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The South Fork & Main Snake River Sections

The Lodge at Palisades Creek fronts one of America’s great fly fishing rivers, the South Fork of the Snake River. The Lodge has five different sections of the South Fork and numerous options on the Main Snake River available for guided fishing trips. These sections traverse a total of 55 miles of the South Fork of the Snake and about the same amount on the Main Snake. The following briefly describes each section, its proximity to The Lodge, and its unique characteristics.

The South Fork Section 1: Dam to Conant

This float starts right at the tailwaters of the Palisades reservoir and is a swift flowing section with tree’d banks and deep channels. A local favorite is to fish laps at the Palisades Dam pool. The Falls Creek Falls are also on this section and provide great fishing and scenery.

This first section of the South Fork is characterized by spectacular riffle fishing. For the angler who wishes to explore the South Fork on foot, there is simply not enough time in a day (or week) to investigate this section of our river. It contains scenic views of our beautiful Swan Valley and the Fall creek waterfalls.

Your return trip to The Lodge is approximately 15 minutes.

Dam to Conant

The South Fork Section 3: Cottonwood to Byington

This section of the river is incredible with high sweeping cliffs and wild pockets carved by the river. This section can often yield some amazing catches, but requires an early start.

This trip is also unique in that it commences at the tail end of the “canyon” section and proceeds 12 miles to the Byington take-out. The put-in takes about 75 minutes to access but is worth it as far as positioning on the river during busy season. Simply put, you get ahead of the crowds. Fishing traverses a number of famous areas including Henry’s Bathtub and Table rock. It combines excellent bank and rifle fishing with scenic beauty. The return time to The Lodge is approximately 20 minutes. As with Section 2, we recommend a departure of 8: 30 to 9:00 a.m.

snake river fishing guide

The South Fork Section 4: Byington to Lorenzo

The river begins to braid out as it flows out into agriculture country. Section 4 has some close out channels and should only be navigated by experienced rowers. we refer to this section as “brown town”. All species of trout can be found here but the brown trout really likes this area.

Enjoy a completely different look as the South Fork exits the canyon and flows through one of the largest natural cottonwood stands on earth. This section is recommended early in our season (May 15 to July 1), as the water warms early on this 7 mile section.  The Twin Bridges section is known to hold huge brown trout and fishes extremely well during the salmon fly hatch, which usually begins in late June.The return to the Lodge takes approximately 50 minutes. Some bank fishing, but more “trash” piles of trees and logs with some outstanding riffle fishing.

The South Fork Section 5: Lorenzo to Menan

Often overlooked for the quick access of the upper South Fork of the Snake, section 5 offers fewer crowds and provides opportunities for a larger trophy catch. Habitat include dead tree piles and lots of rifles.

This is another unique section of our river which, at times, resembles a trip through the Amazon. Because of warmer temperatures, this section fishes best in May and June. This section is known for early salmon fly hatches and huge brown trout. The float itself is 8 miles long and requires a 50 minute trip to the access and a 70 minute return to The Lodge. This float is particularly recommended in May and June. For those anglers fishing the day they depart and flying out of Idaho Falls, it is worth noting that the Lorenzo take-out is approximately 20 minutes from the Idaho Falls Airport.

The Main Snake River: Gem State Dam to American Falls Reservoir

From roughly Idaho Falls Idaho to the town of Blackfoot the Snake River is known to our guides as “Project X.”  Trout numbers here are lower than the famed South Fork but your chance as catching a fish over 20″ is very good and guests have landed trout over 30″!  The fishing is demanding and it’s not a numbers game but if you’re willing to listen to your guide and put in the work the rewards can be great.  

Depending on the section you float plan on a minimum of a 1 hour drive from the lodge and up to two hours for the return trip.

idaho state record cutthroat

The Main Snake River: American Falls Reservoir to Massacre Rock State Park

This is one of the West’s best kept secrets.  Open to year round fishing as of 2012 or so, this river shines as one of the world’s best winter tailwater fisheries and a spectacular summer fishery for small mouth bass.  Anglers can expect water flows to drop in late October to create amazing walk and wade opportunities for huge Bows, Browns, Cuts and Hybrids.  During Spring and Summer months and higher flows,  Fishermen throw nymphs and streamers from Drift boats for trophy trout and bass.  Trophy carp round out the mixed bag of this super river. 

While accessing this section is possible from our lodge the best fishing for trophy trout takes place in Winter and Spring when the lodge is closed.  Most anglers chose to stay in Pocatello and meet up with their guide.  

tanner lewis fly fishing guide