Fishing in Idaho

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Idaho is revered as one of the top fly fishing destinations in the Rocky Mountains. Home to such famous fisheries as the Henry's Fork, the South Fork of the Snake River, and the Salmon River - the longest free flowing river within one state in the lower 48. Rainbow, native westslope cutthroat, and brown trout are often the main attraction, but steelhead and chinook salmon make a big appearance in the fall, offering anglers world-class fishing opportunities all throughout the year.

Sandwiched between Washington and Montana, Northern Idaho contains several excellent rivers like the Clearwater, known for it's famous runs of steelhead and chinook salmon, and the St. Joe, a blue ribbon trout fishery where native westslope cutthroat trout are the prized quarry. Central Idaho is home to larger waters such as the East Fork and lower section of the Big Lost River, and the Salmon River, AKA the "River of No Return". The Salmon River holds the farthest inland run of anadromous fish, with steelhead and chinook traveling over 800 miles from the Pacific Ocean to spawn. In Eastern Idaho, the Henry's Fork and the South Fork of the Snake River make up the main concentration of the state's fly fishing action.

May through late October is generally the prime season for trout, but if you?re after steelhead and chinook, the season kicks off in August and ends in late March with conditions being most stable in the fall months. If you're planning a fly fishing trip in Idaho, be prepared for some of the best trout, steelhead, and chinook salmon fishing the Rocky Mountain region has to offer!


ID Department of Fish & Wildlife
600 S. Walnut
Boise, ID 83707
P: (208) 334-3700

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Idaho Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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The Scout & Cast Story

Posted on February 10, 2015

My whole life has been filled with various trips to the lakes & rivers in search of fish. As a kid growing up in “Lake Country” Minnesota, it was practically a sin not to be a fisherman. I would...

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Guides based in Idaho

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Idaho Water Systems (147)

Water Access Locations in Idaho (325)