Idaho Steelhead Fishing

“You really know your steelhead! And talk about “going the extra mile” WOW!”
– John S. Arizona


Idaho’s clear, pristine, free flowing Salmon River watershed creates a superior race of Native Idaho Steelhead, protected by the largest wilderness area in the lower 48. No dams here! The Salmon River is the largest free flowing river in the continental United States. Early Salmon River Native Americans,the Shoshoni, named the river, ‘Tommanamah’, which means, ‘Big Fish Water’! Need we say more? Oh yes! We fish the lower Salmon River near Riggins and the upper Salmon River near Salmon. This gives us the flexibility to follow and pursue Steelhead as they migrate up river.

Native Idaho (Fish the beloved waters Hemingway so eloquently wrote about)

Native Idaho Steelhead in excess of 40 inches and weighing over 20 lbs. is one of the Salmon River’s signature sport fish. Truly a wilderness species, it has no equal for strength or fight in the freshwater world of cold water fish other than it’s cousin, the Chinook Salmon.This is a “World Class” fishery right here in America’s backyard. No need to travel the world in pursuit of trophy fish, as the world comes here to challenge the legendary and famous Native Idaho Steelhead.

Idaho Hatchery 

The Salmon River has three different gene pools of Idaho Steelhead. The 1st is the catch and release native run. The 2nd is the Hatchery Clearwater B-run The 3rd is the Hatchery Snake River A-run. The hatchery fish make excellent table fare and the season and limits are normally quite liberal. Take does not jeopardize the welfare of the Hatchery Run. The Hatchery Snake River fish average 3-8 lbs. The Hatchery Clearwater steelhead weigh from 8 to over 20 lbs.

Lower Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho

With deep holes and large underwater boulders followed by rapids, shallow ripples, and eddies, the Lower Salmon River Canyon is the steelhead highway for upstream migrating fish. Our knowledge of where they move and rest on their journey to the upper Salmon affords you the opportunity to catch these large sea run rainbow trout. Our Lower Canyon techniques are more akin to stalking or hunting than to fishing. We search for these fish and educate you on the proven techniques to stalk and catch migrating fish in large river conditions. This is excellent early fall, and late spring season fly fishing waters when water temperatures are above 42 degrees. It is also phenomenal early season, mid to late fall and winter season , and spring season fishing with conventional steelhead gear. We fish by heated drift boats in extremely majestic canyon scenery with opportunities to view many species of wildlife.

Lodging is available at our Lodge on the Little Salmon River. The season is from the 1st of September and runs for 7 months thru the winter until the 30th of March. Best fishing normally is from the last week in September until mid December and from the 1st of February until the 30th of March.

Upper Salmon River at Salmon, Idaho

The upper Salmon River contains classic drift boat water with smaller river conditions that affords excellent spring and fall season steelhead fishing. Let our guides put you where the fish lie as this is excellent float and wade waters. There are steelhead from 3-14 lbs with occasional larger fish. The season for this part of the river is from the 1st of September to the 30th of April.  This area provides great warm weather spring fishing to heal the soul from the colder winter blues and excellent fly fishing waters for the novice or experienced fly fisherman.  It is the best place to learn to fly fish for the novice or experienced fly fisherman and the best place to learn to fly fish for steelhead. The river is about a quarter the size of the lower canyon with much shallower rapids and ripples.  There are cottonwood-lined banks with abundant wildlife such as bald eagles, turkeys, deer, beaver, blue heron, and various species of waterfowl. We recommend at least two days of fishing on this trip.

Our knowledge of where steelhead move and rest on their journey to the upper Salmon affords you the opportunity to catch these large sea run rainbow trout.

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