Eastern Idaho Trout
The Henrys Fork, widely thought to be the finest trout stream in America, lives up to its reputation but the other fork of the Snake River, the South Fork, deserves nearly equal attention. This part of Idaho is a vision of the trout angler's heaven.
Rainbow trout feed on a dizzying variety of insects on Henrys Fork and on the South Fork. Some, like the Green Drake on Henrys and the Stonefly hatch on the South Fork, are legendary. Others are obscure and common only here. Help from the knowledgeable guides and fly shop operators is almost mandatory. Henrys Lake may well claim to be the best mountain lake fishing anywhere and rainbows make up the bulk of the big fish caught here. Rainbow/cutthroat hybrids are a particularly vigorous and beautiful fish that adds greatly to Henrys Lake's reputation. Island Park Reservoir, though less classic than Henrys in the minds of anglers, turns out tons of rainbows now that it has been rehabilitated. Fall River, Warm River and the Teton River draw less attention, so reward trout fishers with less crowding and fine rainbow fishing. Rainbows, hatchery or wild, are found in nearly every other lake, reservoir and stream in the region.
Cutthroat trout are the native Trout here and they have hung on well in an area with waters that have remained relatively pristine. Henrys Lake is famed for them, though the rainbow/cutthroat crossbreed often grows larger and draws more attention. Cutthroat is king on the South Fork, one of the last big waters where they can reproduce in healthy numbers and attain real size. Henrys Fork all the way downstream to its confluence with the South Fork at Menan is wild cutthroat water, as is the Teton River, Fall River and most smaller creeks in the eastern region.
Brown trout tend to be overlooked in this region but should not be. Palisades, Ririe and Ashton Reservoirs all hold browns. The South Fork and Henrys Fork also have their share. Brown Trout buffs concentrate on the tailrace at Palisades on down the South Fork to about Irwin, especially in September, because they know monsters swim this stretch and 15-pound browns are possible here.
Brook trout are common in the region, inhabiting smaller streams where water temperatures are cool enough. Though their numbers have decreased on Henrys Lake, size--up to six pounds--keeps brook trout fans coming back.
Lake trout are caught only one place in the region, Palisades Reservoir, but they are important here. Most are taken in the popular winter fishery.
For more information about the eastern Idaho region, visit our Eastern Idaho Information Page, or our
Eastern Idaho Services and Accommodations Page.