I'd scheduled a two-day, 28-mile float to take in the South Fork's wild and roadless canyon stretch, with a bunk at the South Fork Lodge's private canyon campsite. It's a sweet spot shaded by cottonwoods, with cabin tents, woodstoves, and a monstrous fire pit, and overnighting on the river lets us skip the frantic dawn hatch of drift boats at the Conant Valley ramp. Deardorff and I launch at a civilized 10 a.m., and for the entire first day's float, down some of the most coveted trout water on the planet, we see only two other parties on the river. Hours into the float, though, the fishing stays slow. On a river revered for its dry-fly fishing, the hatches are spotty and sparse, hampered by rain.