Little help from the Idaho guys? Sinktip? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Little help from the Idaho guys? Sinktip?

Todd Ripley
08-03-2005, 09:37 PM
Well, here's the deal...this diehard steelhead fisherman only trout fishes a few times per's got to be something special to get me off a steelhead river...and that something special is coming up this weekend.

Through the course of sharing a beer with a local guide, a buddy of mine in Big Sky, Montana, was told of a fishing area on the Henry's Fork that does not get its fair share of pressure.

Somewhere or another, there's a rather large waterfall, something like 80 feet, so obviously no boats are coming down that...below the falls is an eight mile stretch with only three access points...a takeout at mile 8, a rough takeout at mile 5...and a quarter mile rockslide down to the river just below the waterfall.

This guide has belayed a driftboat down that slide a couple of times, and experienced, in his own words, the best trout fishing he's ever had. This guy guides on the Henry's, Snake, Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Madison Rivers, so he knows what good fishing is. The last time he slid the DB down, he swore it would be the last...I guess it's not good for your health the way they were doing it!

Anyway, my buddy and I will be dropping my 12 foot pontoon boat down the slide on Monday morning, and fishing the eight mile run...

Here's where I need help.

I pretty much would rather catch two fish on dries, rather than five on nymphs, so I'll be fishing hoppers, or whatever else I see buzzing around. Am I too late for the salmon fly hatch? Any other bugs I should be aware of this time of year up there?

If I'm getting schooled too badly by my buddy, who actually likes to fish strike indicators and nymphs, I'll probably have to switch over to that, too. Any ideas on particular nymphs?

What about streamers? The fish are reportedly pretty good size...averaging in the mid-teens, up to 24"...

Thanks in advance, guys...if I survive the put in and the canyon stretches, I'll post a report when I return!

Fish on...


08-03-2005, 10:43 PM
Sounds like fun! Reminds of when I used to belay my Driftboat into the canyon below the Aldwell dam on the Elwha. The first few years of Summer Run Steelhead plants were awesome and nobody else wanted to put out the effort!
Those were the days when I would start at Ediz Hook for "Mooching Kings" Float from the Dam to the One way bridge and take the afternoon off. Then float from Soldiers bridge to Lake Aldwell for resident Rainbows while barbequeing something dead on the bow of the DB.
One day as a Firefighter and two as a Fishbum what a life for a young fellow! :smokin:
Sounds like a little bit of "Outwardbound" exposure for Todd :)


08-03-2005, 10:50 PM
Just throw anything big and dry like Green Drakes, Giant (yellow)Hex's, or anything big in the various shades of Stimyes(sic). Personaly I have never been where you are going but I have been to plenty of "similar" places, just stay up, and big, keep the faith (with apoolgys to Rafael Palmero). :D

Todd Ripley
08-03-2005, 11:31 PM
Thanks, Moonlight...I've got a few of my summer run skaters to try even. So far as attractors and semi-attractors, I've got Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddises, a handful of Parachute Adams, and some Royal Wulffs...I'm hoping to find my favorite kind of know, big, hungry, and stupid.

Thanks again!


08-04-2005, 12:30 AM
Todd the only big fishes I ever caught were stupid and they all had one thing in common they had never been acquainted with another angler. You know when you get right down to it maybe thats why most of us like Steelheads! Get The Green Drakes!!!! Trust me its more important that Salmon Flys.

08-04-2005, 05:49 AM
Todd -

You might consider picking the brain of Ed Link and Dan Hurzeler, two guides in that area who have a mastery of both the trout fishery and fall steelhead on the Snake and Salmon R. Ed posts under the name "link" (PM handle) and I can't remember Dan's handle but his phone # is 208-557-0333. Ed might be running whitewater tours this time of year which is impressive since he's like 103 or something yet svelte and smokes like a chimney :lildevl: :lildevl: (I might live to regret that joke)

These are two guys I've had the pleasure of fishing with that I can say personify the hardcore western trout and steelhead guide in every respect.

I hope to be heading back that way again this fall if things work out.

