The long-whispered-about purchase of the South Fork Lodge in Swan Valley was completed this summer.
Comedian and late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” purchased the famed property on the South Fork of the Snake River in June with partner and well-known guide Oliver White. The lodge is situated on a stunning bend in the South Fork of the Snake River just off U.S. Highway 26.
The purchase price could not be determined but the 25.83-acre property was listed for $7.95 million.
Efforts to reach White by email were unsuccessful Monday.
The Wall Street Journal Magazine reported the purchase in its October edition in an article “Gone Fishing.” The magazine reported the deal took nearly a year of negotiations.
“The renovated lodge will incorporate fishing art and books from Kimmel’s personal collection when it opens next spring for the 2021 season,” the article said.
Guest at the property can stay in “cabins, deluxe lodge suites or a secluded 4-bedroom home,” according to its website.
Kimmel is an avid fly-fisherman known to frequent rivers and streams in the Intermountain West. In a 2012 Q&A with Vanity Fair, he said that when he wants to get away from it all he goes “Fly-fishing in Montana, Idaho, or anywhere trout are hungry.”
A 2016 article on robbreport.com said, “Kimmel caught the fly-fishing bug nine years ago, when the musician Huey Lewis invited him to his home on the Bitterroot River.”
White, while not Hollywood famous, is a celebrity in his own right and is well-known in the fly-fishing world. Prior to joining with Kimmel on the South Fork Lodge venture, he was already a partner in two fishing lodges — Abaco Lodge and Bair’s Lodge — in the Bahamas.
A June 2016 article in Men’s Journal by Paul Kvinta had this to say about White, “In addition to global guiding, he co-owns two successful fly-fishing lodges in the Bahamas, both of which served as the setting for a television series about celebrities who fish, such as Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Keaton, and Tom Brokaw. His commercial sponsorships include Costa sunglasses and Yeti coolers. He writes a monthly column about his far-flung exploits for Fly Fisherman magazine, exploits that have also been documented in films and TV shows. People in the industry told me that White, 36, is fast emerging as fly-fishing’s preeminent personality.”
The original South Fork Lodge, about a mile downriver from the current site, was built in the 1930s, according to a 1998 Post Register article. Buell Warner bought the lodge in 1949 and ran it with his wife Dora for more than three decades before their son Spence took it over.
In the early 1970s, Spence Warner and one other fishing guide handled 20 trips per season, according to previous Post Register reports. Twenty years later Warner’s operation was booking more than more than 750 trips a season and had gone from two guides to eight full-time, and 12 part-time, guides.
In 1998, Warner sold the property to Mark Rockefeller, of Tarrytown, N.Y., youngest son of the late Nelson Rockefeller. Since 2013 the lodge had been managed by Natural Retreats, a luxury travel company operating in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland.