Dispatch: South Fork Boise River

Near Anderson Ranch Dam

March 28 & 29, 2019

The “South Fork” as the locals call it, is a renown trout stream about an hour and a half east of Boise Idaho.  Lewis, at Idaho Anglers in Boise did a great job dialing me in to local conditions.  “The fish will be looking for Skwala’s, a stonefly, mostly nymphing but possibly some on top too”, he said.   The best time of day to fish is 11am to 4 pm when the sun is up and river temps are peaking.  Keep an assortment of Baetis and Midges too for hatches in the afternoon.  Streamers too are a good option.   Lewis felt it might not be worth going after 4pm (appreciate his honesty!).  However, since I was on a business trip, the only time I was able to fish was later in the day.  So off I went. 

Me in the canyon of the
South Fork

Day 1 was a “figuring it out” day.   Started about 4:30pm and hooked 2 but didn’t land anything.  A bit slow probably due to both time of day and my newness to the area.   Hooked one nice who got into the current and broke me off.   Cloudy with temperatures in the low 50’s. 

Day 2 was a different deal.  Arrived earlier, around 3:30pm, sunny and a bit cooler.   Wind and rain blew hard several times during the day but that did not seem to matter to the fish.   Tied on a size #8 Pat’s Rubber Legs stonefly pattern with a #16 prince on the dropper.  Second cast, boom!  A big rainbow slammed the stonefly.  He ran right at me then spun around and headed out into deeper water, jumped and flipped 4 times.  I chased him down stream about 30 yards and finally landed this 18” ball of fire.   I stuck with the same set up and end up with 4 rainbows, all 16-18”, and 2 nice sized whitefish in about 2 ½ hours. Things did for sure slow down after 5pm so get there early if you can.  Not bad for a Hoosier on a business trip!

The scenery around the
South Fork

Other things to note.  I’ve heard the South Fork can get busy but crowds were light.   Had no problems finding great spots to fish.  I was warned to go with 4wd vehicle, which I did, but did not need it.  The road into the canyon was in great shape.   Just be prepared for a hair-raising drive down into the canyon – lots of twists and turns and no guardrails.       

For you out of towners like me, Boise is an amazing spot in and of itself.   Be sure to check out the tons of top notch restaurants in town.  I ate at the Sunrise Café for breakfast– great food and great service.  For dinner, I ate at The Knife in downtown Boise andnd Barbacoa which is near downtown.  Both were not just good but phenomenal – a true dining experience. 

Tight lines!

Steve Haigh – Founder, GuideShareAngler     

One of many 16" + Rainbows


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