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Fall Creek Falls @ Daryl L. Hunter
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.

 

Cover Idaho Magazine - Fall Creek Falls, Swan Valley Idaho
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

 

Swan Valley News
Greater Swan Valley Comprehensive Plan
  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.

Ski Magazine's Inn of the Month: Swan Valley's South Fork Lodge
  The award-winning lodge sits on the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River, which anglers consider one of the world's premier trout rivers. In keeping with Rockefeller's wish for a refuge of denim elegance.
The Resort Town Curse
By
Daryl L. Hunter
  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.

Yellowstone News

New Ebook

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

Black Pool in West Thumb Geyser Basin, stupid name for it huh?

The Search for Inner Peace: Yellowstone Retreat
By Melissa Whittingham

Soaring, rugged peaks, lush forests and glistening lakes are just a few of the spectacular features which entice travelers from far and wide to this legendary national park, along with a host of exciting recreational activities that challenge the body and let the landscape reveal its beauty in bewildering ways. A source of inspiration to painters, poets, and adventurers, its wealth of natural wonders make it the perfect place for a retreat to escape the city and suburban life and discover what the great outdoors has to offer. Whether it’s an athletic adventure, a spiritual journey, an artistic exploration, a chance to recuperate and recover or all of the above, there are endless opportunities to make the most of Yellowstone...................rest of story

Otters on the Yellowstone River

 

Yellowstone National Park In Need of Advocates
Says Former and Current Superintendents

The Greater Yellowstone National Park will always require advocates and need collaborative individuals and community to protect and support it. This shared statement comes from an extremely credible source. Two former superintendents and one current, share the view that despite the vast and epic landscape of such a vast natural ecosystem – the National Park will need help and support to maintain its wonderful condition and status as the oldest, largest and most popular National Park in the United States.....................rest of story

Super Moon over Yellowstone Lake

 

Yellowstone's Wild Gray Wolves

A stranger was roaming around. Black-haired, big, and handsome, he'd wandered into town a few days earlier and was looking for some action. Right now he was hanging out near some young females – twins, by the looks of them – and hoping to get to know them a little better. But unfortunately for him, it wasn't to be. Just as he was getting comfortable, their mom and dad showed up.
Two gray wolves, a few hundred yards south, their thick winter fur silhouetted against the snow. They took off toward the interloper at a dead sprint, two blurs racing along the frozen creekbed. The new wolf, sizing up the scene, tucked his tail between his legs and ran away. rest of story

Haden Valley's alpha male of the Canyon wolf pack wolf 712m

Animosity is poisoning Yellowstone

When I envisioned life in Yellowstone, I saw wild animals struggling to survive in the cold, snowy winter landscape. I knew that watching nature under harsh conditions would not always be pretty but I prepared myself to meet the realities of nature head on. Wolves, of course, played the top role in my mind but I had only seen them in the wild a couple of times and so the learning slate was clean and I couldn’t wait to learn. Never did it occur to me that there would be a small group of humans who spent their winter in Lamar Valley watching wolves and claiming ownership of them. Negative encounters with people was the last thing on my mind................ rest of story

 

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