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Idaho Fishing Report

Lakes & Reservoirs

South Fork Sponsored by
Date 03-Jan-21
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : South Fork:: It looks like about 900 cfs will be the maintenance flow out of Palisades Dam until the upcoming irrigation season. That seems a bit small to some folks, but consider that tributaries add a considerable amount of water to the river on downstream at least to Heise where the flow increases to around 1300 cfs.

News from F&G - Almost every year since 1986 IDFG conducted abundance estimates in October near the Conant boat ramp to monitor trout abundance in the upper river. At our Conant monitoring reach, we estimated trout densities to be 6,302 fish/mile. The 10-year average is 4,710. Good trout numbers are expected to contribute to continued good catch rates for anglers. Rainbow trout, which are the biggest threat to cutthroat trout through competition and hybridization, continue to provide management challenges. Rainbow trout made up 43.1% of the trout catch, so IDFG plans to continue efforts to lower their abundance using the angler incentive program and other tactics.

Abundance surveys have been conducted near the Lorenzo boat ramp most years since 1987 to monitor abundances in the lower river. At Lorenzo, Yellowstone cutthroat were estimated at 1,260 fish/mile, the highest on record (Figure 2)! The ten-year average for cutthroat is 407 fish/mile. The total trout estimate was 2,650 trout/mile which was significantly higher than the ten-year average of 1,889 trout/mile. Brown trout are doing well here too with 1,390 fish/mile which is slightly lower than the ten-year average (1,477 fish/mile).

Other rivers in the western U.S. also host estimates of trout per mile in the thousands, but few boast estimates higher than 5,000 trout/mi. Within Idaho, the South Fork Boise, Big Lost, and Henry’s Fork rivers boast some of our highest abundance estimates, but none have exceeded 6,000 fish/mi. Other rivers in the west such as the Green River below flaming gorge reports 10,000 trout/mi, but stocked 14,500 RBT in the summer of 2020. Similarly, the Idaho rivers with high abundance typically receive at least some hatchery trout supplementation. The SFSR is not supplemented with hatchery trout. The exceptional wild trout population in the South Fork highlights the extremely high productivity observed in recent years in the river and the potential this tailwater fishery possesses. For anglers, high abundances of trout should ensure that fishing will remain great into next year and beyond.

Reported by: Jimmy's All Seasons Angler

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About: - It is between the Henry's Fork confluence and Palisades Dam that the South Fork is known as one of the finest dry fly rivers in North America. All of the Fish in the South Fork are wild and fish between eight and sixteen inches must be released because they are the prime breeders.

Fishing Articles on the South Fork:

Fishing The Famous South Fork of the Snake River 

  • Brook
  • Browns
  • Cutthroat
  • Rainbow
  • Whitefish

Misc Info: - The South Fork is now open year round to provide additional angling opportunity and give anglers the chance to help native cutthroat trout by harvesting non-native rainbow trout.

Effective January 1,2013, the Upper Snake Region the limit is removed on rainbow trout and hybrid trout in the South Fork Snake River tributaries. The limit on brown trout is two, with none under 16 inches, and no cutthroat may be harvested.

The South Fork tributaries (Burns, Pine, Rainey, and Palisades creeks) do not open until July 1.

South Fork Flows
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