Idaho’s Best Fly Fishing Destinations
If you’re looking to go fly fishing anytime soon, you’ll want to book a trip to Idaho. The state is filled with natural creeks and streams that are prime locations for fly fishermen, and you’ll never have a hard time finding beautiful rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.
The Best Time Of Year For Trout In Idaho
The later part of the summer tends to be the best time for you to fish for trout in Idaho. The rivers tend to get shallower, and the mayfly population explodes. That means that anytime between late spring and into the fall will be your best times of the year for fly fishing in Idaho.
But with that said, there is great fly fishing year round in Idaho. So whether you’re chasing the hatch in summer or walking snowy banks in the winter, there’s trout in these waters, and they’ll strike at any time.
The 7 Best Fly Fishing Streams and Lakes In Idaho
1. Teton River
The Teton River offers something for everyone. It’s a long mountain river that’s divided into a high section and a lower section. The higher section of the Teton River breeds massive rainbow trout, and it stays within a good temperature range for trout fishing year-round. It’s also a great spot for fly anglers to get their feet wet with its shallow waters.
The lower section of the river is where you’ll want to go if you want to catch massive cutthroat trout during the peak season. The waters are calm enough for you to take a stand-up paddle board or a fishing raft, and the cutthroat and rainbows are plentiful. However, it’s not a great spot for using your waders as the water can run deep.
In addition, the scenery in the Teton River area is spectacular. You’ll be treated to the sight of a majestic mountain range regardless of which section you decide to fish at.
2. Henry’s Lake
If you’re looking to catch a lot of trout in a very short amount of time, then Henry’s Lake is a great spot to visit. The water is relatively shallow and it’s frequently stocked with cutthroat trout, cutbow trout, and brook trout. The trout aren’t dinky little things, either. A lot of trophy-sized trout have been pulled out of Henry’s Lake. This is due to the fact that leeches, damselfly nymphs, and baitfish account for 50 percent of a typical Henrys Lake trout’s diet. The food here is plentiful.
The only issues you’ll run into at Henry’s Lake are its lack of rainbow trout and its popularity. The lake is pretty famous in Idaho, and you won’t be able to fish alone most of the time.
I’ve found that larger streamers do well in Henry’s Lake among other wet flies that imitate small baitfish. Leave your dry flies at home on this trip. There are minimal dry fly fishing opportunities here, even though more anglers are experimenting with dry flies, they just don’t seem to work well on Henry’s Lake.
3. Silver Creek
If hard fighting rainbow trout and brown trout are what you’re after, Silver Creek should be your first stop when in Idaho. The water here is shallow, fast-moving, and absolutely packed full with rainbows and browns.
The best time to fish at Silver Creek is during peak season. The fish here aren’t known for growing very large, but they do get big enough to keep, and they happily bite on most flies you present them.
You should note, however, that you do need to look out for privately-owned land. The creek is more than 30-miles long, and large sections of it are on privately owned farmland. If you’re finding trouble tracking down the property owner, try using an app like OnX Maps, which give you the owners information for any piece of land.
4. Big Wood River
Big Wood River is one of the most accessible rivers in the state. It’s located right in the middle of Idaho, and that makes it a sort of fly fishing hub. The trout are plentiful in the Wood River, and the atmosphere is great for weekend fishing excursions and kid-friendly fishing trips.
However, you can only fish at Big Wood River after the snow has melted near the end of June. If you fish in the spring or late fall, there’s a very good chance that you simply won’t catch anything.
5. Salmon River, Idaho
Even though the Salmon River has numerous brown trout swimming in its waters, you might want to consider targeting the river’s steelhead and chinook salmon when they’re running. The Salmon River is one of the few rivers that has salmon in it in Idaho, and you don’t have to travel to the coastal states to pick up one of the most popular fish in the world.
The bass fishing in the Salmon River is pretty good as well. Overall, it’s a great spot to put your fly fishing skills to the test. There are plenty of spots for you to wade, and the hardier fish species will make it more difficult for you to fill your basket. I suggest using larger streamers when you fish at Salmon River.
6. Hayden Lake
Located in the northern portion of the state near Coeur d’Alene, Hayden Lake offers excellent fly fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, bass, and northern pike. This way, if the trout are being stubborn, you can put on a top water popper to entice that bass.
The variety of fish species makes it appealing to fishermen who want to consistently catch popular game fish throughout the day, and there are a few spots that are good for wading. It’s not the best fly fishing spot due to its varying depths, but if you can get into a good spot, you’ll absolutely love it.
7. Little Wood River
Little Wood River has two major sections that you can take advantage of. There’s a reservoir near the first section which is stocked fairly well, and it’s a great spot to spend your day relaxing.
However, the actual river part is where you should go if you want to catch the biggest fish that Idaho has to offer. The water is rapid, and the cutthroat trout and rainbow trout are highly aggressive. They also grow well over the average size of Idaho’s other trout populations. You won’t have an easy time fishing in Little Wood River, but your efforts will be rewarded.
Idaho’s Fly Fishing Regulations: FAQ
Idaho’s fishing regulations are fairly easy to understand. Here are a few of the most common questions people have regarding fishing in Idaho. For more information regarding Idaho fishing regulations, you can check out the state’s official regulations here.
Idaho’s Trout Limit: How Many Trout You Can Keep in Idaho
In Idaho, you can typically take home six trout per day. Some fisheries have much more generous limits, and some fisheries barely allow you to take anything home. With that said, before you head out, you should check any posted limits before you start casting.
How Many Fishing Rods Can I Use In Idaho?
With a standard fishing license, you can only use one rod at a time. However, Idaho offers permits that allow you to increase the number of fishing rods you can use. With fly fishing, that’s not really a big deal. It is worth knowing if you want to use spinning equipment in Idaho’s trout fisheries, though.
Do I Need A Fishing License In Idaho?
You do need to purchase a fishing license to fish in Idaho. However, a standard fishing license only gives you the ability to fish with one rod. If you want to fish with multiple rods, or if you want to fish in certain areas, you’ll have to purchase different licensing packages, too.
More Information On Trout Fishing In Idaho
Only a limited amount of regulations can be covered in this article. If you would like to learn more about the fishing regulations in Idaho, this link will get you over to the official Idaho Fishing Regulations.