Few rivers in America can provide a fly fishing experience like that of The South Fork of the Snake River. The Snake River begins high in Yellowstone National Park and flows through Grand Teton National Park into Palisades Reservoir which borders Wyoming and Idaho. Below Palisades Dam begins the stretch of the river, referred to as the “South Fork”.
This 66 mile stretch of the Snake River flows through high mountain valleys, steep rugged canyons, and through fertile farmland to the confluence with the Henrys Fork (North Fork) of the Snake River near Menan. The South Fork of the Snake River is home to 126 species of birds, including 21 species of raptors. You have a chance to see a very diverse array of wildlife as well including moose, bear, elk, deer, mountain lions, mountain goats, bobcats, coyotes, otters, beavers, mink, and fox. To add the Snake River is home to the largest riparian cottonwood forest in the west, and understandably, the most diverse ecosystem in Idaho.
The South Fork of the Snake also boasts 4200 fish per mile (2017 at Conant), which makes it one of the most productive Blue Ribbon rivers in the country. The quality of fishing on the South Fork has improved dramatically since a slot limit was introduced. All fish between 8 and 16 inches (the prime breeders) must be released and anglers are only allowed to keep two fish that aren’t rainbows.
For the best dry fly action, the river is best fished from July through October (on a typical runoff year). The first half of July is the height of the prolific stonefly hatches, which brings just about all of the fish to the surface to gorge themselves on one of the largest dry flies, the largest of the Stone Flies, the Salmon Fly is sometimes 3 inches in length.