Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The South Fork of the
Snake River In Idaho
The South Fork of the Snake River is one of Idaho's
better tailwaters. This is especially true if you like to fish
from a drift boat. That is by far the best way to fish the
river although it does have some excellent fishing for the
wader during the late summer and early fall season. The
South Fork of the Snake River flows from Wyoming into
the state of Idaho into Palisades Reservoir. The tailwater
flows from the Palisades Dam a distance of sixty-four
miles to its confluence with the Henry's Fork. Fly fishing
the South Fork of the Snake River ranks at the top of the
list of most anglers who have experienced it.
Located in south eastern Idaho, is known for its large
cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout. It has large hatches of
mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies that provide excellent
dry fly fishing opportunities. Many anglers rank it at the
top of their list of fine tailwaters. The river has some very
large pools and some long fast water riffles and runs. In
many areas the river is broken up into braided sections
by islands creating a very diverse fishery. Fly fishing the
South Fork of the Snake River can be challenging at time,
but like any river worth fishing, it's the challenges that
make fishing exciting.
The South Fork has a population native Fine Spot and
Yellowstone cutthroat trout. In recent years the rainbow
trout population has caused some concern because it has
grown to the point is has affected the native cutthroat
population. The native cutthroat trout attain a very good
size with the cutthroats ranging from fourteen up to twenty
inches. The brown trout also grow large, commonly
exceeding twenty inches. The population of brown trout
increase in the lower section of the river.
The upper section of the South Fork, approximately half
of the part extending from the Palisades Dam to the
Conant Valley boat access, is fairly narrow. There are a
total of four public boat launches in this area of the river.
This section is approximately fifteen miles long. Below the
Irwin Access, the river widens out and becomes much
shallower. It meanders through the Swan Valley with many
side channels and shallow water riffles. There are some
of the South Fork's best wading opportunities in this
section. It also provides some of the best dry fly fishing.
From there, the South Fork enters a large canyon. It
begins at the Conant Valley boat access and extends
downstream to the Byington boat access. There are two
additional public access in the canyon section of the
South Fork - Cottonwood Access and Wolf Access. This
section is about fifteen miles long but once you decide to
float it, there's no point to get out of the canyon. There's
no other access points in the canyon. The canyon section
is the most beautiful section of the river. It is also the most
fun section to fish in our opinion.
South Fork of the
Snake River Idaho
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5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The lower section of the South Fork of the
Snake is considered the section from the
Byington Bridge to Menan. This section of the
river that can be very dangerous. The lower
end spreads back out and offers some great
fishing. There are numerous diversions and
side channels on the lower end. It is
approximately 24 miles long and is noted for
the brown trout population
Below Heise bridge, located few miles below
the canyon, the river gets wider and flows
through some large farms. The banks are
lined with cottonwood trees.
The water from Palisades Lake is used
primarily for irrigation. It varies greatly
depending on the snow pack. In the spring and
summer, the flows are normally high. The
release of the water is strictly controlled by the
amount needed for irrigation.
Fly fishing the South Fork of the Snake
River is good throughout the season
but the water levels will vary
Spring time varies from year to year
depending on the snowpack but is
usually good for the most part.
Fly Fishing Guide to the South Fork
of the Snake River:
This is a huge expanse of water with a lot of
variables. The fishing methods and
strategies vary with the seasons and the
water levels. The hatches are not always
consistent as to the time they occur. The
order in which they occur is consistent but
due to variation in water temperatures due to
various water releases from the dam, the
dates may vary some from year to year. The
hatches are usually very large and the trout
often feed selectively.
The upper part of the river, from the dam
down to the Connant Boat Ramp is
considered the first or upper section. It is
about twelve miles long. The best access for
the wading angler is provided from the
Forest Service road, also called the Snake
River Road. Most of the property on the main
highway side or North side of the river is
The next twenty-four miles of the river is
called the "Canyon" section of the South
Fork of the Snake. It is broken into two float
sections, or the middle and lower sections
sometimes called sections two and three.
This is a beautiful section of the river with
lots of wildlife.
The water doesn't normally drop to where
wading anglers are not at a disadvantage
until the month of September. Autumn is the
best time to wade the South Fork.
This large tailwater is generally best for float
trips. Many areas are just too deep and
swift to wade. Numerous boat and foot
access points are found along the South
Fork of the Snake River's length from the
dam to Lorenzo near the point it joints the
famous Henry's Fork of the Snake River.
When your fishing the South Fork, please
always keep in mind that swift currents,
deep water, irrigation diversion dams, and
other hazardous situations exist. Always
exercise caution whether your wading or
floating the big river.
