Nelson's Preseason Fishing Forecast

Mar 26, 2015

I don’t know how many times we’re asked – at fishing shows, on the phone,
and wherever anglers congregate – “How’s the fishing going to be this year?” 

So, gazing into our crystal ball, here’s what we see:

First, the directly observables:

•We’ve had warm dry weather during late winter, so hopes for additional precipitation weren’t realized.  The snow water readings are at 50-75% of normal for this time of year.

•Reservoir holdover storage from last year was quite good, so Henry’s Lake is 100% full and Island Park Reservoir is 90% full and filling.  This means adequate, but low water levels for the first part of the season.

Warm weather and low water generally mean an early start to the seasonal hatches, but unpredictable daily weather can change things from day to day.  Overall, it looks like hatches could be a bit early this year.

Memorial Day weekend comes early this year – May 23-25 – so earlier hatches should be a welcome development for Opening Day and the early season.

Fish numbers in the upper Henry’s Fork were at an extraordinary high in 2013 and declined to close to the historic average during 2014, but the fishing was outstanding, especially with good numbers of big fish.  We hope that the numbers hold steady as there should be plenty of large fish, but the impact of low flows this past winter may have reduced the population somewhat.

On the South Fork, the big reservoirs are 75-85% full and the snowpack close to 90% of normal, so water supply and conditions look more favorable for the season.