Let's begin with northern Idaho. I receive emails from fly fishers nationwide, and sometimes other countries, about fly fishing not only in Idaho but the entire northwest. Here are some of my personal choices:
1 - Snow and Queen Lakes are both located in Boundary County Idaho. I recently bought a new float tube for this very purpose. My plan, pack in by horse and fish until dark. I know for a fact that Snow Lake holds cutthroat trout, for I go personally to the hatchery and pick them up, some 1200-1500 fry, each year so that my wife and her riding colleagues at the Selkirk Valley Back Country Horsemen can pack them in.
2 - The North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River particularly up around Teepee Creek is a great find. The section up high here holds some great cutties. The river is best accessed from I-90 and is a bit of a drive but well worth the effort. It is wade fishing only in the fall and is catch and release. Read your Idaho fishing regulations.
3 - The St. Joe River high above Avery gives some great year round action. Also a bit of a drive either from St. Regis, MT or through St. Maries, ID. This is also a wade fishing only river above Avery, ID. Down below one can float.
|Drift Fishing the Missouri|
5 - The Locksa River below the Montana college town of Missoula I have never fished, but intend to soon. Somewhat like the Joe, but I understand the canyons take some hiking so you must pack in your waders and other gear. Take Hwy 12 off of US 93 over the pass to get there. It is about an hour below Missoula. While in the area, you might also like to wade the Bitterroot River--you'll be driving right next to it. The "Root" has a great skwala hatch in the spring.
|Skwala Stonefly Nymph|
6 - Kelly Creek in central Idaho is supposed to be one of Idaho's greatest fly fishing secrets. "Kelly Creek begins high in the Bitterroot Mountains of the panhandle of Idaho in a very remote area…..Kelly Creek has more than a normal population of caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. Blue-winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Yellow Quills and other mayfly species" may also be present. (Courtesy of the “Perfect Fly”). Terrestrials should begin as soon as the nights warm. I have seen varying regulations here, but for sure it is no bait / barbless and catch-n-release. Check with the state before fishing prior to Memorial Day. Exit off I-90 at Superior, MT onto Diamond Road (Hwy 250). Follow over the pass to the river. Kelly is a tributary of the North Fork of the Clearwater River, which runs into the Clearwater River at Orofino/Ahsahka, ID and eventually into the Snake River at Lewiston, ID.
|YSF Stinger - Foam Terrestrial|
I could go on, but if you fish all of these this year and in 2016, you will have done great. More to come with next year's "Bucket List".
Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and bent rods to all forever.
|The Colonel and his rainbow.|
Tags: Cutthroat Byway
Flathead River System - Montana
Grande Ronde River - Idaho
Kelly Creek, ID
Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana
Kootenai River - No Hoot Owl
Missouri River - Montana
Moyie River - Idaho