The river looks like you are inside a big
wilderness area but in reality you are just
in a deep canyon below open farm land.
The middle section runs from Connant
Boat Ramp down to Cotonwood Boat
Ramp. There are several National Forest
campgrounds along the way. The lower
section runs from Cotonwood Boat Ramp
down to Byington Boat Ramp at Ririe.
Either one of these two float sections
provides a good day of fishing.
The lower section or the river, or section
four, runs from the Byington Boat Ramp
down to the rivers confluence with the
Henry's Fork of the Snake. The Lorenzo
Boat Ramp is the usual takeout point, but
you can fish even farther downstream to
the Henry's Fork. This section flows
through farm country that is much flatter
than the upper areas.
South Fork of the Snake River
Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
South Fork Snake River and in all stages of
life that are applicable to fishing. If you want
to fish better, more realistic trout flies, have
a much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Hatches on the South Fork of the Snake
River are different from many tailwaters.
Some of the insects, like the large
stoneflies, hatch in huge numbers. Hatches
occur throughout much of the year. In order
to fish the South Fork successfully and
consistently, you must be able to keep up
with and match the hatches.
The first hatch of the year are the
Blue-winged Olives. They start about the
first of March and last through April. There
is a second hatch that occurs about the first
of September and last on into October.
Since the water is usually low during this
period of time, the second hatch can be a
good one to fish. March Browns also hatch
from about the middle of March through
The last week of April through the month of
May, you will usually find the Grannom
(Branchycentrus species) caddis hatching.
This hatch is called the Mother's Day hatch
in some areas. The most abundant hatches
of caddisflies are different species of
Spotted Sedges. They hatch during July,
August and the first part of September.
Their Little Sister Caddisflies also hatch
from about the middle of August into
September. The final major caddisfly hatch
is the October Caddis which hatches during
September and October. There are several
other minor hatches of caddisflies but these
are the most important ones.
There is a Skwala Stonefly hatch that
occurs from about the middle of April
through May. The huge Salmonflies, a hatch
most anglers consider the highlight of the
year on the South Fork, start hatching near
the end of June. It is usually at its peak the
first two weeks of July.
Don't forget the terrestrials. The farming
areas surrounding the river tends to
increase what would be a normal
population of grasshopper, ants and
beetles into large populations of these
land based insects. Imitations of them
can be very effective during June, July,
August and September.
As with most any tailwater, midges hatch
in huge quantities and for many days of
the year. They are often ignored on the
South Fork because of the numerous
other hatches, but imitations of the
larvae, pupae and adults will catch fish
almost any day of the year.
Some of the most popular flies are
streamers. They work great in fooling the
larger brown and cutthroat trout.
Imitations of sculpin, minnows and baitfish
are very effective at times. They work
great during high water conditions and
during the fall when the brown trout
We recommend our "Perfect Flies" not
just because we sell them. We
recommend them because we feel they
are the best trout flies you can purchase.
Our stonefly imitatons are very realistic
and very effective. We have specific
caddisflies and mayfly imitations of every
species that hatches on the South Fork
of the Snake River. If you haven't done
so already, please give them a try. We
guarantee you will be satisfied.
The Golden Stoneflies start about the
same time, or maybe a week later than
the Salmonflies, but last a little longer on
through the month of July. The Little
Yellow Stoneflies, often called Yellow
Sallies, are almost overlooked because
of the larger ones. They hatch from
about the first of July through August and
into the month of September.
The Pale Morning Duns represent one of
it not the best hatch of the year. These
little mayflies hatch from about the middle
of June through August. Mahogany Duns
hatch from about the first of August
through the month of September,
extending the mayfly hatches for almost
another month. From the middle of June
into July you may find a hatch of the
Great Olive Winged Drakes. They hatch
on the more moderate sections in the
lower part of the river.
Summertime is the time when the big
stoneflies hatch and the most popular time
to fish the river.
Fall is the best time for wading anglers to
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The river is still a
little high but it can be fished from
good size drift boats. Midges,
light greens, creams and reds or
blood midges are hatching.
Winter stoneflies are still
hatching. Aquatic worms and
Sculpin streamers will also work.
Keep up with the latest by clicking
the above link to our fishing
01/07/16 Those that wish for warmer weather in this part of the country should be well aware
that means more snow. That will be the case this coming week. That has no effect on the
trout, just lazy anglers. Midges, fished in tandem with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa up
the tippet about 16 inches will get you plenty of action. Little Winter stonefly nymphs are also
01/14/16 Snow and more snow is on the way but the temperature isn't bad. Layer up and get
out on the river. It beats getting fat on the couch. Midges, fished with the larva and pupa
imitations in tandem, winter stonefly nymphs and the White belly sculpin will catch some trout.
