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We have briefly discussed the Boise River. Its South Fork is home for huge bull and rainbow trout.
The stretch below the Anderson Reservoir is considered a tailwater fishery and the forage here is fantastic.
You are only allowed to use artificial lures and barbless hooks to take. Carry leeches, big terrestrials, BWOs, midges, and San Juan worms.
Hayden Lake sits on 3800 acres and the 40-mile coastline is plenty for various fishing opportunities from largemouth bass to pike and trout.
The government through the fish and game stocks it with kokanee salmon and rainbows regularly hence the generous limits.
Have conehead marabou leeches if hunting salmon.
Try the Salmon River if you are looking for chinook and steelhead.
Winter and spring are the best months for steelhead fishing. Chinook are more active in the fall.
You will not be disappointed with the resident brown trout and smallmouth bass fishing offerings in the summer.
Most anglers fish from a boat when here. However, wading won’t be a bad idea.
Pack egg patterns and flashy intruders if you are targeting steelhead.
One of Idaho’s freestone rivers is the Big Wood River in the central part of the state.
The fish populations here are healthy.
Thanks to the regulations set in 1992 that have been implemented to date.
Mayfly, caddis, and stonefly hatches happen here. A hopper dropper rig will be your best bet.
However, a pheasant tail, small terrestrials, stimulators, and Bloody Mary will do. Pack a 4 or 5 weight fly rod.
The Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho is where Kelly Creek is located.
You will catch plenty of cutthroat trout in good sizes.
It is peaceful here and a good place for anglers looking to bond with nature.
You are restricted to catching and releasing only.
Fishing is with artificial flies and the season is productive from spring to fall.
Hagerman Trout Falls are a fantastic location if you have kids and teens who’d like to try their luck with rods and reels.
It is located in the Thousand Springs area and homes crappie, bluegill, bass, and rainbow trout.
The falls have a strategic place for special access docks which can allow the young ones to get onto water safely.
The Swan Valley is where the South Fork of the Snake River is.
Most anglers come here in summer.
There is no road access as the stretch is beneath the Palisades Dam.
Trout are in plenty and fishing from a boat is the only means of enjoying time with your combo. It has small waves and riffles making it easy to fish.
Anglers favorite the Henry’s Fork of River Snake and harbor large rainbow and brown trout.
Dry fly fishermen will have lots of fun here.
The scenery is fantastic in the high desert and the gentleness of the river together with the greenery make it the best for hatches in spring, summer, and fall.
However, the best season here is summer.
For the best proceeds fish the stretch from the Riverside take-out to the Island Park Dam.
Accessibility isn’t a hindrance to fishing this fork as a highway runs alongside it.
Carry waders if you don’t have a boat.
Kelly Creek is in the northern areas of Idaho, particularly in the Clearwater National Forest and has the best cutthroat trout offerings.
It is a catch and release area only. Other regulations that have seen this creek maintain its status is the use of artificial lures and flies only.
It is a place full of solitude and spring, summer, and fall are the best times to visit.
Yellowstone National Park covers parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Each of these states benefits from the fly fishing opportunities that it offers.
The part of the park in Idaho is silent because it is mostly tableland.
This makes you surrounded by mountains once you are here.
There are so many rivers, streams, and ponds to select from.
Be mindful of the wildlife here as you will need to hike to some spots.
Summer and fall are the best months, though spring too is deserving.
Robinson Creek snakes through the Three Rivers Ranch and has its source in the Yellowstone National Park.
Accessibility is excellent and waders will be the luckiest people here. Some sections are private while others lie on public land.
The Hebgen dam led to the formation of Hebgen Lake which has some of the best dry fly fishing opportunities in North America.
Here, you can catch lots of rainbows, browns, and cutthroat trout. Their sizes are between 14 and 18 inches while some surpass this range.
More fantastic spots that you can check out are the Earthquake Lake, Madison River, Gallatin River, Firehole River, Buffalo River, Bitch Creek, Gibbon River, Fall River, Gardner River, Swan Falls Dam, Oakley Reservoir, Lake Cascade, Brownlee Reservoir, Lake Lowell, CJ Striker Reservoir, Mann Creek Reservoir, Payette Lake, and Magic Reservoir among others.
Tips for Successful Fly Fishing in Idaho
Always confirm the weather conditions. Northern Idaho is common for its snowstorms and a rain jacket is among the gear to pack.
If going to the mountainous areas, even if it is blazing hot in town, the heavens could burst anytime. Weather conditions greatly affect water levels which in turn affects fishing too.
Did we mention that having a plan B is crucial? Sometimes, the year can come with insignificant snow packs and the runoffs can go past July.
You should be prepared to try other rivers. Even with the predictions, you never know what to expect.
Salmonfly hatches are common on the Madison, Henry’s Fork, and other waterways in this state.
Don’t limit yourself to its imitations. Try other flies as well, you never know which one the fish will love best.
They also should be in great shape and the right colors.
If you aren’t an early bird or the late evening bugs worry you more than not having to catch anything, you can be the one guarding the waters in the mid-morning when the water is slightly warm and the underwater bugs are active.
Whether you are a resident or non-residents of 14 years or more and need to fish the waters in Idaho, you must have a valid fishing license.
If you intend to fish salmon and steelhead, you will require a special permit.
Be aware of all the regulations in your areas to fish. Some are catch and release spots, others for fly fishing only, some are on private waters, while others aren’t.
Check the fly and lure restrictions, and the bag limits of this to avoid breaking rules.
For your fly fishing combo in case you are just starting your fly fishing journey but need to travel and have fun, a 9-foot 5-weight rod will do well in most rivers and lakes.
FAQ’s – Questions on Idaho Fly Fishing
Q) Can you fish in the night in Idaho? A) In as much as most of the public parks allow for fishing until dusk only, there are areas that don’t limit you to the hours and time that you fish. Just be careful to fish without breaking any rules.
Q) Is it legal to fish using live bait here? A) If you catch live bullfrogs and crayfish in the water body that you intend to catch other fish in you can use it. Otherwise, you are forbidden from using live bait to catch fish in Idaho.
Q) How many steelheads is one allowed to keep in this state if fishing in the fall? A) The bag limit for steelhead in the fall is one per day. However, you can only keep a maximum of three.
Q) Which is the best place to fish in Northern Idaho? A) One of the best places in this region is Lake Coeur d’Alene which is famous for large chinook and kokanee salmon. You can also catch bass, rainbows, and Mackinaw.
Q) When is Priest Lake open for fly fishing? A) Priest Lake is open for fly fish all year round.
Conclusion on the Best Fly Fishing in Idaho
The natural beauty, numerous waterways, excellent infrastructure and amenities, and the friendly residents all make up a homely place for any non-resident who intends to have a good time here.
If you happen to stay here longer and can’t build impeccable fishing getaways, you must be having a major problem.
Or maybe you could try golf. The choices here at random are pleasing and encourage you to keep exploring as each location has its unique experiences.
As you decide on which ones to start with, pass by our buyer’s guide section to select and purchase the best gear to suit all your angling needs in Idaho.
We hope that we have put in our best to compile some of the prime areas that any angler can comb and not regret.
The list doesn’t consist of all the areas in Idaho. If you have more that aren’t included here, mention them in the comment box.
Also, share with us where you have been to and what your experiences were like.