Wintery Angling: Fly Fishing is not just a warm weather pursuit

Fly fisherman on the Henry's Fork in Island Park, Idaho.

Planning the ultimate fishing get-away? Hit our wintery waterways and cast to your heart's content. Take a few days to angle your way through one of fly fishing's most spectacular regions!


Why should Henry's Fork be on your Wintertime bucket list?

Start in Island Park ! The Henry's Fork section of the Snake River is a top-notch winter fishery boasting rainbows, big browns, and mountain whitefish. Fishing on the river kicks off its rainbow trout season early, with improved catch rates typically observed in March. Sunny days mean insect hatching and fish rising to the surface for feeding, which enhances the angling experience.

Outfitters are plentiful for anglers seeking a guided experience on the Henry's Fork. Island Park's Drift Lodge & Fly Shop offers experienced guided excursions on many waterways running from Yellowstone to Ashton . Check out Yellowstone Teton Territory's comprehensive list of guides and outfitters and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River Angler map to plan your trip.

If you are heading out to the river on your own, be sure to layer up. Talk to locals at favorite establishments such as Trouthunter and Connie's Restaurant and Saloon during your stay in the Island Park area to discover fishing spots off the beaten path. Local equipment rentals through High Mountain Adventure or Lakeside Lodge make snowshoeing or snowmobiling to remote, prime fishing spots more accessible.

Insider tip: On colder winter days, cast with streamers, nymphs and egg imitations. One warmer, sunny days, try your luck dry fishing with midges and Blue Winged Olive mayflies.

Map of the Henry's Fork.


Where to wade

Great fishing locations between Island Park and St. Anthony , ID are better with waders. Just outside of Island Park, the waters of Box Canyon make for some rewarding winter fishing, but due to high snow levels, getting riverside is best traveled via snowshoe.

Another cold season favorite among native Idahoan fly fishers is Warm River to Ashton . Access is restricted in this area, with snow blocking the boat access at Stone Bridge and Jump Off Canyon. Maneuvering a boat through this water is possible, but it will be challenging. Ice jams at boat ramps can also complicate take-outs. Consider leaving the boat behind and wading above the bridge where the Warm River and Henry’s Fork converge.

Insider tip: Deep nymph rigs can yield trophy-sized results in this section.

One of Eastern Idaho's best-kept fly fish secrets is the stretch of river between Ashton and St. Anthony. Boat access is limited and frequently, shelf ice creates impassable conditions. Winter fishing in this area offers plenty of access for those willing to bundle up and wade, with the best times being during the warmest parts of the day.

Insider tip: The fly selection remains consistent, with worms, zebra midges, rubber legs for nymphing, and Griffith's gnats for dry fly fishing.

Spend the night at The Fishing Bear Lodge in Ashton and stop by Trails Inn Restaurant or Frostop Drive-In for a hearty meal.


South Fork of the Snake River is where it's at

While the Island Park/Ashton area of the Eastern Idaho region offers winter fishing galore, the quieter town of Swan Valley is home to some pretty spectacular fishing as well. The South Fork of the Snake River offers phenomenal year-round trout fishing and there is no limit on rainbow trout. In early March, the South Fork is usually low and conducive to wading, offering good opportunities for trout and whitefish. Rainbow, German Browns, and native Cutthroats are well-populated along almost 66 miles of pristine water from Palisades Dam to the Henry’s Fork confluence.

Insider tip: Use Julie's Shuttles on the South Fork to move your vehicle safely to your take-out point while you fish the river. Servicing all public ramps, let Julie know your schedule and experienced drivers will make sure your rig is there for you!

After a day of casting, be sure to grab a bite to eat at The Snake River Roadhouse where comfort food rules! We recommend fried pickles and a steak dinner to warm your belly after a cold day on the water. Want to stay the night? The Lodge at Palisades Creek offers the ultimate in comfortable accommodations during the wintertime months!

A room at the Lodge at Palisades Creek.
A man holds a giant brown trout while fly fishing on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Ashton, Idaho.
solid trees

Read then Plan
Blogs to Travel By