01/21/16 The river is slowly moving along at a rate that is good for wading in the sections you
can normally wade but fast enough you want be stranded in your drift boat. It is cold but
midges and little winter stonefly nymphs should work good. Notice we added Black flies to the
list as they should begin to hatch soon and bite you as well. We have pupa, larva and adult
stages of them.
01/28/16 The discharges are staying low making wading possible in the areas it is normally
possible to wade with low levels. The water temperature isn't bad at all within close proximity to
the dam. The problem is the air temperature isn't getting above freezing any day this coming
week and there is snow forecast everyday. You can catch trout if you can put up with the
02/03/16 The discharges remain low with little chance of changing very much. The stream
levels are low enough that you can wade many places. Midges are hatching, creams and reds
(blood midges). Trout are being caught on the surface at times. Winter stoneflies are also
hatching. We recommend fishing within two or three miles of the dam.
02/11/16 The weather is going to be much warmer this coming week. That has little to no
effect on the trout except for miles downstream from the dam, but is sure helps anglers who
plan on fishing. We still recommend fishing just below the dam. The water is the warmest it
gets near the dam. The flows are low and shouldn't be much of a factor this coming week.
02/18/16 Last week's warm weather was nice and it allowed anglers a chance to fish in
comfort for awhile. It is back to normal winter weather for Idaho at this time of the season with
some snow about everyday. The water wasn't affected very much and the middle and lower
section will loose the two degrees of temperature increase it gained. Fish midges near the
dam as it is legal to fish for the best results.
02/25/16 The discharges from the dam are staying low and you can wade many places in the
South Fork. There's still enough water for drift boats as well. Conditions are as good as they
can get during the Winter months. Midges, cream and red, are hatching as well as winter
stoneflies. Little Blue-winged olives hatch on the warmest days.
03/03/16 There is a chance of rain or snow every day for the next week but other than that,
conditions are very good. The stream levels and discharges remain low and fine for wading n
places and drift boats. The foods you should imitate are mostly midges, creams and reds.
Some days, little BWOs are hatching and in some sections, little Winter stoneflies.
03/10/16 Wow! It is really going to nice and warm this coming week on the South Fork. Well,
yes, there is a lot of rain forecast and that's going to melt snow and keep the water
temperature down some but you should be able to catch trout. You will be able to enjoy
catching them much more not having to wear your snow suit.
03/17/16 The weather is sill remaining a little warmer than normal for the coming week. It could
raise the temperature of the water in the lower section of the river. We still think the most
plentiful and available food will be midges, winter stoneflies, small BWO nymphs and sculpin.
03/24/16 The lower section of the river is getting a couple of degrees warmer, and the levels
and discharges have been low for a low time. You can wade many sections of the river.
Midges and every once in a while, little Blue-winged olives are hatching. It is a good time to
fish the river but few anglers do. The river is staying low and we see little reason for the levels
to change but check them.
03/31/16 Few anglers fish the South Fork at this time of the year but those that do are usually
rewarded with good catches. Conditions are very good. Good stream levels and low
discharges make wading possible in many areas. The water is still cold and it is mostly midge
hatches but you can catch trout on them, and at times, even on top.
04/07/16 There isn't much change with the water levels and discharges. They are still low and
providing wading anglers lots of opportunities. The weather is going to be much warmer this
coming week, but with that usually comes some rain. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are
still the main insects to be imitating. The Brown sculpin streamers work great in low light
04/14/16 The stream levels are up but still in good shape for this time of the year. Midges and
Blue-winged olives are continuing to hatch good along with little Black Caddis on the lower
end of the river. It is going to be just a little cooler this week with snow ending tomorrow. It is a
good time to fish the South Fork.
04/21/16 The discharges and stream levels are up to about normal for this time of the year.
There has been a lot of rain and some melting snow in the headwaters that has to be let
downstream. We didn't get any reports in this past week from customers fishing the river, but
conditions should remain good. The is more rain in the forecast from Saturday though next
04/28/16 The discharges are very high and the stream high and dingy. Melting snow from last
weeks warm weather and a lot rain and wet snow is keeping it up. We think it will be a few days
before it settles back down and clears. There is rain in the forecast every day this coming
05/05/16 The river is getting higher from runoff in the water shed and lowering of the lake to
handle it. It most likely will remain strong for a few day. Anglers are catching some very large
trout and hatches of Blue-winged olives and midges are continuing. The little Black Caddis,
known as the Mother's Day hatch, is going on at the lower end of the river.
