Your Best Spring Fishing in Idaho

Your Best Spring Fishing in Idaho
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

Although it's been a long and cold winter across the Gem State, the days are getting longer and Old Man Winter has loosened his icy grip. Warmer weather is coming, and it's time to dust off your fly rod and patch your waders; there's spring fishing in Idaho to do. Here are a couple you can't go wrong with this spring.

March & April

Her sheer beauty alone is enough to cause you to visit the Upper Salmon River come spring, but throw in migrating steelhead and more than 100 miles of road access and you have no excuses. As the steelhead move up through the canyons towards Stanley, anglers follow their progress. Although catch rates can be low and effort high, just being in the steelhead game makes for a good spring.

Bolting through shallow water riffles, Salmon River steelhead will congregate and rest in the downstream half of deep pools before they continue on their migration journey. These fish are more apt to strike a well-presented fly than those blasting through fast water. Egg patterns are always effective for enticing a strike, and streamers are also known to draw some attention. Picking the right size and color is always the key, so having a good assortment to choose from will help.

March, April & May

Starting from a trickle high on the Boulder, Pioneer and Smokey mountains, the "Wood," as locals refer to it, is Idaho's premier rainbow trout fishery, and when March arrives the residents start rising. This classic freestone fishery offers countless pools, riffles and runs for anglers to sample, and with recent creel surveys showing catch rates to be over one fish per hour, rainbows that average around 13 inches and trout numbering an estimated 3,000 per river kilometer in some prime stretches, it's easy to see why the Big Woods draws such spring angler attention.

Offering countless access points coupled with Idaho's generous river access laws that provide public opportunities below the high water mark to any of its waterways, it's easy to find a share of the river to yourself. Some of the best access points are found from Stanton Crossing all the way up to Lake Creek.

Because this is a freestone fishery, spring runoff does have an effect in May; however, fishing is excellent just prior to the river blowing out. Prior to this midge patterns always seem to catch some attention, so have your boxes filled with a variety of #16 to #24 midge patterns. Some better ones are Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge and Brassies.

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