As much as I truly enjoyed being back on the Southy despite the unremarkable fishing, it created a creeping angst leading up to the last two fishing days of the trip. We'd come to Idaho to catch cutthroat on dry flies and we'd have to figure out just where that was going to happen over the next 48 hours. Admittedly, a tough problem to have.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Our rendezvous with the South Fork had been a long time coming. It'd been almost two years since I'd last plied her waters and she'd been haunting me. For those unfamiliar with the area, the South Fork comes about something like this: The Snake River begins its journey in Yellowstone National Park, winds Southwest through Jackson hole and eventually empties into Palisades Reservoir, which straddles the border of Wyoming and Idaho. When the river emerges below Palisades Dam, it changes monikers and is henceforth known as the South Fork of the Snake. It's a broad, powerful body of water, flowing well in excess of 10,000 cubic feet per second for much of the spring and summer. It is widely considered one of the finest trout fisheries in the West; average fish size is strong and hatches are the stuff of legend. It is home to healthy populations of Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat, Rainbows and Browns, and to some of my finest fishing memories.
I can't begin to explain how many day dreams I had about that river during my hiatus. She doesn't always give it up easy but when she decides to dance, you had better bring your tap shoes because the action can be fast and furious. On this day though she played her cards close to the chest. The high flows of early summer, rumor had it, had put off the bugs and put a serious damper on the normally stellar dry fly fishing. We managed a few fish on both streamers and nymphs, including the first cutty of the trip, but we'd seen only a shadow of the rivers true character.