In the fall of 08’, our travels landed us in the heart of the potato state. A few minutes spent on google and we had a few rivers on the schedule. After visiting a few of the local fly shops, the common thread was “you have to fish the S. Fork”. I have nothing against the guys who like to drive right to the hole they aim to fish all day, but I enjoy the opportunity to hit the backcountry and hike/fish, hike/fish, hike/fish.....you get the idea. The S. Fork is unique in the sense that it offers both scenarios.
Idaho Power manages the access road which follows the river, and provides easy access for many miles of river. The access road leaves the river about 16 miles downstream of Anderson Dam but that is not where river access ends. Now on foot, the adventure-seeking angler can hike the edges of the river for many more backcountry miles. Depending on the day and the available time, we fished both along the road access and off the beaten path.
After a few seemingly short hours, we realized that these fish are both very wild, and very selective. Size 18-22 flies are the norm on this river in the fall, and a delicate presentation is a must. We had good success and brought a few fish to hand. All in all, our experience opened our eyes to a new, and amazing, river.
After day one came to an end, we pitched our tent just at the river’s edge and built a fire to counter the nightfall chill in the air. As we sipped a cup of coffee a lady came walking into earshot and asked if we would mind sharing our fire ring. We answered with a quick and obvious “no problem”. Little did we know that we would soon become good friends with the Idaho natives: Don, Holly, Mike, and Michelle, that we now shared our campsite with. They set up their campers and we talked long enough to find that we were all there for the same reason...so we fished the next day together, and have since then spent many more days on the river. Check out some of the sites...
John (above) found a nice corner holding a good number of fish. This particular fish happened to be #3 of 4 that he landed in about as many casts. He made his way out to the boulder he is parked on and skated a size 18 BWO.........BOOM! Don and I watches as he worked his position to perfection, casting and landing several quality fish. Sometimes its frustrating when an obvious holding position is visible but not accessible.....John maneuvered through swift water to achieve his position (boy did it pay off).
Until next time, cheers to bent rods!
Fly Fishing Specialist
Steelhead Alley Outfitters