Fly Fishing Idaho Rivers and Creeks
Are you wondering where a cool new place to try fly fishing is? Idaho state is home to amazing blue-ribbon lakes, rivers, and creeks that are filled with luscious trout, salmon, steelhead, kokanee, catfish, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, and of course all your different trout. There are actually 42 different species of fish to catch! For all fly fishing anglers, Idaho is a never forgetting experience waiting to happen.
Idaho has a ridiculous number of streams and rivers, 26,000 miles of them in fact. For all of you that enjoy lake fly fishing, there are over 3,000 natural lakes in this state. The government owns 65% of the land in Idaho, keeping it protected and ideal for fly fishing.
Record setting fish have been caught all over Idaho. Some of them are a northern pike at 49 inches in Coeur d’Alene Lake, a flathead catfish at 42 inches in Snake River, a bull trout at 39 inches in Lake Pend Oreille, a white sturgeon at 119.5 inches in Snake River, a Yellowstone cutthroat trout at 31 inches also out of the Snake River, and about 50 more.
Depending where you are heading out on your fly fishing adventure, the season may differ a little, but for most fly fishing anglers, the season starts in mid to late May, as this is when the hatches start. The summer months are the best for fly fishing in Idaho, as this is when the hatches are in full swing.
4 Amazing places to fish in Idaho
Henry’s Fork, Snake River
This river is fished by anglers across the United States and Canada. Rainbow trout and brown trout feast on massive hatches that occur repeatedly on this river. Henry’s Fork is exceptionally cool as it flows out of a natural spring created by volcanic episodes. Sitting at 6,000 feet above sea-level, the river is overflowing with fish.
Every inch of the river is a dry fly dream. When the salmon flies are hatching at the start of spring, monster rainbows come out, making it a pristine time to be there with a fly rod. The first time I tried fly fishing here, I caught a 4lb rainbow on an Adams dry fly, what a rush! The fish striking one after another make this an incredible event, paired with the breathtaking scenery that Idaho has to offer.
There are 3 main areas of Henry’s Fork: Henry’s Lake to Island Park Reservoir, below Mesa Falls, and from Island Park Reservoir to Mesa Falls. You can expect to catch brown trout, rainbows, cutthroat, and mountain whitefish in this river.
Located near Victor, the Teton River is famous for fly fishing. Beginning the season off on the Teton River are the pale morning dun's hatch. Fish go nuts for these green, orange, pink, and yellow mayflies. A great part about this famous hatch is that it last for roughly a month each year. It generally starts once the water clears up after the run-off is finished.
Cutthroats are the fish to go for on the Teton River. They put up a wicked fight and are an overall beautiful fish to catch. Cutbows, rainbows, and my favorite trout, brookies, can all be caught in this river.
The river is broken into a few different stretches, but I find that the best fishing is in the upper stretch. Drift boats are ideal, if you do not have one, there are plenty of guided fishing charters and boat rental places. A great starting point is the Cache Bridge, and you can float down to the Harrop Bridge. It is roughly a 3 hour float if you aren’t stopping/getting out at the fishing holes.
South Fork Boise River
The South Fork offers a vast number of opportunities for fly fishing big fish! Anglers come from neighboring states daily to fish these big rainbows. Wading in this river is ideal, so don’t forget them at home, the water in Idaho is brisk to say the least.
Brook trout, kokanne, smallmouth bass, bull trout, and of course rainbows are what you can expect to catch, if you take the right flies that is.
The most ideal place to fish the South Fork is the tailwater between Anderson Dam and the Black Cr. Bridge. It may not be as popular as the Owyhee River in neighboring Oregon, or the Snake River, but some gorgeous rainbows can come out of this river. I personally like to fish waters that aren’t as busy with anglers.
Looking for challenging and amazing? Then look no further. Silver Creek is home to some wicked awesome fly fishing in Idaho for dry flies. The creek is located roughly 30 miles from Sun Valley. Brown and rainbow trout are abundant in these waters, often coming in at a 15-inches. Every year anglers are pulling out 9lb browns from Silver Creek, but experience with fly fishing is needed here.
What makes Silver Creek so darn amazing? The mayfly hatches that are never ending. I mean, how else do brown trout reach 9 pounds! Silver creek is cold and clear, what comes with that are smart fish. Matching the hatch and mastering your drift are the only ways you have a chance against these fish.
Blue winged olive hatches happen on Silver Creek year-round, so make sure to have at least 10 of them in your fly fishing case before heading out. Midges, terrestrials, and scuds are also prevalent in Silver Creek. Make sure to stock up on all these fly patterns to give yourself the best chance at catching one of those 9-pound browns!
There are so many great water sources to fish in North America, but the northwestern rivers and creeks are different in a good way. The cold and crystal-clear mountain water, joined with the scenery, makes these fishing trips stand out above the rest. Montana, Idaho, and Oregon are all full of rivers overflowing with trout, so you shouldn’t come up empty-handed when fly fishing.
I’ve been fly fishing to Idaho 7 times now and I have already booked a fishing trip there next year with some friends. Silver Creek is on our list since one of my friends is big into dry fly fishing and he wants to go after those monster browns. Wish us luck, and I hope to see you there!
If you like reading about fly fishing, our Zinger Fishing blog has a wide variety of different articles. We cover places to fish, what patterns to use, techniques, gear, and everything else to help fellow anglers land more fish in their nets.