Fly-fishing the South Fork of the Snake River below Fall Creek Falls in Swan Valley Idaho
Swan Valley, Irwin and Palisades are the communities that comprise the scenic valley that nestle along the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River below Palisades Dam, collectively known as Swan Valley, one of the premier tail water dry-fly fisheries in North America but trophy trout fishing isn’t the only game in town. With the Big Hole Range to the north, the Caribou Mountains to the south and the Palisades Range to the east provide splendid panoramas and year-round outdoor activities are a magnet for sportsmen and adventurers.
On the south side of Swan Valley is the twenty-mile long Palisades Reservoir which provides great fishing, water sports, ice fishing and stunning scenery as it is hemmed in by the peaks of the Snake River Range and The Caribou Mountain Range. Many marvel at the paucity of boats on such a beautiful lake. There is a popular hotspring up Bear Creek that is a popular 8-mile round trip hike.
The Caribou Mountains are laced with backcountry roads and so access is quite easy. The Fall Creek Drainage has become a magnet for mountain bikers and always was for off highway vehicle enthusiasts and has been their popular camping/riding destination because of its vast network of trails.
The Snake River Range has become, a possibly too popular, spot as a hiking and horseback trail riding as the scenery there is stunning. However, if you go deep enough into the Palisades Wilderness Study Area you will find solitude.
Full Moon over the South Fork of the Snake River, Swan Valley, Idaho
The northwestern end of the Big Hole Mountains are laced with a network of dirt roads but the south end by Swan Valley as all access by trail only. The Big Holes are an awesome getaway for the hiker, horseback rider, and the ATV rider.
Many ranches of the valley have been subdivided, but there are still several ranches around to keep Swan Valley’s cowboy heritage alive. I do venture to say that a culture of fly-fisherman has largely supplanted the cowboy though.
The surrounding mountains are home to elk, deer, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears. Swan Valley is on the south side of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and so shares many wild assets as Yellowstone itself. The mountains and valleys have tremendous hunting, and the many mountain streams are all full of wild cutthroat trout.
This valley of about 700 residents is an outdoorsman’s paradise but not much else. It has a few restaurants, bars, fly shops, motels and fishing lodges but then that is about all an outdoorsman needs.
Daryl L. Hunter the publisher of this web site wrote this article about Swan Valley For Idaho Magazine
Podunk Perfect A Tourist Town Escapee Finds Nirvana in Eastern Idaho By Daryl L. Hunter
Carved by the South Fork of the Snake River between the Caribou Range to the west and the Snake River Range and Big Hole Range to the east, it is crowned by twenty-mile-long Palisades Reservoir to the south. It seemed to me a suitable place to land. I had driven through the valley often from my home in Jackson Hole, because Idaho Falls was where the affordable shopping was. I liked the valley because podunk places have always attracted me. Even so, Swan Valley’s abundant charm hadn’t jumped out at me, because everywhere in the Greater Yellowstone region is like this, and as much as you try to fish and hike every location, it just isn’t possible.
After I finally took a closer took, I made an offer on my future home, cast a fly upon the waters of the South Fork of the Snake, and in no time at all had a writhing, two-pound rainbow tail dancing across an eddy as the fish tried for the fast water a short distance away. Ah, ha! I had heard the South Fork was a better fishery than the Upper Snake, but had never bothered to try it. Now I was hooked..................Rest Of Story
Community planning in America
began during colonial times when it became necessary to provide
public services such as streets, public buildings, and plans
for cities and towns as the nation grew. Over time, legal standards
were adopted for fair and equitable development and use of
the land in public and private sectors of our society. By the
early 1800ês, planning standards had been developed for large
cities including the new national capital of Washington, D.C.
The capital plan set general standards for development which
are still used today. During the early 1900ês, concepts of
planning and zoning for areas beyond the cities were established
through the adoption of a body of land use laws at the national,
state, and local levels of government.
Clarification of Rainbow Trout
Stocking in the South Fork By Idaho Game and Fish
With the focus
in recent months on encouraging rainbow trout harvest in
the South Fork
of the Snake River there has been some confusion about
IDFGês rainbow trout stocking practices that warrant
clarification. True, until the early 1980ês IDFG was
guilty of stocking rainbow trout into the South Fork
and some of the tributaries. Although it was clearly
a mistake in retrospect, it was done to meet a demand
for harvest and provide a diverse fishery. Unfortunately,
thirty years ago biologists did not recognize the threat
rainbow trout pose to native cutthroat trout.
Since the early 1980ês IDFG has not
stocked rainbow trout in the South Fork, the tributaries,
or in Palisades Reservoir.
This would clearly be in conflict with our goal of managing
the South Fork for native cutthroat trout. Some of the
confusion is likely related to the stocking database
on the IDFG website. The website lists that South Fork
as having been stocked with rainbow trout as recently
as 2000. These fish were all stocked in the Dry Bed,
below the Great Feeder diversion. Because these fish
did not have access to the South Fork and were sterile
triploids incapable of interbreeding with cutthroat trout,
they pose no threat to the South Fork cutthroat population.
Regardless, this program has also been recently terminated
because of poor return-to-creel.
IDFG is sincerely committed to cutthroat trout conservation
in the South Fork. The efforts depend on anglers playing
an active role in suppressing rainbow trout. It is therefore
vital that anglers know their efforts are not being undermined
by counterproductive stocking practices by IDFG.
I have lived in many resort towns and I have noticed
a trend. I am attracted to them when they are still little, quaint
and undiscovered but it usually isn't long before word spreads
about the next great place.