05/12/16 The discharges are staying pretty high and making it tough to fish. There are little
Black Caddis hatching on the lower end of the river but the slightly cooler weather and rain is
keeping it from moving upstream very fast. The discharges are likely to remain high for this
coming week, offering little fly fishing opportunity.
05/19/16 High discharges are keeping the stream levels high. IN addition to that, there is rain
in the forecast every day for the next week. The upper Snake River and its tributaries are all
in full runoff mode and the South Fork Snake will be high until it is over. That will likely be
several more days. All you can do is wait and watch the levels.
05/26/16 The high discharges are continuing and likely will e high for several more days. The
runoff factually slowed down due to cooler weather but the lake level is high and has to come
down. It is going to be several more day before the discharges are likely to be low again. You
will just have to keep checking back with us.
06/02/16 The river is flowing high and fast and this is a normal thing at this time of the year.
There is really little fly fishing opportunity with the flows, although it is possible to fish it from a
drift boat. You will just have to continue to check back. The runoff got an early start this year
and maybe it will end early but it is likely to be high most of this month.
06/09/16 The runoff of the Snake River watershed has the South Fork tailwater rolling along
big time. The flows are over 17,000 cfs. There won't be any fishing, or at least I hope not, for
a while with discharges and stream levels this high. This is good in the sense the river got a
good snow pack this year and there will be lots of water during the summer and fall months.
06/16/16 The discharges and resulting stream levels are down a little but still flowing at 7000
cfs. That is too high to fish in our opinion. It does signal that maybe, just maybe, the runoff is
ending a little early. It did get off to an early start this season and maybe it won't be long
before the flow are normal. The watershed stream levels are all dropping as well.
06/23/16 The heavy discharges from the dam continue. They have to get the lake level back
down to a normal level. The headwaters of the Snake and its many tributaries are getting into
pretty good shape with the runoff getting near the end, so it shouldn't be long before the
runoff ends and the lake level is back to normal. Right now, the South Fork is very high and
dingy and not worth fishing.
06/30/16 The river is still high and fast with heavy discharges. It should be getting the lake
down low enough for the discharges to let up. Right now it is still far too high to fish with much
success. As soon as it drops and slows down, you can expect some very good fly fishing
opportunities. The lake level is down near where they want it for this time of the year, so we
don't think it will be long before the discharges subside.
07/07/16 The discharges and stream levels are still high. We don't think they will keep them
this high very much longer, but as always, you will just have to check them. There are a lot of
insects hatching and in many cases they aren't doing anglers much good. There are a few
drift boat anglers fishing, but the strong current makes the "catching" more difficult.
07/14/16 We think the best flows are 10,000 to 11,000 cfs. It is 13,700 cfs at this time and
while about normal for this time of the year, it is still high and fast and that makes it difficult to
fish. You can fish, of course, and more people, mostly guides, are fishing it already. There are
still a lot of insects hatching but the hatches vary greatly with the section of water you are
07/21/16 The discharges are down some from last week, and the river is getting into better
shape. The flows are still a little high but it can be fished from drift boats. We had one good
report from the past week from a customer fishing our Brown Sculpin streamers. Lots of
hatches are taking place. Fish as late as you can. Egg laying caddis and spinner falls late in
the day are bringing trout to the surface.
08/04/16 They are continuing the normal high summer flows for irrigation. Drift boat anglers
are still catching trout, mostly on streamers. The hatches are slowing down and vary greatly
depending on the particular section of the river you happen to be fishing. The last three hours
of daylight is a good time to fish due to the egg laying caddis. There are some of those just
08/11/16 The summer flows continue and the hot weather continues. There will be lots of
caddisflies hatching along with plenty of Pale morning duns. Remember, the PMD spinner falls
take place in the mornings and they hatch in the late morning. Caddisflies hatch mostly in the
afternoons but deposit eggs late in the day near dark.
08/18/16 The South Fork continues to produce some good numbers of fish for those few that
are floating the river. We had two customers report good catches last week. There are lots of
caddisflies hatching from early to mid afternoon. The egg laying takes place late in the day.
Early morning streamer fishing using our Sculpin patterns is working good but others, the later
you fish the better.
08/25/16 The discharges and stream levels are constant and fairly high. That's to do with the
summer needs for irrigation. That will continue this coming week and beyond. Drift boats are
catching some trout. Late afternoon fishing during the caddisfly egg laying activity is working
good. Streamers are working good in the mornings. There are still some other hatches but
09/01/16 The conditions are normal and about as good as they get for the first day of
September. the weather is already cooler and water temperatures are in good shape.
