I was invited to help teach a “How to row a drift boat” class for Eastern Idaho Technical College. It was a two day coarse, each Saturday for the last two weeks. The first Saturday we floated from Warm River to Ashton on the Henry’s Fork. This is a good stretch for beginners, with just a couple rocks to dodge, but mostly slow water and some good eddies to practice pulling over. Everybody did well and several people even caught some fish.
This last Saturday was the real test, we decided to up the ante a bit by floating from the Dam to Conant on the South Fork with flows near 17,000 cfs. It’s really not dangerous, in fact several of the students commented that once they were out there it wasn’t that bad. But you do need to pay attention as the river is moving much quicker than you realize. Everybody did well and we had fun exploring some side channels and big back eddies. It’s a pass/fail class and you know you are failing if your guide gives you the ‘tap out’. Pulling out at the Conant boat ramp proved difficult for some students as the water was really cranking by.
The water is still quite clear on the upper stretch and the nymph fishing is suprisingly good. Mysis Shrimp continue to produce below the dam (my Dad hammered them on Friday…even my Mom caught a fish!) and nymphing the riffles on the upper proved effective for several students and their “professor’s”.
Flows will continue to be high until the Bureau of Reclamation decides they have made enough room in Palisades reservoir to catch the big run off this year. Snow in the high country continues to accumulate not melt, so its good that they are making the room now. We would all rather have high flows now than say 4th of July weekend right when the Salmon Flies are peaking?
We will keep you updated.
Chris ‘Jigidy’ Jensen