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Idaho's Fly Fishing Rivers

South Central Idaho:

Big Wood River:

Big and wide, this freestone river flows through some of the most beautiful country in the world. Hemmingway fans can visit the Ketchum cemetary to pay homage to the man who loved this river.

Big Wood fly fishing hits full stride in August when the snow melt begins to taper off. This is one of the best rivers in Idaho for the wading angler. Route 75 runs the length of the best fishing areas from Belview to the North Fork. Don't forget about the tributaries, such as Trail Creek and Warm Springs Creek. Make sure to enter at bridge crossings, as much of the land is private.

Big Lost River:

The Big Lost River, located over the Pioneer Mountains to the east, provides exceptional fishing in the cold, freestone waters that cut through this high alpine setting. The Big Lost River passes through the town of Mackey and provides more incredible Idaho scenery and tremendous fishing opportunities. This vast watershed boosts healthy populations of wild trout, not to mention abundant hatches of aquatic insects.

South West Idaho:

Boise River:

The Boise River runs right through downtown Boise. This is a great river to fish if you have just flown in to Boise. There's nothing like cold water to take the kinks out of your legs! It's also a good chance to find out what you left at home before heading out to some of the more remote rivers.
Fishing for both wild and stocked trout can be quite good near the University. Barber park, on the east side of town, is a good place to fish if you have a little more time to spare. The river is dammed right at the bridge; downstream would appear to be the best option, since upstream looks to deep. However, if you walk about 250 yards upstream, the water becomes wadeable once again and is fished far less often. You can't go wrong with small caddis or hoppers.

South Fork Boise River:

The South Fork is just over an hour from Boise. The speed limit is 75 mph most of the way there. There is good access to wade the river for several miles below Anderson Dam.

This is a great wild trout river from mid-July and throughout the fall. Though locals complain that the hatches have been off for the last few years, there are still some great salmon fly hatches and the Albert hatch through July is reliable. The trout will also take hoppers and ants fished along the bank. Stealth is rewarded here.

  • Take Interstate 84 east from Boise towards Mt. Home.
  • Take the 2nd Mt. Home exit (Fairfield, Sun Valley) to Hwy. 20.
  • Drive about 40 minutes to the Andersen Dam road.
  • Turn left and follow the road across the dam.
  • FLATLANDER WARNING: The paved road ends abruptly and turns to dirt at the top of the valley. When you see the arrow pointing right, SLOW DOWN!!!! The descent into the valley doesn't bother mountain people but it is pretty tough on flatlanders. You have been warned...
  • Turn left after crossing the dam and drive along the river about 5 minutes until the water slows down a bit.

  • Middle Fork Boise River:

    Those who shun crowds will appreciate the Middle Fork of the Boise. The river is primarily pocket water and hosts a strong cadddis hatch. Terrestrials also work well here. I like the parachute hopper on this river; it's easy to see and works well near cuts in the banks.

  • Take Highway 21 from Boise toward Idaho City 20 miles to Forest Road 268, also called Middle Fork Road.
  • Turn right on Forrest Road 268, which follows Arrowrock Reservoir and then the Middle Fork.
  • Fish anywhere along the river between the Atlanta Dam and the confluence of the North Fork.

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