Here is a little video of a giant stonefly we found crawling around on Stump Creek. Stump Creek doesn’t have a large giant stonefly hatch but there are few that come out in the first weeks of June. Stump Creek does have a large hatch of small golden stoneflies (size 16-18) that also hatches in the first few weeks of June. Fly fishing with adult stoneflies is a blast if you can hit the hatch just right. Here is a good description of stoneflies and their entomology: http://www.flycraftangling.com/index.asp?p=124.
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.
This last weekend I spent hiking and fishing at a couple of lakes near Leadore, Idaho. We camped at what I call “No Name Lake” (because the map does not reference a name), a small lake nestled below some of the impressive Lemhi range mountains. No Name is full of native cutthroat trout which range from the 4″ to 16″. I have seen a few bigger fish taken out of this lake but based on the number of campers/backpackers, No Name is no longer a secret. Fishing pressure and keeping the larger fish has taken a toll on the bigger fish. However, I did land two beautiful 16″ inch cutthroats as well as a couple of 14″ cutthroats.
I was fishing with my spinning rod, a clear plastic bubble, and flies. At first I tried wet flies and caught a few on bead headed woolly worms (green was the best) but overall it was pretty slow. I ended up catching three small cutts.
Friday morning we hiked over the mountain to Yellow Lake. Fishing was relatively slow at Yellow Lake. I caught three 12″ rainbows. One on a size 12 black gnat and two on a size 4 bead headed woolly worm (green).
Friday afternoon changed things for me. I noticed the fish jumping and just happened to have a size 16/18 black bodied mayfly land on my arm. So of course I switched over to a the closed thing I had…a size 18 parachute adams. I drained my bubble to 3/4 so it would float and threw it out for a test run. First cast resulted in a nice 12″ cutthroat. After about 6 fish I finally caught a hefty 16″ cutthroat. The water was so clear that I was able to watch him take the fly about 20 yards out. I ended up catching over 10 trout with this set up.
I went back out later that night and after a very slow start finally found the right fly…a size 16 yellow bodied elk hair caddis that was similar in color and size to some golden stoneflies that I noticed flying around. I ended up catching 7 fish on the caddis, one was another 16″ cutthroat that I watched sneak up from the bottom and take it off the surface.
The fishing wasn’t the hottest but after 30+ fish I definitely call it a success. No Name and Yellow Lake are amazing high mountain fisheries and should be visited by any lover of trout fishing.