A few weeks ago my friend Jeremy, my dad, my son, and I spent a day fishing on Stump Creek in Eastern Idaho. After a very quiet slow few hours of fly fishing, the early afternoon proved to be very productive as a I caught 20 + fish in about two hours. Jeremy and my dad both caught 10+ trout. The best fly combo was a double Renegade as my top fly and a bead head prince nymph/hare’s ear as my dropper. With this setup I actually hooked two fish at the same time four different times. It was a riot to see two fish at the same time take the flies and then immediately dash in opposite directions. Luckily they were small enough that my line didn’t immediately snap in half. Regretfully I never actually landed both fish. My son Tom had a blast reeling in the fish and fighting them as they darted around in the creek.
I caught a few fish in the 16″ range, a handful in the 12-14″ range and the rest were under 12″. This fish in the afternoon were consistently bigger. We fished an upper section of the creek in the afternoon which may have been the difference. I caught 2 whitefish and the rest were Cutthroat trout. Usually we catch a few nice brown trout in the 14-18″ range.
Stump Creek’s flow was already about a foot low for June which does not bode well for later summer fishing. The Caribou highlands only received about 85-90% of snowpack. Coupled with last years 60%, the area has had two bad winters in a row. The Blackfoot River is also flowing very low – less than its 25% average.
Most of Stump Creek flows on private land so we are grateful to the land owners who do allow fishing access across their land.
Size 6-12 Double Renegade
Size 14-16 Beadhead Prince or Hare’s Ear Nymph
Last weekend my friend Jared Stein and I hit the stonefly hatch on the Henry’s Fork’s Cardiac Canyon. Somehow we were blessed to dodge the thunderstorms that were rolling through the area and were able to have a decent day of fishing. The stonefly hatch was almost at its end in the Cardiac Canyon section but we were still able to catch a few hungry trout. I caught two brown trout in the 18-20″ range and some rainbows in the 15-16″ range. Jared landed a nice brown in the 20″ range along with some rainbows in the 16″ range. We didn’t get into any monsters but the brown trout put up a pretty good fight.
There were quite a few boats that were floating the river but they respectfully stayed on the far side of the river. The boat “ramp” (if you want to call it that) to access Cardiac Canyon is about 1/4 mile drop down a very steep incline so I was surprised to see so many boats on the river. The stonefly hatch motivates fisherman to brave even the most difficult conditions.
I gutted one of the brown trout and checked the contents of its stomach and found it full of adult stonefly nymphs (probably 15-20) and also 2 sculpin. Yes, this brown trout not only was gorging on stoneflies but was also eating other fish in between stonefly meals. It also had what appeared to be crane fly larvae in its stomach. Small crane flies were hatching early in the day. If you fish this section of the river after the stonefly hatch, you may want to bring some muddler minnows and a sinking line to try and catch the larger brown trout.
I caught my fish on a stonefly adult pattern and bead head prince nymphs. Jared caught his trout on an adult stonefly pattern.
Adult Stonefly Patterns (various)
Bead Head Prince Nymph, size 14
Cardiac Canyon is located between Lower Mesa Falls and where the Warm River joins the Henry’s Fork. It is fairly rugged and requires a lot of hiking to get to and from the river. The walk out after fishing all day can be challenging especially at the so called “boat” ramp, which could result in a “Cardiac” event if you are in poor physical condition.
My family and I went fishing on Hawkins Reservoir near Arimo, Idaho last Friday (April 22, 2016). The fishing was pretty slow. My wife caught one 12″ rainbow on a size 12 bead head prince nymph. I spent most of the time rigging kids poles or untying messes so my fishing was pretty limited. We used clear plastic casting bubbles (3-Pack Casting Bubbles 1 1/8″ X 1 3/4″) and a variety of flies – dark colored wooly worms, hare’s ears nymphs, damsel fly nymphs, and prince nymphs. Hawkins is a family friendly fishery that contains rainbow and cutthroat trout and is regularly stocked with rainbow trout. See http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=231 for a stocking schedule.
Size 12 Beadhead Prince Nymph
Fly Fishing on Idaho’s Blackfoot River – Opening Day
Fly fishing on Idaho’s Blackfoot River was excellent on opening day. We didn’t catch a lot of trout (about 10 each) but the overall size of the fish was between 16-20″. My dad landed one 22″ cutthroat and we both lost or lipped at least 3-4 each that were in the 20″ + range. Fishing was the best in the mid morning and gradually declined as the day started to heat up. Most of the fish were caught sub-surface on bead head prince nymphs and smaller sized woolly buggers. Later in the morning I started to catch a few of the larger trout on a blue damsel fly. It was fun to watch the large cutthroats surface to get the damsel fly but I was a little fast on setting the hook a couple of times and missed three large trout.
Here a couple of links to my dad hooking into some nice cutthroats:
Fly Fishing Idaho’s Warm River
I spent this last Saturday fly fishing with my son and dad on Warm River near Ashton, Idaho. We parked at the Bear Gulch parking area and hiked down to the river. It takes about 20 minutes to hike to the river from the parking area.
Warm River is mainly spring fed and isn’t impacted by early season runoff or all of the rain we have been receiving in Eastern Idaho the last few weeks. This makes Warm River an excellent place for early season Idaho fly fishing.
Overall, the fishing was above average for Warm River. I caught 15+ fish – one brown, a few rainbows and a bunch of whitefish. Despite having a few flies on the surface, the fish were taking nymphs fished with a little split shot above the first fly. I caught the majority of the fish on a double renegade/bead head prince nymph combo. My dad had some luck on a smaller adult stone fly pattern fished slightly below the surface.