Terrestrials insects are plentiful along the river and lots o hoppers are getting into the water
during the strong afternoon winds. There are lots of hatching caddislfies and the late
afternoon egg laying is bringing lots of trout to the surface to feed.
09/08/16 This is the time of the year when the discharges and resulting stream levels are
fairly stable. They have dropped the flows some the past three days making it better for
anglers fishing. Except for caddisflies, the hatches vary with the section of the river but most
angles are fishing the upper and middle sections. Fishing the banks with terrestrial imitations
and hopper/droppers is working good.
09/15/16 Stream levels and discharges have been suitable for fishing recently. Right now they
are running just a little below normal, which is actually good. Normal is pretty strong and
makes it tough to fish in places. Notice we added Mahogany duns to the fly list as they have
starting to hatch. Larger BWOs, or baetis species, are also hatching good.
09/22/16 There is a lot of rain falling right now but it will have little effect on the river at least
for a few days. The weather is much cooler and all sections of the river are turning out fish for
the less than normal number of anglers fishing. There are lots of hatches including Mahogany
duns, BWOs, two species of caddis and others. Terrestriails are still working.
09/29/16 There is a chance of rain everyday this coming week and cool weather. The cloud is
helping the streamer fishing and customers are catching trout most all day on the Brown and
White Belly sculpin. Blue-winged olives are hatching good, along with some Mahogany duns.
October caddis are hatching in the middle section.
10/06/16 The stream flows are about normal with normal discharges. There has been a good
bit of up river rainfall and it could change. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing
this past week which is unusual but it should have been good with all the cloud cover and
insects that are hatching. It is raining now, but will clear up for the rest of the next week.
10/13/16 The stream levels and discharges are fine right now, about the same as this past
week. Our customers are catching lots of trout. Conditions should remain the same except at
some point the discharges may change. There is rain in the forecast everyday for this coming
week. Blue-winged olives are hatching big time and the cloud cover should only help.
10/20/16 The river is in great shape with fairly low discharges and good stream levels. There
are lots of Blue-winged olives hatching and in two different sizes, 18 and 16. October caddis
are hatching in some sections. The most consistent big fish producer has been our Perfect
Fly sculpin. It will catch those pre-spawn browns.
10/27/16 The conditions couldn't be any better at this time of the year. There is a chance of
rain everyday this coming week but the stream levels and discharges are normal at this time.
The cloud cover is helping in all respects and making the Blue-winged olive hatches huge.
Few anglers are fishing but tose that are, are catching plenty of trout.
11/03/16 Stream levels are down below normal due to lower discharges. That is good,
especially for those who like to wade. They will have some opportunity but of course, this is
always subject to change. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching good. Trout are still
being caught on the surface on the dry BWO dun.
11/10/16 This is a good time of the year to fish the south fork of the Snake, yet few anglers
do. The weather has been great, nice and warm and the water in good condition. Stream
levels have near normal levels thats to steady discharges. Midges, creams and reds, are
hatching along with Blue-winged olives.
11/17/16 The stream levels are still fine thanks to low discharges. The weather is turning
much cooler and the water temperature will drop some especially in the middle and lower
sections of the river. Midges, creams and reds, fished in tandem with the larva the bottom fly
and the pupa the top fly, will be your best fly option.
11/24/16 The stream levels continue to be just fine. The water temperature is much colder as
to be expected. It is averaging about 43 but that is near the dam. It is colder further
downstream. There are some good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place and lots of Cream
and Red midges. The Brown and White Belly Sculpin streamers continue to catch the larger
12/02/16 The South Fork tailwater is probably one of the best destinations in Idaho at this
time of the year. The discharges and stream levels are low, providing good conditions, and
the water temperature in the upper section in the low forties. Midges, Winter stoneflies and
little Blue-winged olives are hatching.
12/09/16 Conditions remain good. The discharges and stream levels remain low providing
anglers some good opportunity. The water is warmest, near 40 degrees, near the discharge
from the dam, so we recommend fishing the uppermost section of the river. The lower river is
colder. Midges, with the larva and pupa fished in tandem, is the best fly setup at this time.
12/15/16 The South Fork is one of the better places to fish at this time of the year in this part
of the country. The discharges and stream levels remain mostly low and the bottom discharge
of water remains fairly warm compared to other streams. The air will be very cold, and fishing
isn't safe unless you take the necessary cautions. Getting wet can be deadly, so be careful.
