On the subject of fish health in the forks... I did see a 15+ inch fish last night casually swim 10 ft from me, along with two other 12+ inchers, with one of these probably being bigger but I could only clearly see the chrome belly. I was stunned. I've caught thousands of little guys and a few dozen 10-12" up there, but these three fish all feeding together were the 3 biggest I've ever seen on the forks ... And they were all in the same pool.
That being said, I saw some kids bonk a few 6-8 inch fish up by thinkham. Regs are nice but following them is the issue. On a fishery like the forks I think "getting off the beaten path" is quite important
Last year was the first year in a long time that I did not catch a +12 inch fish on the SF. It was an off year for me. A friend who frequents the same section of the river slayed them and was into large fish every time out. Go figure. His theory last year was big dries with legs.
I have only been out once to the SF so far and landed the largest fish I have every caught or so it seemed on the 2wt fish was in the 16 inch class.
But in a weird way I'd prefer to not know. Something about finding and exploring shit on my own up there is half the fun (if not more). In 50 years I'll be Old Man 2.0 on here talking about the good old days up on the forks
Just curious tho, have you been nymphing a bit for some of those hogs? Each time I go up there I tell myself I should nymph some of the pools more often (I have success with prince's, GRHE's, zug bugs, etc) but man...throwing dries out there on the new 2wt is just way too much fun to pass up. Each trip that I don't run into a larger forks fish I get that feeling that I shoulda nymphed more.
I usually avoid nymphing like the plague but I've been using a small, none weighted dropper (#18/20) with a lot of success this Summer, here and when I was in Yellowstone earlier in the month. When nothing is flying around I guess you got to do something to change things up. So in the morning this has been particularly working great. Then when I see things start to flutter around late morning (e.g. small tan/pale caddis last couple of times out) I change to that. Later in the afternoon, slightly larger stimulators have been working.
Also the key to success today in getting both those bigger guys was fishing the very edge of the tail out first and then dragging the fish sitting there out of the pool before it alarmed the big guys farther up the small pool.