Nymph Fishing the South Fork Boise River- Mike Sandifer

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Nymph Fishing the South Fork Boise River

sf boise anglers journal

I woke up to the bright sunrise shining through my bedroom curtain and with that morning haze your brain goes through when it turns on for the first time, began to think what a wonderful day the South Fork of the Boise River had in store for me.  I had been anticipating this trip with visions of the many fly fishing adventures I have had on the South Fork in the previous decades.  During these years, the South Fork has had its bouts with Mother Nature from time to time but has always recovered to the point where the river I first fished so many years ago still fly fishes the same as it did my first time there.    Whenever I plan a fly fishing trip to the South Fork Boise, it is like planning a trip home, I can’t wait to see and fish all the familiar places along the river that have etched deep in my mind the joy this river gives me.

In many fly fishing circles the South Fork Boise River is considered to be among one of the Northwest top tailwater rivers (rivers flowing from a dam) for large rainbow trout.  There are a number of reasons  why  the South Fork Boise River has earned this reputation of greatness over the decades.  First it’s against the law for anyone to guide on this river leaving the river open to only free anglers.  This law keeps the South Fork Boise River, until recently, a relatively unknown tailwater river fished primarily by fly anglers from Southwest Idaho.  Secondly, the river boasts a huge population of aquatic insects that feed the rainbow trout until they become huge.  Last, the rainbow trout in the river are wild and among the largest and most powerful trout in the Northwest.

This reputation alone brings local anglers back to the river habitually during the ten months of the year the river remains open.  Many fly anglers who know the South Fork Boise River well will time their visits to when various hatches that occur on the river during the season.  This can make the river crowded at times, but unlike other famous rivers almost every section of the South Fork Boise can be productive.  Some of the best dry fly fishing in the Northwest can be found on the South Fork Boise when the river hosts some of the famous hatches the West is known for.  If you are a streamer angler then think no further that the South Fork Boise.  I have caught many huge rainbows and Bull trout ranging well over 20 inches over the years and still find the winter streamer fishing to be the best.  If you are a nymph angler then the South Fork Boise is your kind of river.  Nymphing the river was what I had planned on doing this morning.