12/22/16 The river is in good shape with good discharge rates and stream levels and water
about 39 degrees near the dam. We recommend fishing the upper section below the dam as
the water is colder downstream. Midges,the Red blood midges and the Cream midges are
hatching good. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem with the pupa about 16 inches above the
12/29/16 The stream levels and discharge rates continue to be low and the water about 37
degrees at the tailwater near the dam. Fish the upper part of the river. The middle and lower
sections are very cold. There is snow forecast again every day and getting there can be a
problem at times. Make sure you check the road conditions. Midges, creams and reds, and
Winter stoneflies continue to be the only things hatching.
01/05/17 The river is still running low, which is normal at this time of the year and in most
cases good because it make it easier to do the type of fishing you need to do. That's mostly
midge fishing. The best setup in our opinion is a tandem rigged midge with the larva the
bottom fly and the pupa about 16 inches above it. Creams and reds both have done good
recently. Winter stoneflies are also hatching. The weather is going to vary this coming week.
01/12/17 The discharges and stream levels are low and the river in good shape. It is warm
enough water to catch trout. There isn't any rain or snow forecast for the next five or more
days. The only problem is it is going to be very cold, with the highest temperature reaching
only 22 degrees. If you can put up with the cold weather, you can catch trout on midges,
Creams and Reds, and Winter stonefly nymphs.
01/19/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are fine. The water is clear and about 34-
38 degrees, depending on the section you are fishing. Midges, Creams and Reds, are
hatching good. Winter stoneflies are hatching. Black Flies are hatching and biting. The
problem is, however, there is heavy snow forecast everyday for the next week and getting
there safely and back may be a problem. Keep a close check on the road conditions.
01/26/17 The stream levels are the same and change little, thanks to consistently low
discharges. The only problem is the cold temperatures but the water is fairly warm near the
dam. The further downstream you fish, the colder the water gets. Midges, Creams, Reds
(blood) and some light Greens are hatching. There are some Winter stoneflies and Black
Flies as well. Midges, fished with the larva and pupa in tandem, is the best fly setup.
02/02/17 The weather is not good. Snow is forecast everyday for the coming week, with winter
storm warning for ice and snow on some days. Getting to the river and launching will likely be
the problem. The discharges and stream levels are in good shape. Midges are hatching and
trout can be taken on the Red (blood) and Cream midge larva and pupa. Fish them in tandem
for the best results.
02/09/17 There is a flood advisory through Saturday, then clearing. The discharges and
stream levels remain in very good shape. I'm not sure how the heavy rain is going to affect
them, or if it actually will. The rain is melting a lot of snow and that is staining the water. Fish
as near the dam as you can. The water is clearer and warmer. Midges, Creams and Blood
midges, are still the main insects to imitate. Fish the Matuka sculpin streamers when it is
cloudy or snowing.
02/16/17 There is rain and/or snow forecast every day. The high temperatures each day will
be melting a lot of the deep snow on the banks and staining the water. The launches may be
iced in or okay, depending. The road conditions is likely to be a little better. Midges, Creams
and Reds, are the main insects to imitate. The Black or Olive Matuka sculpin streamers are
good flies to us under these conditions.
02/23/17 The river is running a little high from higher discharges. The recent rain and melting
snow filled the lake beyond the winter levels but it will probably get back down soon. There is
a chance of snow, some of it heavy, everyday for the coming week. Getting around on the
roads and launching isn't going to be easy and with the high water, not worth it in our opinion.
It is also going to be very cold not exceeding freezing levels all week.
02/29/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high at this time. You will just have to
watch the levels and fish when it drops. Midges are still the most important insects to imitate.
Fish the larva and pupa in tandem with the larva the bottom fly. We have these pre-rigged
now. Sculpin streamers have been working good. The Black and Olive Matuka sculpin as well
as the Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers.
03/09/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high. It is likely to remain in this
conditiions. There is a flood warning from Friday through Sunday. The warm weather is
melting a lot of snow and ice and contributing to it as well. You will just have to watch the
levels and fish when it drops back down. Sculpin streamers and Midges will be the best fly
03/16/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high, too high to fish. The water levels in
the Snake and Salt rivers upstream are all high and they are having to keep lowering the lake.
It is doubtful this situation will change this coming week. All you can do is keep an eye on the
stream levels. When you first can fish, streamers will most likely be the best option.
03/23/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are very high. Of course the dam
controls this and we can only guess as to what they may do but for now, my best guess is it
will be to high to fish for the next week. All you can do is check back with us and check the
levels. There is rain or snow in effect for the next week.
