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Old 10-19-2013, 07:32 AM
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Default South Fork of the Snake, ID

Yesterday I did a float trip on the South Fork of the Snake River, what a wonderful experience that was. This was a first for me to get on that water this late in the year with the water flows cut way back. I know over the years that Kelly has said how good this river can be in the winter with the low flows, but I had never experienced it. Palisades Reservoir is primarily intended to provide irrigation water to the Idaho farmers and ranchers downstream, so they cut the water flow way back in the late fall and winter when the need for irrigation water decreases, normally in the summer the flow is in the 10,000-12,000 CFS range, yesterday it was a little over 1,900 CFS coming out of the dam. That makes the river appear much different to the guys that float fish the river (you can actually see a lot of the structure in the river) and it opens up a lot of places to access the river for the waders. Normally it is pretty difficult to find spots along the bank where you can wade, most places you find the water is blasting by or the brush is so thick you have little chance of casting.

This trip all started last fall when the GF and I attended an animal rescue fund raising dinner/auction and had bid and won a float trip offered up by a local fly fishing guide, Al Michaelski. So a few days ago, I finally got around to giving Al a call and seeing what his schedule looked like. Turned out he isn't living in Wyoming any longer, his mother has major health issues and he has moved back to Detroit to take care of her. After dealing with my wife's health issues a few years back, I totally understood the situation and let him know, but he felt bad about it and said to me that he would make a few calls to guide friends and get back with me. Turns out Al had called his best friend Doug Meyer, both grew up together as fly fishing guides back in the late 70's, so Doug was more than happy to take me on a float trip down the SF, so we made arrangements to meet in Victor, ID, where I bought a one day fishing license and off to the SF we went. I had left the house and it was 19 degrees, when I got to Victor it was 24 degrees at 9 am, but the forecast looked good with sunny skies and a high of about 44 degrees, so I layered up with my standard five layers on top and waders on the bottom and actually it turned out to be just a fantastic fall day on the water with little to no wind and we were both very comfortable. I wanted to spend the major part of the day throwing streamers, so the sunny sky forecast wasn't the best, but I really like that form of fishing in the fall and spring, but also brought along my Hardy Syntrix 5 wt to throw small BWO's at the rising heads in the afternoon and boy that turned out to be a smart move. The afternoon BWO hatch came off as expected and the fish didn't disappoint, heads were coming up all over the riffles and soft edges, it was just an incredible sight to see. That was one trip I wish I had a GoPro to capture all the fish that were coming to the surface, it was amazing.

Anyway, I can't say enough about how nice it was for Doug to take me out on the SF yesterday, we both had a really great time, caught a boat load of fish, both streamer fishing and throwing small dries at rising heads and I'd recommend Doug as a fly fishing guide anytime. If you are looking for a highly experienced fly fishing guide in SE Idaho or Western Wyoming, give Doug a call at 307-413-0445 or email at dougmeyerwy AT gmail.com. Like I said earlier he has been guiding since the late 70's on the Green, the Snake and the South Fork and probably some other local rivers and streams.

Here are a few photos from the trip:
In the foreground is Doug's skiff and a good view of how low the water level was:
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Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

Holy Smokes! I drove out of Idaho that way last week and wanted to hit the so fork so badly. Last Time I fished it, a few years back, it was early and running like 30,000 cfs...Ridiculous. This time it was so low and so fishable..I was sad to be out of time!

I do not know if you can really see, but this river was so big we could not get three feet off the bank.

This little bow made it to the skillet. My son was so jacked I actually told him he could keep a big fish he caught...Life isn't always about c and r. Always good when the kids can keep a nice fish and the fishery managers promote it.

Click the image to open in full size.

Larry you are living the dream!! I will be back up there next week. I may have to hit the so fo of the Snake! Those Cutty's look absolutely awesome!

Thanks for the report, glad the weather was nice for you...it's been a little cold and wet lately.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

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Originally Posted by cochise View Post
I do not know if you can really see, but this river was so big we could not get three feet off the bank.

