Fishing the SouthFork – Heaven on Earth


Ella FarnumWow – what a summer this has turned out to be in southeastern Idaho, specifically Teton Valley, which hugs the Idaho/Wyoming border. To call this part of the gem state God’s country is no exaggeration. I really don’t think you could ask for more beautiful weather, with daytime temps hovering in the high 70’s to low 80’s, no humidity, and the sky a shade of lapis only the west can claim. After late spring snows and an unseasonably cool, rainy spring, the valley has morphed into a soothing shade of emerald and the rich earth blanketed with every type of wildflower imaginable. In addition to just a dizzying selection of outdoor adventures and exploring to be had here, one of the area’s greatest natural resources are its rivers, which continually prove to be an irresistible lure for anglers from all over the world. Teton Springs Lodge & Spa, nestled in the charming town of Victor, Idaho, is situated in the absolute heart of Yellowstone-Teton fly fishing country

Mother Nature’s defiant sluggishness to move from spring to summer set the stage for what is now considered to be the best fishing season of the decade, and, we don’t make these claims lightly. Reservoirs are full, the water is quickly warming, and the hatches are in frenzy. Calling all anglers, the fishing is more than officially turned on! Even better news, fly fishermen (and ladies of course!) can expect conditions on all of our eastern Idaho rivers to be at their best for the remainder of the summer and deep into fall (the “locals” all give a nod to this prediction).

A recent trip to the South Fork of the Snake River was nothing short of euphoric. It’s a quick jaunt from Victor to this glorious and ever impressive waterway. The South Fork is a tail-water, meaning; it’s a fishery below a dam and in this case, the Palisades Dam. It’s the tail-water status that gives the South Fork its muscle as a world-class river for snagging the big Browns, Rainbows and Cutthroats. Here’s why: its flows are regulated and interestingly enough, not for the benefit of us anglers, but for the thousands of farmers downstream who depend on the South Fork for their lifeblood, irrigation water. The level of the river dictates the flow levels and water temperature and the temperature of the water dictates the level of hatches (bugs on the water) occurring at any given time. The hatches of course in turn determine ultimately just how happy the fishermen are.

If you’re a numbers person here’s an example. The South Fork is currently running at 12,500 cubic feet per second and that is an optimum level for catching fish. Don’t ask why, this is already getting too technical. However, it is expected that the flows at this level, and, as they continue to drop throughout the summer, means terrific fishing on the river’s banks and in the riffles. The South Fork is chuck full of riffles and can entertain anglers all day long while success on the banks usually equates to accomplished casting and a competent guide on the oars. Watch for well-defined foam lines, deep pools and structures; there’s plenty to go around on this river. Hatches can also be very fussy so you need all the appropriate bugs to enhance your chances; this isn’t a sport of luck. Now it’s time to divulge a few secrets. Your fly box marked “South Fork” should include the following (warning: this is only a partial list!): pmds, yellow sallies, caddis, baetis, stone flies, flavs, ants, and spinners. If the bugs take a break, you can too. Now’s the time to sit back, relax and watch for the abundant wildlife roaming the banks; you almost always see a moose and golden eagles peering at you from above.

Neophytes, or even the rusty angler who is perhaps a tad anxious, can relax. Lodging guests at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa can easily perfect that casting technique, or, become a student of the sport on the resort’s nine fully stocked ponds. These ponds & lakes are literally just steps from your lodge room or luxury mountain log home. Teton Springs Resort on-property guides are neighbors at WorldCast Anglers. They’re the experts around here and happy to share their formidable knowledge with you, while learning and, on a variety of guided trips to all of the dynamic rivers in the area The nice folks at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and WorldCast are happy to help with all your fishing adventures, and, be sure to ask about a legendary South Fork adventure which very well could be considered the nirvana of a fly fishing trip. Spending the night in the “South Fork Hilton” takes a fishing and camping excursion to a whole new dimension!

Keep a tight line and enjoy!
Call Teton Springs Lodge & Spa for reservations & fishing on the South Fork and other area rivers: toll free: 877-787-8757 and visit



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