Steelhead Fishing, Idaho Style: A Story
Let’s take a trip town to Riggins to do some steelhead fishing, Idaho style. The nights are cold this time of year, so we can’t expect the fishing to be anything other than tough, but sometimes the river just calls. When that happens, you don’t have any choice but to make do with what the river will give you.
The drive out to Riggins will be relaxing; the snow is receding and the deer and elk are out in force by the sides of the roads — nature is getting in on this little trip long before we’ve gotten anywhere near the river. Did you bring binoculars, or a spotting scope? There’s a magnificent bull elk that hands out regularly at the rest area just this side of Rapid River; if you’re lucky, we’ll see him along the way.
Once we get to Riggins, we’re going to be putting down in a couple of places: Short’s Bar and the Riggins Park. Each is teeming with steelhead, but getting a bite won’t be as easy as it sounds in this weather; everyone’s feeling conservative in the cold, even the fish. The gentle breeze combines with the midday sun to make it actually pretty warm out, but we miss the first hit of the day because we’re distracted by a deer.
Finally, a few hours and a couple of lure changes later, the first hit! It’s a small crappie jig, so we have to fight the steelhead carefully — and fight it does. Several minutes later, certain of our victory, we start to reel the tired fish in, only to have the hook go straight on us, and the steelhead start making its way back to the Pacific.
As the evening starts to set in and the midday warmth leaves, we huddle in and devote ourselves to fishing Idaho‘s most elusive steelhead until we have something to bring home. Finally, an hour later, as the first drips of what promises to be a small monsoon start to fall, another solid hit, and this one doesn’t seem to have the will to fight — good thing, too, because neither do we. But our desire to put this trip in the ‘win’ column wins out over our fear of getting wet and the steelhead’s determination to be anything other than our dinner.
Victory is sweet.
MFRE is Dog Friendly on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon Rivers
If you wish to bring your pooch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon or the Main salmon this summer, it is possible with MFRE. You just need to give us a resumer for your pooch and see if h/she is a good fit for a river trip. If they are, then they need a life jacket and we need to double check everyone else on the trip is ok with a dog on the trip. We sometimes bring along Corndog, Dusty’s Dog or Sammy, Scott’s dog. Dogs must be well behaved and not beg and be good with people of course. It is a great way to bond with your dog and the family. They are great to have along, we are dog friendly. That said, we have only had a few trips were people brought there dog, and it always works out that the other guests love them.
Come join us this summer and don’t leave your well trained dog at the kennel!
Yours for rivers, James
Middle Fork of the Salmon Drift Boat Fishing
MFRE just purchased two 16 foot Hog Island Mckenzie Drift boats to use this summer. These boats have large padded casting braces on the bow and stern. This makes for some amazing fishing. These boats are also indestructable, made of HDPE plastic in a process called Roto- Molding. There is a You Tube video about chainsawing one in half and it still floats with three fisherman floating in a lake! Amazing. The stern has a large captains chair fishing seat and the bow has a 125 qt padded cooler to sit on.
Come Join us this summer on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in style with these new drift boat options.
Yours for rivers, James
Steel Head, Drift Boat: Idaho Awaits
If you’re into steelhead fishing from a drift boat Idaho has some of the best places in the world to get your lure on. Drift boat fishing is probably the most common method used to catch steelhead, but it’s also one of the hardest to get good at. You’ve got to have the right equipment, a clear understanding of how steelhead move and think, and the ability to distinguish between hooking a steelhead and bouncing your lure off of a rock or a log.
That last part is the hardest. When you’re dragging a piece of lead with a lure and hook attached across the bottom of one of Idaho’s hundreds of lakes or rivers, you’re always going to run into natural debris at the bottom of your waters of choice. Even steelhead fishermen with decades of experience have been known to pull up their line after what they thought was a simple rock bump and found evidence of a bite that they simply misread. The mastery of this skill is beyond the scope of this simple article, however: you’re just going to have to learn through experience.
Fortunately, while the skills may take a lifetime to master, you can get started drift boat fishing Idaho with a small investment in the right gear.
Your drift boat fishing rod needs to be firm enough that you can feel the bottom as you bounce over the rocks and gravel, but flexible enough to not snap when a big steelhead starts fighting you from 30 or 50 yards out.
Your reel needs to match your rod. A bait casting reel — or level wind — takes some getting used to, but they are very effective drift fishing tool, as they let you release additional line while maintaining control. If you’re using light lures or fishing from the banks in areas with lots of natural obstacles, a spinning reel can be the superior choice.
Your line can be braided or mono according to your preference, but should generally run at least in the 10- to 15-pound test range.
When drift boat fishing, you’ll always want a leader that’s lighter than your main line, because the chances of getting snagged on something and having the line break are much greater than in other styles of fishing.
All of the other gear choices are essentially matters of opinion, but follow this advice with your gear, and learn to master the art of telling a bump from a bite, and you’ll be well on your way to drift boat fishing Idaho like the veterans.