08-04-2005, 09:06 AM

You mean you know what a fly rod is! :cool: In the 80's I guided a few times below the falls, mostly on the RR Ranch though. Hoppers in August are hot but they must not be your run of the mill hoppers. Though these fish are not pounded like above the falls they do get a lot of pressure and can be very selective. If I was you I would tie up a bunch of seal fur ants in size 16, 18 and 20. You can get artificial seal fur at most fly shops. Fly shops if you are not familiar with them are where one spends lot's of money for wonderful things. Seal fur ants work throughout the day and fish like them wind or no wind. Remember hoppers won't work unless there is a good afternoon breeze. There are many types of ant flies from foam bodies with hackels to your standard fly shop types but there is something about seal fur ant that these fish you will be fishing can't resist. There Todd I have given you a secret I rarely give out but you have done too many good things for Steelhead and you deserve to out fish your buddy and catch a couple of 24 inch or bigger non going ocean steelhead. Contact me if you need more info on how to tie some up. Also there will be some great spinner falls early and strong caddis activity late evening. When you start getting buzzed by bats on every cast your going to see active fish just before dark taking emerging caddis.
Good luck, don't stay out of the bars and watch out for colorful local spud heads both male and female. It's a great place but you truely are in a different country below the falls.

Todd Ripley
08-04-2005, 09:13 AM
Thank you gentlemen, and also to the couple of folks who PM'd me some information...I'm off in about half an hour for Bozeman, then to Big Sky, and then fishing on Monday...I'll try to take a pic or two!

Fish on...


08-04-2005, 10:17 PM
You rotten, flea bitten, one eared, three legged coyote! You know that I'm only 9 months older then you are.

I just spoke with Dan. He said hoppers were hot. Also, chernoble ants, stimulators and madam X. Watch out for Suprise Falls. At this water level, run it river right. Dan said that he has flipped there twice.

It's a very steep mountain side. You'll need a good climbing rope and several carabiners. Put the boat in the back of the pickup and back up to the drop off. Attach the 'biners to the trailer hitch and run the rope through them. Tie one end of the rope to the boat. Throw the rest of the rope over the cliff. Have Juro rappel down the rope to the bottom. Tell Juro to tie the other end of the rope to his leg and then throw the boat out of the pickup!

Have a great time.


08-04-2005, 10:47 PM
Ed -

Great to hear from you! I knew I couldn't escape your sharp eye and wit ;)

You guys sure live in some beautiful country out there, driving over the pass was pretty close to spritual in that midnight blizzard. I envy Todd.

I hope Dan and yourself keep us all up to date with the fishing through the season.

Hey what was the name of that Mexican restaurant? Almost as good as the elk steaks by the river.

Todd Ripley
08-10-2005, 09:55 PM
Thanks for all the help, fellas...since I'm writing this on Wednesday, obviously I survived the trip on Monday.

The "quarter mile trail" was more like a 1000 yard mountain side, but was surprisingly easy to get the boat down, with me and Pat taking turns holding the rope, with the other controlling the boat. A couple of tourists from Iowa were so interested in seeing this done they actually followed us all the way down, videotaping us as we went.

With minimal bumps and bruises, and no damage to the boat or the gear, we got in the water about half an hour after starting down the slide.

I mainly fished a hopper with a lightning bug dropper, and that was good for half a dozen fish between fifteen and nineteen buddy fished an indicator, with some rubber legged monstrosity below it, with another lightning bug dropper. He was also good for half a dozen fifteen or over, including a dandy about 21" that ate the rubber legged monstrosity.

We caught too many eight to twelve inchers to count, and a dozen or so whitefish to boot.

All were rainbows, except for one small brown I caught at the mouth of the Warm River.

No pics of the fish, as we were either foot fishing, with the camera in the boat, or one of us was rowing while the other fished, so no pics...I've got a few of us putting the boat in, though, and I promise it's a lot steeper in person than it is in the pics!

I'll post a few of that when I get a chance.

Also, here's a little shout out to Mitch at the Orvis Shop in Island Park...all his advice was right on the money, and he was a nice guy, too. All of your advice was good, too, guys...we caught fish on hoppers, ants and caddises on the surface, and pretty much any dark colored bead head in size 16 or 18 worked well below.

I had to work on Saturday and Sunday in Bozeman, but that didn't stop us from fishing every day, anyway. We got half a day on the Madison at the slide and between the lakes on Friday, and fished the Gallatin Thursday night, and Saturday and Sunday evenings, in addition to the Henry's Fork all day Monday.

Fish were very cooperative everywhere we went, but we bucked the crowds and fished the buckets behind the boulders in the heavy water everywhere we went, while everyone else fished shoulder to shoulder in the "magazine shot" holes. Checking in with a few of the tourists in the shops and bars proved that fishing the heavy water during the dog days is a lot more productive than the pretty runs, to say the least.

Over all the days of fishing we only caught three browns, and two cutts, and the rest were rainbows. My biggest Thur-Sun was a beautiful nineteen incher on the Madison, just before dark, on a size 20 parachute caddis...with 7x tippet and a four weight rod, it seemed a lot like chasing a steelhead down the river!

Fish on...