Whether it is your first-time fly fishing or you are a seasoned fisherman, we are here to answer any of your Middle Fork Salmon fly fishing questions. If you don’t have your own gear and want to try your hand at fly-fishing, let us know and we will outfit you with everything you need except an Idaho fishing license.
IDAHO FLY FISHING CHECKLIST
It is always important to be prepared with the proper gear when heading into the backcountry. For our fly-fisherman, beginners or veterans, we’ve put together a suggested list of the gear you may want to bring on your Middle Fork vacation.
License | You can purchase an Idaho fishing license at fly-fishing shops in Stanley or Boise. Licenses are also available on-line or by phone at 1-800-554-8685. Kids 14 and older must have a license. If you are taking a September fishing trip you will want your license to cover all the days of the trip. If you are on a summer rafting trip and won’t be doing a lot of fishing, get a license for the middle days of your trip.
Rods | Any fly rod that is balanced for line weights 4-7 and lengths 8-9 feet will set you up for success. Make sure the rod is in an unbreakable case. Avoid bringing classic or collector rods. Our Orvis rods are 8 to 9 feet in length with 4 or 5 weight line.
Lines | The basic fly line should be a floating type with a double taper or weight forward. The fly line should be matched with the rod. Behind the fly line should be enough backing (18 to 20-pound test Dacron) to fill the reel.
Leaders | Most people bring a couple of 4X or 5X leaders. Bring a spool of 4 or 5-pound tippet material as well.
Sunglasses | Eye protection is important. We recommend polarized sunglasses with a lanyard for spotting fish through the reflective glare of water.
Hat | A wide-brimmed hat comes in handy for protection from the elements and the occasional misguided fly
Tools | Bring a fingernail clipper, or “angler’s clipper,” for trimming leader and tippet. Small needle nose pliers, or similar tools, are helpful for “debarbing” hooks. Middle Fork regulations require that all barbs on hooks be flattened.
Flies | See our recommended flies below and read about our guides tips for choosing the right fly here.
The Middle Fork of the Salmon supports a hearty population of westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout. Trout thrive here and are aggressively attracted to a variety of fly patterns. Below are some flies that our guides have had success with and recommend. The images below show flies with barbs. Keep in mind that the Middle Fork is a catch-and-release stream and fishing must be done with single, barbless hooks. Click on the fly to learn the name of the pattern.
“I usually start with a fly that coincides with recent hatches. From there, I’ll try different colors. For me, the fly color is almost more important than the fly. I’ve seen Middle Fork fish go crazy for a purple pattern but won’t even rise for the same fly with a black pattern.” – Skip Volpert, Idaho River Journeys Guide
Learn more about choosing a fly and the different strategies that go into it.