Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

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South Fork Fly Fishing Report

October 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Similar to Madonna, Pele and Lefty – where 1 name is enough – saying just a direction and an eating utensil is enough to invoke visions of great fishing.  The South Fork of the Snake is an outstanding fly fishing river.

In early October, I fished the South Fork for the first time. A smart move for fishing a river the first time, especially if floating, is to hire a guide. I saved my pennies, and hired the South Fork Outfitters.  I booked the trip before the Dow started to nose dive. The market went up hundreds of points, and went down hundreds of points. The fish didn’t mind. It was worth it getting away from the world for a day – and learning some new water.

Getting ready in the morning, our guide inquired about our equipment. We had everything, but a few flies. When he asked about tippet & leaders, we said we had plenty in 5x and 6x.  He put some 3x on the counter and said, “welcome to the South Fork”.

What struck me about the South Fork was the variety in fishing. We started the morning bombing the banks with heavy cone head streamers. At mid-morning, we switched to fishing heavy rubber-legs under an indicator. At lunch, we had some threatening weather, and a few bugs started coming off, so we fished size 20 dry flies. In the late afternoon, a hopper dropper.

South fork streamer fishing was new to me. Bang the bank, strip, strip, strip. Repeat. I saw three fish flash at the fly for every 1 hooked up. This was fun. A very active form and visual form of fly fishing.  Some sections, our guide expertly drifted the boat along side a current seam, and I could cast into it, mend downstream, and strip the fly like a fleeting, wounded baitfish running downstream.

The front of the boat out fished the rear by 10 to 1. My buddy and I decided to switch at lunch. I can claim a South Fork grand slam, Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, and White Trout.

We fished the canyon section, a great piece of water. At times, we had the river to ourselves. Believe it or not, after 8 or 9 hours, I had enough fishing and catching.  It was great that the South Fork Outfitters had access to a private takeout. We floated for 14 miles, with an hour spent at lunch.  If we fished this section and only had access to public launches, we would have had to float 25 miles. If I did that, I think the way to do it would be to camp out and make a 2 day trip of it.

Talking with the fly shop dudes about fishing on our own, we were shown some of the sections closer to Rigby. There is a road that parallels the river, providing more access. We were also told its the magical water where “the guides fish when they aren’t working”.   A great source of the river is the Fly Fishing Map.

Tags: Fly Fishing

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jake // Oct 19, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I could not describe it better myself…well except the rational of the market to fish weight…

    Looooove the South Fork…only gets better and better in the off season!

    Next time ask your guide to take you out early, I mean real early on the canyon 5:00 or sooo so you can fish the “Dragon”. Visually there is nothing quite like the mist that comes off the water when the air is cold and the water slightly warmer. Somthing about it that the fish really like as well. Down Town Brown’s!!!

  • 2 cutthroat stalker // Oct 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I enjoyed the report. funny you should mention the section closer to Rigby, I just fished it last Friday. The wadability of the river there was excellent (highly doubtful it is anywhere near that wadable during summer’s high flows) and the road parallels the river for quite a few miles with great access. Plenty of camping spots. Fishing was good (not great for dry flies, but about 30 fish caught between the two of us). Full report on my site coming up by tomorrow.

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