Brown Town

The section of the South Fork of the Snake River between the Byington put-in and the Lorenzo takeout is affectionately known among local anglers as Brown Town. For anglers who love to chase big browns, this section of the river deserves their attention.

The Byington takeout marks the end of the South Fork’s canyon reach and the beginning of the “lower river.”

Here, in Brown Town, the river opens up a bit and starts to flow in earnest through some serious agricultural lands. Over the course of a daylong float from Byington to Lorenzo, the river loses about half of its flow to various irrigation diversions. Guides know the river well enough to avoid obstacles, like diversifying into the Great Feeder Canal. They’ll be able to help anglers identify hidden structures and deep-holding water where the river’s big browns love to hang out. 

Brown Town is seemingly always changing, likely because of all the water diversions. 


It features grass-lined banks that deserve anglers’ attention during the terrestrial season from late July into early October. It has a lot of bug activity all summer long, including an early-season golden stonefly hatch that brings the big fish to the top.



Anglers can float the river several times and never take the same route twice, thanks to the abundance of productive side channels in this reach. 

Even though it flows through a more “civilized” region of eastern Idaho, once on the river, anglers won’t know it.  The side channels are lined by giant cottonwoods that shade the river and help keep it cool, even on the hottest summer days.

While browns are often the target for anglers in this section, rainbows, cutthroats and whitefish still call this stretch of river home. That said, because the water temperatures tend to be a bit warmer in the summer months, there are fewer trout here than in higher sections of the South Fork. But the fish — particularly the browns — are bigger on average than they are elsewhere in the river. 

Anglers choosing to float Brown Town can choose from a daylong float from Byington to Lorenzo, or they can break up the day with a shorter float from Byingjton to Heise or even Byington to Twin Bridges. A lot of anglers choose other locations on the South Fork, but anglers who want to catch big browns — maybe even the fish of a lifetime — choose to float through Brown Town.