03/30/17 The discharges and stream levels are still very high, too high to fish. The warm
weather continues. Currently, the area is under a flood watch. The South Fork has a huge
watershed draining lots of area much at high elevations. The unusually warm weather is nice
in one sense, but not for anglers. It is fouling things up and is going to make it difficult to
predict what happens the next two or three months.
04/06/17 The discharges and stream levels are still very high, too high to fish. The water
ranges from muddy to highly stained. There is a huge amount of water in the watershed
through the state of Wyoming. We don't think it will be down to fishable levels this coming
04/13/17 The discharges and stream levels are very, very, very high. Forget fishing the river
for this week. The water ranges from muddy to highly stained. The entire Snake River water
shed is high from Yellowstone National Park to Idaho, including all the tributaries. All you can
do is check back with us.
04/20/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are still very high, too high to wade
anywhere and too high to fish from a drift boat in our opinion. The Snake river watershed in
Wyoming is up high and will take a while to clear up. We don't expect much change in the
discharges and levels of the South fork anytime soon. Stay in touch with us. We will keep you
informed as the status.
04/27/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high, too high to fish. All you can do is to
stay in touch with us. We will keep you updated as to the status of the conditions.
05/04/17 The discharges and stream levels are even higher than last week. That's too high to
fish, in our opinion. The weather is turning much warmer and that will melt a lot of snow on the
banks of the river and in the watershed. We think the levels are likely to increase and be
badly stained for sure.
05/11/18 The Snake River watershed throughout the state of Wyoming all the way from
Yellowstone National park to the state of Idaho is high and stained from rain and runoff. We
don't think the South Fork levels will be down much anytime soon but the warmer weather will
slow down the runoff. It is currently way to high to fish in our opinion.
05/18/17 The discharges and stream levels are way down to a normal level for this time of the
year. We don't have any reports yet. The water has only been down for two days. You could
fish any section you wanted to fish right now. March Browns are hatching in the middle and
lower river. More hatches should begin taking place very soon.
05/25/17 The South Fork is in very good shape for this time of the season. We had two good
reports from customers fishing it recently. There are lots of Blue-winged Olives and March
Browns hatching. The Big Salmon flies won't be far behind. The discharges and stream levels
are down to about normal and the water mostly clear.
67/01/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are still in very good shape. There are
lots of insects hatching and lots of trout being caught. We received one good report from a
customer this past week. There are lots of Blue-winged olives and Spotted Sedges hatching.
The forecast has little chance of rain this coming week. Conditions should remain good.
06/08/17 The discharges and stream levels are back up high and the water stained. We didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. The levels are very high. All you can
do is to watch the levels. They should be dropping down soon and conditions improving. Stay
in touch and we will keep you informed.
06/15/17 The discharges and stream levels are very high, too high and to dingy to fish. We
think or at least hope, that the runoff has peaked and the levels will start dropping soon. Of
course they water the potatoes as well and that also keeps the levels up.
06/22/17 The river is still flowing high and stained. It is too high to fish in our opinion. It can be
fished from a large drift boat but we don't recommend it. If you are not local and are making a
destination trip to fish there, I recommend putting it off. All you can do for now is to check back
with us. We will keep you informed.
06/29/17 The river looks much like that in the pictures above, high and flowing fast. The
Snake river in Wyoming is still in runoff and they have to keep the lake levels down and of
course, they use it for irrigation as well. The stream is just too high to fish well in our opinion. It
shouldn't be much longer before settling down some.
07/06/17 The discharges and stream levels are about the same as last week, meaning high
flows. It can be fished but is a little like dredging at times. Trout can and are being caught by a
few people. We don't yet recommend it as a destination trip due to the high flows. Conditions
will improve before long.
07/13/17 The discharges and stream levels continue to run a good bit above normal for this
time of the season. The higher flows makes it difficult to fish from drift boats but not
impossible. Some still manage to catch trout and some good ones. It would be much better if
the flows let up and they should soon.
07/20/17 The discharges are down and the water much clearer. It varies, but there is from 2 to
3 feet visibility. Sculpin streamers are getting some good size fish. The canyon section is
turning out good numbers for one of our customers. Conditions are much better. There are
lots of insects hatching but they vary greatly from section to section..
07/27/17 The river is getting into better shape each week. The water is getting clearer, the
stream levels are getting lower and the hatches are continuing. The Golden stoneflies are
about all gone but the Little Yellow stoneflies, often called Yellow Sallies, are plentiful. Caddis
hatches are huge. You will catch far more during the hatch using the pupa imitations of them.
08/03/17 We received two more good reports from customers fishing this past week. The
discharges and stream levels continue to drop and the river is clear and in good shape in all
sections. There are still a lot of hatches taking place but mostly caddisflies.
