Fishing Idaho: The Gem State’s Hidden Gems
In terms of the sheer variety of outdoor recreational activities like hiking and fishing Idaho is one of the most diverse places in America. The locals tend to take these everyday pleasures for granted as part of their live here in the Gem State, but visitors to our neck of the woods will find it beckons them to return again and again.
To Idaho’s natives, fishing is a way of life. No one asks if an Idaho man fishes, but rather when, and where. With thousands of miles of rivers and creeks — more than in any other state except maybe Alaska — and more than two thousand lakes and reservoirs, you can fish your whole life away and never stand in the same place twice.
Idaho’s fishermen, both native and migrant, quest out every spring to Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Priest Lake up north, on the lookout for the Kamloops Trout, the Mackinaw Trout, and the fresh-water Chinook Salmon. Some of them chase down the elusive White Sturgeon, a magnificent creature that can live for a century and weighs as much as a small car. The Snake and Salmon Rivers are the best places to hunt down that unique game fish — but it’s best to bring a licensed professional with you; they’re not easy prey.
The rivers here in the Gem State are packed with all kinds of Salmon and Sturgeon and a giant mess of Steelhead, probably the most popular game fish in the state. Fishermen after those fish should head to the Clearwater, the Little Salmon, the Lower Salmon, the Upper Salmon, and the Snake Rivers.
Of course, it’s Trout fishing that made Idaho famous. Every creek, river, and lake in the state seems to be teeming with all manner of Trout. Trout can be snagged on bait spinners, flies, and just about any kind of lure. You can go trout fishing on a drift boat, from a kayak, an innertube, or a dock, or even just standing on the shore.
And no mention of all the fishing Idaho has to offer would be complete without mentioning the Whitefish, Perch, Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegills, Crappies, Catfish, and other warm-water fish that await the fishermen in the southern part of the state.
Yeah, there’s pretty much every kind of sport fishing, vacation fishing, and even occasionally survival fishing here in the Gem State, and the friendly folks here will be happy to help you find that perfect spot to have a perfect afternoon catching the perfect fish. That’s why the locals call Idaho the Fisherman’s Paradise.
Idaho River Rafting Is Rapid Fun
There’s no place like Idaho for people who love the outdoors, and Idaho river rafting is no exception. Travelers to the Gem State get the best of both worlds in Boise, for example: river rafting, skiing, hiking, classy dining, big-city entertainment, nightlife…the works!
It’s easy to spend an entire day just outside of Boise — snowboarding, shooting the whitewater, fly fishing, or walking the thousands of miles of trails — and then be back for dinner and a movie. But during the dog days of summer, when the mercury climbs up into the triple digits, there’s only one place to go for a truly perfect day: the rivers. The water is always cool, the beaches are always hot, and the accommodations are plentiful.
About an hour from Boise, you’ll find the Main Payette River. Trips leave from Banks, travel for eight miles down some beautiful stretches of river, through some Class II rapids including the infamous Mike’s Hole, and then come to rest about three hours later. It’s an excellent and relatively safe way to find out if whitewater rafting is your cup of tea.
If you’re looking for an even greater challenge, the South Payette offers a brutal Class IV rapids known as The Staircase. The name alone should conjure about the right image in your head: rapid-fire mini-falls with just enough space to catch about half a breath between them.
If you’re looking for something a big longer, the Middle Fork Salmon River offers five- and six-day rafting trips that careen through the infamous River of No Return Wilderness Area. There is, arguably, no more beautiful stretch of river in the entire Pacific Northwest…and with more than one hundred separate rapids, no more exciting stretch, either.
The deepest gorge in America — Hell’s Canyon — is smack dab in the middle of a beautiful five-day rafting trip down the Snake River. Part of the Idaho-Oregon border, the Snake drops you into Class IV rapids on the very first day. Cliffs tower nearly eight thousand feet over your head as the waters swirl around your feet — it’s an experience that even the most veteran rafter will never forget.
The solstice and full moon eclipse are happening on Tuesday. Please get out and celebrate the night sky if you can.
Enjoy the day of year where the dark of winter turns to light.
Idaho’s Best Fishing: Salmon River Runs
If you’re looking for some of the world’s best fishing, Salmon River Idaho has hundreds of stellar spots. The steelhead of Salmon River offer a challenge to even the most seasoned fishermen. Several experienced fishermen have described Idaho steelhead fishing as an apotheosis for many fishermen; a glimpse of fishing Nirvana. So what’s so special about the Salmon River?
First off: the fish. Steelhead are a variety Rainbow Trout that, unlike their Rainbow cousins, are hardcore enough to swim from the ocean to the depths of the inland. In a way, they form a kind of halfway point between Rainbow Trout and Pacific Salmon. They commonly grow up to a foot and a half in length — but in the Salmon River Canyon, where prey is common and space is abundant, they can get up to thirty inches long. But the Steelhead are just one reason that fishing in Idaho is such a treat.
There’s also the fact that there are just so many fish in Idaho. It’s hard to find anywhere on Earth with as many fish per square mile as the Gem State. Around the country, much of their habitat has been or is being destroyed, so many kinds of fish are in danger of becoming endangered. Many are also suffering from enteric redmouth, a disease that’s harmless to humans but devastates fish. Redmouth has even gotten into hatcheries, making our efforts to repopulate the rarer fish quite the challenge. These struggles aren’t affecting Idaho as badly as other places, which is part of what makes fishing Idaho such an excellent pastime.
There’s one more thing that makes Idaho rivers a perfect place to fish — the scenery. Half of the reason to fish at all is to enjoy a quiet time exposed some of God’s beautiful handiwork, and places like the Salmon River in Idaho are just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the man-made world that they have that special quality to them.
If you love to fish, there’s no better place on Earth than the rivers and lakes of Idaho.
NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder)
As more and more technology enters our lives we get further and further away from nature. With every generation and more electronic gadgets enter our lives we get “plugged” into an alternative unreal universe. We live through life in our own avatar, in an almost zombie state, looking at our gadgets and “applications” that we miss the present moment. The wilderness has a way of plugging us back into our true deeper nature. A river trip helps cure Nature Deficit Disorder and in return, connect future generations to learn the inter connectedness of all beings and forms a deeper connection to ones own being. To touch the inward being of all who travel her course, nature then plants the seed for her own survival.
We’d love to see you in the journey.
Yours for Rivers, James