A Case for Collars • By Keith Crowley
As a wildlife photographer I have a real love/hate relationship with radio telemetry collars. All photographers live in a world of aesthetics, and most wildlife photographers try capture natural animal behavior in natural settings with as little apparent human influence as possible. Even something as ephemeral as a jet's vapor trail in the sky can destroy a wild image. The permanence of collars (and ear tags, too) placed by human hands on wild animals is impossible to ignore.......................For my part, I think are few truly valid reasons not to collar wolves in Yellowstone. But there is also one really good one, and in the interest of open discussion, some points are worth exploring:..............rest of story
Skiing in the lap of nature in Jackson Hole
Jackson, Wyoming, is a rarity among the world's great ski towns because it is one of the few that is busier in summer than winter. But this is hardly the only thing that sets Jackson apart; it is rare in a lot of other enticing ways. It is a place where every stereotypical image of the American Wild West comes to life, from the arches in the town square made of elk antlers to the bar stools in the famed Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, topped with saddles. You might well see a bison on your short trip from the airport to the town and you will certainly see an elk. But beneath this romantic Butch Cassidy veneer, it is also one of the wealthiest enclaves in the US, where second home owners run the gamut from movie stars (Harrison Ford) to superstar athletes (Tiger Woods) and even former vice-presidents (Dick Cheney).............. rest of story
20 Years On, Yellowstone National Park's Experiment With Wolves Continues To Evolve • by Deby Dixon
"…A country without wolves isn't really good country, it's incomplete - it doesn't have its full spirit," said Yellowstone National Park biologist Doug Smith during an interview last year with NPR's Snap Judgement, about wolves, specifically about the life and death of a famous Yellowstone wolf, 832F, or 06. I set up my cheap scope and pointed it on the high, snow-covered hill where I had last seen the wolves and there stood a black pup, wearing a GPS collar, watching something below. Briefly, its father, also wearing a GPS collar, appeared on the hill before fading away. A van pulled in and visitors rushed out to see if I had found a wolf. "My first wolf in the wild," a woman exclaimed while looking through my scope.............. rest of article
Weird, wonderful things abound in Yellowstone in winter
When Yellowstone National Park is covered in a blanket of snow, things can get a little weird. With the 2.2-million acre park's geothermal stew of geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots, dizzying array of wildlife and a vast and diverse landscape, visitors are rewarded with an experience like no place else on Earth. "Throughout the winter season, the park becomes a visual smorgasbord that is both strange and wonderful," said Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts' Yellowstone National Park Lodges......... rest of article
The park's winter season began Dec. 18 and runs until March 2.
Young 4 Year Old Grizzly Killed By Wyoming Fish And Game......We Want Answers
A young Grizzly bear (#760 - Jim Bear) was killed by wildlife officers that are supposed to protect them from harm. This non aggressive bear was a favorite in the Grand Tetons National Park. He never once showed any signs of aggression and was a good bear. In early October he was "relocated" by Fish and Game because he wandered south of the park and on someone's ranch. By the way, the rancher never complained. Because it was a Grizzly, people freaked out and the bear was taken northwest of Cody, WY near a little town called Clark by Fish and Game. However, this was no place for this bear..................... read more and sign Petition
Jim Bear before Wyoming Game and Fish turned him into a rug.
Bear managers' credibility on the line By Tom Mangelson
American poet Robert Frost once expressed a sentiment that many of us feel in our hearts: "The world has room to make a bear feel free."
How I wish it were true today in Wyoming, home to one of the most exceptional bear populations on the planet, including members of the grizzly family so closely identified with our valley............................. Rest of article
Ahh, finally eighteen below zero and beautiful. I have been waiting for a day like this for months. Sadly, too often winter temperatures hover between 20 and 35 degrees, much to warm for the magic of the arctic cold. You draw in that sub-zero air and it's more refreshing than a mouthful of Minto peppermint with a dash of dry ice. Air so crisp it seems it could snap at any moment. The moisture in the air freezes and falls to the ground in sparkly slow motion dance to the ground. This miraculous and dynamic gift from the north facilitates art for those willing to fetch it..........................
Yellowstone visitors would pay an additional $41 to ensure seeing roadside grizzlies, a study shows, and the attraction creates 155 jobs and more than $10 million a year for the regional economy. The $41 visitors would pay is on top of the $25-per-vehicle entrance fee. If Yellowstone no longer allowed grizzly bears to use roadside habitat — and instead chased, moved or killed them — the regional economy would lose more than $10 million a year and 155 jobs according to the paper "The economics of roadside bear viewing."............................Rest of story
The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.
In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.
As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.
The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision. The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.
In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.
If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz. But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info
Yellowstone National Park: highlights
Locals like to say there's never a bad day in Yellowstone. But some activities are better than others. Near the top of my list is a slow drive along the north shore of Yellowstone Lake. The easy trail to Storm Point is worth a half hour's walk, or more if the wind is calm and the boulders are comfortable for sitting. A few miles east, a side road leads to Lake Butte Overlook which offers views across North America's largest alpine lake to the Teton range 100 miles south. This is a good place to be at sunset........................ rest of story
Yellowstone Volcano Warning?
Yellowstone National Park is fighting viral rumors that the park's bison are fleeing an impending supervolcano eruption. Officials told Reuters that they've been fielding dozens of calls and emails since a video of galloping bison went viral this week in the wake of an earthquake at Yellowstone. They said the video actually shows the animals running down a paved road that leads deeper into the park................. rest of story
Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park