This little bow made it to the skillet. My son was so jacked I actually told him he could keep a big fish he caught...Life isn't always about c and r. Always good when the kids can keep a nice fish and the fishery managers promote it.
Yes, during the summer wade fishing can be flat out dangerous on that river due to how fast that current is moving with such high volumes, but it certainly shows a different face this time of year with lots of great wading opportunities. I couldn't agree more, to get young children excited about fishing it can't all be about C&R. I love photos like you posted with your son, kudos to you for getting the whole family involved in the outdoors, that will pay huge dividends for you and your wife down the road.

Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

Wonderful report and kudos to both of the guides involved!

I think the South Fork is about 10 different streams depending on the flow. It looks like you hit it just right. Sure glad Idaho was good to you!

---------- Post added at 09:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:59 AM ----------

LOL I thought I was the only one around that says KUDOs anymore!

Cochise, that is what being a good dad is all about. BTW I love the boy's boots!

---------- Post added at 09:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:01 AM ----------

Also for those who don't know, F&G have set a no limit on the rainbows in the South Fork. Everyone is encouraged to keep all of the rainbows. In order to keep our cutthroat population on there pure and the proportional numbers up, the rainbows need to be reduced. Please everyone, even those that are strictly C&R, keep the bows on the So Frk. We are spending thousands and thousands of dollars in the fight to keep the Snake River Cutts from being listed. Keeping the bows is a low cost way to help. There is even a cash incentive.

See page three in this newsletter for some of what is being done. http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/...keReport13.pdf
Here is a quote from that article:
"We have an aggressive program to keep cutthroat as the dominant species, we also realize it is impossible to completely remove rainbows from the South Fork. Appropriate flows are not applied every year, our weirs have varying degrees of effectiveness, and anglers don’t always harvest every rainbow they catch. As such, we will always have rainbow trout present in the South Fork, and that’s OK. Our goal for the river is to reduce overall rainbow trout abundance to levels lower than we currently see now and
similar to abundances we saw in the mid 1990’s. You can help us meet our objectives by harvesting all your rainbow trout."
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

Thanks Larry.
Still one of my top 2 rivers. Glad you had a great day.

Made the mistake one Fall day years ago during low flows, thought I could still float the canyon section if I didn't make any stops, "only pound the banks" I thought.
Geez, did I ever do a lot of pushing on the oars that day! We made it out, won't do that again. lol!
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

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Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
Thanks Larry.
Still one of my top 2 rivers. Glad you had a great day.

Made the mistake one Fall day years ago during low flows, thought I could still float the canyon section if I didn't make any stops, "only pound the banks" I thought.
Geez, did I ever do a lot of pushing on the oars that day! We made it out, won't do that again. lol!
John: I agree, it is pretty hard to beat the SF, the pure beauty that it offers is enough to make for a great day on the water, but the fishing can be phenomenal also.

I can't imagine rowing through the canyon in one day with the low flows, that definitely had to a day you won't soon forget.

Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

I'd love to see it at low flows! We drifted both the canyon and the upper sections in Sept a couple of years back and it was AWESOME.

I hope anglers will harvest the bows as suggested. The problem for guys like me is that we (1) hate killing fish and (2) don't really have a use for them 15 hours away from home...I can't bring myself to take them and waste them.

great river...-Mike
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Old 10-19-2013, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

great report and pics....beautiful fish ....as usual
Very chic anorak you got Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

When fish and game et.al. ask for angler support it is often more difficult to decide not only to harvest but to indeed consume or verify consumption of the fish. When you have kids that can catch fish it's easier. Should have seen them praying for rainbows!! Jake was tight lining a Girdle Bug to catch his share. Great times.

I much prefer this method of species reduction and think the angler should work hard in conjunction with the agencies to help manage the resource.

---------- Post added at 01:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:19 PM ----------

Larry you have really been getting in some good river miles! Keep up the good work.
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: South Fork of the Snake, ID

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Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
John: I agree, it is pretty hard to beat the SF, the pure beauty that it offers is enough to make for a great day on the water, but the fishing can be phenomenal also.

I can't imagine rowing through the canyon in one day with the low flows, that definitely had to a day you won't soon forget.

Larry
Even taking out @ Cottonwood, it was a long day.
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