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.
On Saturday I went fishing to Stump Creek in Eastern Idaho. The water was still a little high and off color. Worse than the water…not a single hatch of any kind on the creek. It was a little weird to be on a creek without any bugs flying around. I was still able to catch 11 trout, mostly 6-10″ cutthroats with one 14″ brown.
Top flies for the day were a size 14-16 beadhead hare’s ear, a size 4-6 beadhead black and red wooly bugger, and a size 4 muddler minnow for the brown. I fished all the flies with split shot about 10-14 inches above the fly.
Here are a couple of pictures of the fish and the Stump Creek Valley:
Hook: Size 2-10
Bead: Brass bead head sized to fit (can be tied without a bead but the weight is nice)
Weight: 6-10 wraps of lead wire
Thread: Tan 8/0
Tail: Mottled turkey wing
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Under wing: Grey squirrel tail hair, orange Marabou, pearl Krystal Flash (in order)
Wing: Mottled turkey wing, paired
Head/Collar: Spun deer hair (natural color), trimmed cone head style)
The Muddler Minnow is a great all around streamer for most Idaho streams and rivers. The Muddler is especially effective in the Salmon River Drainage when fishing for trout (i.e. 24+ inch Bull Trout). I have also caught fish in the Snake River Drainage on Muddler Minnows.