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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

South Fork Snake Update

Well things have finally started to get good out here in Idaho. The water on the South Fork of the Snake is still big at 21,000 cfs but the clarity is now to a green 3 feet of visibility. With the increased visibility the fishing has gotten much better. The last two days on the river has resulted in hooking 30+ trout. Right now it seems like the upper is fishing the best from the Irwin Slide down to the Spring Creek Bridge. The name of the game is still nymphing but yesterday in the canyon I finally saw some suspended fish sipping yellow sallies. The yellow sally hatches have been huge so by next week I think the dry fly game is going to be on. Usually when it starts it is nymphing in the morning and then switching to dries for the afternoon hatch. That game plan lets you stay on more fish throughout the entire day. Right now the hot flies are Rubberlegs (6), Red/Pink San Juans, Lightning Bug(12), and a drowned small Stimulator. The drowned Stimi is to represent a sunken yellow sally. The good news is that things are improving. Tough fishing last week has turned into lots of smiles and trout grabs. It is definitely a relief and much easier to get excited about going fishing. Hope you are all well.

Tight Lines!

Sunday, July 10, 2011 has been a while since I have sent out a fishing report. It seems like time is getting more precious as we try to figure out our new life with baby Maggie. She is growing like crazy, starting to giggle, and becoming much more calm. No doubt there are still lots of sleepless nights but hopefully that will improve with time. These first three months have been an amazing process. I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement as Bonnie and I try to walk our way through becoming parents.

We left for our annual summer to Idaho the third week of June. We were scared of the drive with the 3 month old but we pulled it off in one long day. About 16 hours of driving got us back to our summer home. It was such a blessing that we made it out in one piece. We will be out here through the first week of September and then will be ready to kick off another fall guide season by September 20th.

In this report you will find a detailed report of Western Wyoming/Eastern Idaho Water Outlook, the South Fork of the Snake, Lower Henrys Fork, and openings for fall fishing.


Well there is tons of water out here. According to the locals this is the most snow that they have had in over 100 years. I have heard snow totals from 175-225% of the normal annual precipitation amounts. All of the rivers from Jackson Hole to Idaho Falls are all blown out. The freestone rivers are completely flooded and water is up to the tops of the banks. A local favorite river of mine is called the Salt River. Currently the Salt is so high it has overflowed its banks and is running through hay fields. The tailwaters are still at fishable flows but water clarity is still a big issue. Most tailwaters in our local area are looking at about 10-18" of visibility. The water is not complete chocolate but definitely on the brown side.

If you are planning on coming out this way this summer then I would postpone your trip to at least the third week of July. There is still tons of snow in the mountains. Currently it looks like it normally does in the first of June. So I figure that we are about a month behind from normal water conditions. One great thing is that the late season stuff should be awesome. For those of you that love to come out to the Rockies after the Labor Day crowds should find excellent water conditions and fishing. I don't know what Montana, Western Idaho, or Eastern Wyoming look like but I have to assume things are similar in those parts of the states.

I hope this helps you plan your annual trip.


The South Fork has been really tough this week. The biggest issue here has been both the volume of water and the clarity. Currently the river is running at 24,000 cfs. On the upper stretches near the dam the clarity is 12". Once you get down into the lower part of the canyon the clarity is down to about 8". So needless to say there are not lots of boats on the water. The good news is that the Yellow Sallies, Salmonflies, and PMDS have begun hatching in large numbers. Now the issue is getting the clarity of the water to a state where the fish can see them. Both days on the river we landed 10+ trout and lost several others. But as most of you know for S. Fork standards that is super tough. The hot flies were eggs, san juans, and rubberlegs. Pretty much anything big and buggy will catch fish.

Right now the outlook is by the latter part of July things should get really good. That is when I expect that the Golden Stones and PMDS should be in full swing. The Salmon Fly Hatch this year might be hit and miss due to the water clarity. But truthfully isn't that the way the Salmon Fly Hatch always is. It seems like you are always one week to early or late. That mystical hatch is one of those things where you should have been here last week.

Expect some great late season fishing on the South Fork. As I expect is the same for the rest of the Rockies.


Well right now the only game in the area is the Henrys Fork. The water is a little high on Henrys but the clarity is perfect. It is literally the only clear water for hundreds of miles. The Lodge at Palisades Creek was able to get an emergency permit for the Lower Henrys Fork from St. Anthony down to the confluence. So two days ago I guided my first ever trip down a piece of that stretch completely blind. I got the call the night before that they were able to get the permit and the next day I was guiding on the Henrys Fork. So I went over there having no idea what to expect and it turned out to be a decent day. When I got to the river I was introduced to the largest grey drake spinner fall that I have ever seen. The fishing was good with lots of rainbows/browns in the 18-19" range. The rowing was fairly technical on this stretch and it really made me pay attention to every rock. I have to admit that I got puckered a few times but we were able to make it down safely. It was a lot of driving from my place with roundtrip taking 220+ miles. But at least I was able to get some work in and throw dry flies. Looks like the next 10 days or so the Lodge is going to be pushing that as the guests best option. It should be an interesting learning curve.

For those of you that are looking to do some fishing this fall the sooner you book your dates the better. Weekends have already begun to fill up. You don't want to miss those prime dates for the egg bite in Septmber/October on the Yuba, October on the Sac, and November on the Feather. Below you can find my current openings with suggested river recommendations.


Yuba Egg Bite: September 20, 22-26, 28-30 & October 1-5

Yuba/Sac Egg Bite: October 6-14, 16-20, 25-28, 30-31

Feather Egg Bite: October 25-28, 30-31 & November 1-25

Summer 2011: Call the Lodge at Palisades Creek to Book your trip (208-483-2222)

I hope all of you have a great summer and are able to get some much needed dry fly fishing in at your favorite creek or river. Come check out the South Fork of the Snake if you have never been out here before. It is one of those special places that all people need to experience.

Tight Lines!