-fly activity….. Stay tuned.

LAST CHANCE: When conditions cooperate, the dry fly fishing through Last Chance to the North Ranch boundary can really light up. Come prepared with Midge, BWO & March Brown life cycle patterns. These fish demand a proper presentation, so take your time & cast well my friends. Stop by the shop & browse our kind selection of Harrop flies before heading out on the wide river through the lower end of Island Park.

WARM RIVER TO ASHTON: This fine section of river is really starting to come to life. Reports are coming in of steady hatches of Baetis, Caddis & March Browns. In between working rising fish, nymphing this section is a no-brainer. A rubber-leg bead-head combo is the way to get it done. The streamer fishing here is starting to improve too. Pound the banks with big nasty articulated junk to lure the alpha fish in for the strike…….then hold on. We should start seeing adult Salmonflies here within the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for the big-bugs.

LOWER RIVER: Ashton damn is pumping out 2,780cfs. The river from the Damn to Vernon bridge is closed until Saturday the 26th, but the river from Vernon down is fishing well. Caddis, Baetis & March Brown hatches are keeping the fish….and fisherman busy. Nymph the same set-ups mentioned above in between dry fly action and chucking streamers is always a safe bet on the Lower, so mix it up for bonus opportunities. The river below Chester is dirty from heavy Fall River run-off, streamers will be your best bet if you choose to fish the lower-lower.

Pacificorp is scheduled to begin the Ashton Damn draw down on Wednesday May 9th, was delayed until May 11th. its projected for a 14 day period of increased flows to bring the resevoir elevation back to 5,130’ to complete some work on the damn face. This will affect the fishing, but to what extent? We’ll have to wait & see.
Also, he Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be monitoring fish populations on three sections of the Henry’s Fork this year: Chester to Fun Farm, Vernon to Chester and Box Canyon.

LAKE UPDATE: Island Park, Quake Lake & Hebgen Lake are all ice free. Mixed reports are filtering in, but it sounds like they are all fishing well at certain times with a wide array of flies & presentations. Stripping buggers, leeches and forage fish patterns is a safe bet. Hanging chironomid patterns is always a solid approach on still-waters after the hard-deck dissipates. Henry’s Lake is ice free as well & should be in prime shape for the much anticipated opener on the 26th of May.