American Fly Fishing

Blue-Ribbon Tailwater
By R. Chad Chorney


Lower South Fork Boise River, ID

Jessica French plays a nice rainbow trout from a gentle tailout during a late-winter outing on the South Fork. Perhaps counterintuitively, this river is often at its best during the winter months, largely thanks to reduced flows.
Photo by R. Chad Chorney

Boise, Idaho, has consistently ranked as one of the best places in the United States to live, work, and raise a family. The city is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream—hiking, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, and fishing opportunities abound in and around the City of Trees. One of the more productive fisheries located close to Boise is the lower South Fork Boise River. The South Fork, as its commonly called, is a trophy rainbow trout fishery near the community of Mountain Home, Idaho, about 90 minutes east of Boise. The lower South Fork is a blue-ribbon tailwater formed by the dam that created Anderson Ranch Reservoir, and it flows through a rugged canyon for some 30 miles before entering Arrowrock Reservoir.