08/10/17 The river is in good shape in all sections, with okay stream levels and still plenty of
insects hatching. Some may tend to fish hoppers, ants and beetles too much. We recommend
it only when there isn't anything hatching. Right now, there are plenty of hatches, mostly
caddisflies but others.
08/17/17 The discharges and stream levels are staying consistent and drift boat anglers are
catching plenty of trout. We had two good reports from customers this past week. The hatches
vary with the section of the stream being fished. All of the sections are in good shape and
turning out fish.
08/24/17 The river is still in good shape for this time of the season. The discharges and
stream levels are high and wading not safe much anywhere but drift boat anglers are doing
very well and catching a lot of trout. We had two good reports this past week. There are still
some good hatches.
08/31/17 Conditions remain good with good discharge rates and stream levels. There are a
lot of trout being caught, mostly in the upper section of the river, but the entire river is in good
shape. We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week.
09/07/17 We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week. Discharges
and stream levels are in good shape. There are still plenty of hatching insects and imitations
of terrestrials are working good as well. All sections of the river are turning out some good fish.
09/14/17 The conditions should be rapidly improving. We didn't receive any reports from
customers this past week. The weather has a chance or rain or snow in the forecast everyday
but one this coming week. The lower temperatures will help the middle and lower sections of
the river. There are still some hatches and terrestrials are working in some cases.
09/21/17 The river is in great shape, with low discharges and stream levels that allow some
wading opportunity in some areas. The middle and lower river water temperature is down and
that's a big help. We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week. There
are still some hatches taking place. The first hard freeze will get the terrestrials, so it is short
10/11/17 The big river is in great shape in all sections. There are still some good hatches
taking place, especially the October caddis, BWOs, Mahogany duns and Midges. We are
continuing to get good reports from customers fishing. There is rain or snow expected most
days this coming week.
10/18/17 The big river is in good shape, with discharges and stream levels a little above
normal. Drift boat anglers are catching lots of trout and some very good ones. We had three
good reports this past week from customers fishing. There are lots of Cream and Red midges,
Blue-winged olives and in some areas, October caddis hatching.
10/25/17 The river is still in good shape. Our customers sent in two good reports from this
past week. Sculpin streamers are catching some big fish. Midges and Blue-winged olives are
hatching. Fish the cream or red midge with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem for the best
11/10/17 The river is in good shape, with good stream levels for drift boats and some good
Blue-winged olive and midge hatches taking place. We had one good report from a customer
fishing this past week. This coming week should be better with good weather in the forecast.
11/18/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are a little high at this time. We didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. Midges, creams and reds, or blood
midges, continue to be the main insects to imitate. There are Blue-winged olive hatches on
warmer, cloudy days.
11/25/17 Discharges and stream levels are up. It is a little too high to fish in our opinion, but
some are doing it. Midges, creams and reds, or blood midges, are hatching good. Blue-
winged olives are hatching on warm, cloudy days. We recommend watching the levels and
fishing when it drops again.
12/02/17 The discharges and resulting stream levels are very high, too high to make it worth
fishing in our opinion. It is possible to fish from a drift boat, but we don't like the conditions.
There are places on the nearby Henry's Fork that are in much better shape.
12/16/17 Stream levels arfe down but still high and fast. Drift boats can still fish but we dont
recommend it for this reason. With the water temperature as low as it is, the trout get out of
the main current in holes beneath the fast water. That makes is very difficult to get a fly to
them and at the right speed. You have to fish below the fast current.
12/23/17 Conditions remain about the same, except there is snow forecast everyday this
coming week. Winter stoneflies are hatching along with the midges. Stream levels are still up
relatively high but it can be fished from larger drift boats.
12/30/17 Stream levels are still running high, too high for us to recommend the river for a
destination at this time. It is still being fished by some and a few trout are probably being
caught but conditions are not good. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
01/19/18 Same story, second verse. The river is still high. It can be fished from larger drift
boats. We still don't recommend it as a destination trip right now because it is high and cold.
01/26/18 Conditions remain almost the same. There is lots of melting snow that helps keep
the stream levels high throughout the system. High cold water is the normal situation. Most of
the anglers fishing are locals. You can catch trout on Midges and Winter stonefly nymphs.
02/02/18 The water is still high and cold. Some guys are fishing it, and some fish are being
caught, but the conditions are far from good. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching. The
water is warmest near the dam.
02/09/18 The discharges and stream levels are still a little high. It can be and is being fished
from larger drift boats but would be better if the levels were down some. Midges, creams and
blood midges and winter stoneflies are hatching.