If you’ve been out fishing other rivers and streams in the West as well as the South Fork then you know how lucky we are here in Swan Valley. Many rivers and streams across the West are low and warm, many in Montana and Yellowstone have limits on when or even if you can fish. Thanks to Palisades reservoir we’ve got plenty of cold, clear water to keep the bugs hatching and the fish happy. Palisades reservoir is dropping rapidly and currently sits at 54% capacity. Eventually, summer may catch up to us, a lot depends on irrigation demand and weather. The forecast going into the weekend is calling for cooler/wet weather which would be excellent for farmers, fish, and fishermen alike.
The flow out of Palisades reservoir remains at an unseasonably high 16,300 cfs. The historical average since the dam was built is 11,800 cfs. This high water makes the rowing tough and you need to pick and chose where you spend your time fishing. It’s likely that your favorite summertime banks, riffles, and side channels are underwater or running too fast. Focus your efforts on slower water banks, fishing behind logs, rocks, etc. we are finding a lot of fish hiding out of the current.
Prolific hatches of Little Yellow Sallies, PMD’s, and Golden Stones are happening daily from around 10:30 to 4:00. There are still a few errant Salmon Flies fluttering around on the upper river. Dry fly fishing is very good in the middle afternoon at the peak of the hatch in slower-moving foam lines, riffles, back eddies etc. With all the bugs hatching and the high water, we’ve found fish preferring to save their energy and feed subsurface. If you’re in a good spot and catch a few fish on dry flies it’s likely if you run a nymph rig through that same hole you’ll pick up several more fish.
I would expect the fishing to be very good this weekend if the cooler/wet weather materializes. The change in weather should be good for PMD hatches as well as streamer fishing.
Please give us a call or swing by either of our Swan Valley fly shops if you need any tips, shuttles, licenses, flies, or gear. 208.483.2222
Have a great weekend!
If you would like our weekly fishing report delivered right to your email inbox every Thursday afternoon May – October. Sign up HERE.