ISUP the Middle Fork Salmon and Main Salmon This Summer
MFRE purchased two C4 Waterman ISUP’s (Inflatable Stand Up Paddle) Boards last summer and had a ball! It was amazing to surf on the river in the calm sections and around camp at night. You can kneel and use a kayak paddle, stand up adn use a ISUP paddle, or lie down and paddle like a surfboard.
It’s amazing to experience the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in this way. It is even better yet on the Main Salmon RIver where the water temps are warmer and there are huge beaches to camp on. This makes the perfect place to learn this new and fantastic sport in the largest Wilderness Area in the US. The Main Salmon River Canyon is deeper than Grand Canyon. Both rivers have loads of hot springs. Imagine, ISUPing down the river to a natural hot spring shower that is natural and on the riverside. You paddle up and jump under the 104F waterfall and receive a back massage from the pounding of the spring on your back. Then jump back on the ISUP and peel out into the current from the eddy and head downstream. Sounds like a dream but that is what is happening out there is you just allow yourself to take a leap from fear and embrace the wilderness. The ISUP is one more tool in the quiver of river craft that MFRE provides to give you the ultimate experience.
Come Join us this Summer!
You’ll get those ripped abs you always wanted while ISUPing the Salmon River.
Exploring The Many Idaho Whitewater Rafting Adventures
Idaho whitewater rafting means exploring more than three thousand miles of rivers — more than any of the other lower 48 — through trips easy enough for a five-year-old and trips that will challenge the best whitewater rafters on the planet. The mighty rivers of Idaho can be tamed in rafts, kayaks, canoes, drift boats, jet boats or whitewater dories. Idaho also offers hundreds of experienced guides and licensed outfitters to help you get your whitewater on no matter what level you’re at.
The trips can last anywhere from six hours of drifting down a river, to week-long camping trips that stop at some of the most astounding natural tourist attractions in the United States. The longer trips involve everything you associate with traditional camping, from gourmet fireside cooking to fishing for your supper.
Here are some of the best Idaho river journeys the Gem State has to offer:
The flatlands in southern Idaho lull you into a false sense of security as you watch the beautiful scenery float by…and then, the Snake plunges you into Hell’s Canyon. The South Fork will show you some top-notch fly fishing and pleasant rafting trips until you hit the rough-and-tumble Murtaugh area just east of Twin Falls.
Just north of Boise, the Payette offers fairly easy paddling, with the South Fork fairly calm and the North Fork offering up Class III rapids at the worst — an area known as the Cabarton Run. The Payette also offers top-tier half-day trips for beginners and families.
The Salmon River is by far the best. Known as the “River of No Return” for some of its dangerous stretches, the Salmon also offers long, beautiful stretches of easy drifting if that’s your speed. Famous as one of the best catch-and-release trout fisheries in the world, the Salmon runs through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the single largest designated wilderness areas in the lower 48. The Middle Fork of the Salmon offers trips of 3, 5, and 7 days that explore this heartstoppingly beautiful area.
No matter which river you pick — even one of the dozens that aren’t mentioned here — a single Idaho whitewater rafting trip will etch its mark upon your heart for the rest of your life.
Get The Most Out Of Your Salmon River White Water Rafting Trip
If your goal is to see the outdoors at their wild extreme, a Salmon River white water rafting trip is Idaho’s answer to your need. If you’ve got the drive to feel your pulse pounding in every part of your body as you pit yourself against some of nature’s best worst, you’ll find it here. Whether your passion is for kayaks, rafts, or the more dangerous whitewater dories, Idaho can accommodate — and do it in some of the most starkly beautiful natural settings on Earth.
Of course, if Idaho whitewater rafting is on your agenda, you’ll soon end up at the Salmon River. With two different locations featuring different levels of difficulty and intensity, the Salmon River can fit any whitewater agenda. The main fork of the Salmon is known as the River of No Return — if you’re not already an experienced whitewater rafter, the main fork probably isn’t the place for you. The middle fork, on the other hand, is a much more family-friendly environment where people as young as five years old can participate freely in the rafting trips.
It’s important to stress that the main fork of the Salmon is for experienced rafters with top-notch equipment. If you don’t have a few years of whitewater rafting under your belt, all the right gear, and a guide, the River of No Return may just live up to its name. The middle fork is only available for family trips from July through September, but there are several 5-day and 6-day trips that will bring you through some of the most intensely beautiful natural settings you will ever experience.
The best part about the middle river rafting trips is that each day will take you not just down the river, but also past other natural tourist attractions that are worth stopping at and enjoying on their own. The trips are the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways. Whichever part of the river you choose, you’re sure to bring back memories of Idaho’s beauty which will last you for your entire life.
Happy New Year!
May your new year be full of happiness and Joy and health in Abundance.
Yours for rivers, James