Last Friday on the Snake River, I tried something new – fly fishing in November. I typically quit fly fishing in September but the beautiful November weather motivated some end of season fishing. We fished on the Snake River below American Falls dam near Eagle Rock. The fishing was pretty slow and the water was really low. It is rare when you can walk across the Snake River without getting into water deeper than you ankles but Friday was one of those times. We did catch a couple of 14-15″ rainbows on minnow imitations and I lost a 20″+ rainbow trout on a brown freshwater shrimp.
This stretch of the Snake River had a stretch of lava rim rock waterfalls that spanned the entire river. Regretfully, with the water so low, only a few of the runs below the falls had enough water to hold any fish. There were some other fisherman so we were limited to fishing two one main run and few smaller ones. This was my first time fishing this part of the Snake River. I will have to go back and try some different spots.
Freshwater Shrimp – Brown – Size 14 – Orvis Oliver Edward’s Freshwater Shrimp, 14
Franke Shiner Minnow Imitation – Size 4 – Orvis Franke Shiner, 4
Last Friday I was able to spend a day fishing Wyoming’s Green River near Pinedale, Wyoming. Although the fishing was a little slow, fishing the Green River was a great experience. I landed 4 Brown Trout that were all above 18″ and one that was in the 22″ range and probably weighed 3 pounds. Our guide, Travis Taylor (https://snakeriverangler.com/guides/), did a great job and was enjoyable to fish with. Travis had a good knowledge of the river and how to fish the various pockets of water. The big browns were mostly hanging out in shallow water searching for the meal of the day. There were a lot of Mountain Whitefish in the Green River and we were able to catch some of these bottom dwellers with dry flies.
For most of the day, a yellow sally foam imitation (small golden stonefly hatch) produced to most hook-ups but we did catch some on some hopper/crane fly foam imitations. From the casings on the shoreline rocks, we missed a decent stonefly hatch by about 3 weeks.
Saturday morning, at one of the Green River public access points, I caught one more 20″ brown on a green bead head woolly worm. We never say another fisherman on either section of the Green River. I can’t even imagine the battle that occurred on the South Fork of the Snake River. It looked like there were over 100 drift boats on the river as we drove by headed for home. I will take the solitude of the Green River over the South Fork battle any day.
We also fished a little on the Hoback River as we traveled back home. In one hole I hooked up with 8 Snake River Cutthroats. Two were 14″ cutthroats but the rest were in the 8-10″ range. The Hoback River is beautiful but a little too flat for my liking. There were only a few runs/holes deep enough to hold the trout.
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.
Last Friday, after spending a little of time on Court in Malad, Idaho, I drove over to Weston Reservoir to spend a few hours fishing. I arrived about 12:00 pm which is a little late in the day for fishing but the Solunar calendar indicated that there was a Minor time for fishing between 1:00 and 2:00. For the first hour everything was really quiet and I was able to catch just one rainbow trout on a size 6 brown bead head woolly bugger. About 1:30 the fishing picked up and I caught 8 rainbow trout in about 30 minutes of fishing. I caught all of these rainbows either on a double renegade or single renegade. I had quite a few more strikes where I wasn’t able to hook up with the fish. I was just happy that I out-fished the two guys with Power-bait.
Weston Reservoir also has Bluegill, Yellow Perch, and Smallmouth Bass. I saw some 12-16″ Smallmouth bass cruising the shore line but they didn’t show any interest in any of the flies tossed in their direction.
Brown/Olive Woolly Bugger – Bead Head
Double Renegade, size 12
Renegade, sizes 12-14