In August, we started discussing guides. This was an easy conversation as I knew that Simbo was on the Henry’s Fork Anglers crew. He had gotten to know many of the best guides in Idaho from his spot near the register, behind the huge fly selection, in the lodge pole building that anglers world wide think of when they start planning a trip to southeast Idaho.
For this float, Simbo tightened up a plan with Arkansas native Paul Hoelscher, a seasoned veteran from the Henry’s Fork Anglers team. Paul has hammered out a life for himself in Idaho, guiding over 100 float trips a year. He’s a husband (proudly pronouncing that his wife is a “world class fly caster”), a new father, and a high altitude hunter. An hour long drive from Last Chance took us to the launching dock on the Snake river at Southfork Outfitters, just north of Swan Valley on Highway 26. Paul gave us a quick breakdown on what we might need for the day. We spent a few minutes in the Southfork Outfitters fly shop and were in the river by 9am.
I was amazed by the traffic on the river. On the Henry’s Fork the day before, we didn’t see another drift boat all day. The activity on the Snake was like rush hour traffic. Over the course of the day we saw at least 60 drift boats, but regardless the river produced for us. We caught more fish than I can count and all species—browns, cutthroat, rainbow and whitefish. We also saw bald eagles at almost every turn. The Snake River is a large body of water, wide and slow in some spots. As it spreads out, the current runs faster and Paul showed his skills navigating the Clackacraft drift boat through riffles and rapids.