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Fish and Fishing

Many species of both cold and warm water fish are found in the Salmon River, including steelhead trout, salmon, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and catfish.  White sturgeon, reaching as big as 12 feet long and 100 years old, swim these waters.

The Salmon and Snake Rivers and their tributaries provide important habitat for steelhead trout and chinook salmon.  These anadromous fish, requiring both salt and freshwater in their life cycles, use the rivers’ corridors to travel the 500 to 900 miles between the Pacific Ocean and their home stream where they spawn.  Sadly, Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead runs today are only a fraction of their historic size.  Sockeye salmon are listed as an endangered species, and fall chinook, spring/summer chinook, and steelhead are all listed as threatened species under the Threatened and Endangered Species Act.  To read more about the cause to save these native fish, please see the Conservation section. 

The Salmon River Canyons is a world class fishery for bass, steelhead, sturgeon, catfish, and trout.  Depending upon the time of year, you just may catch every one of these fish on the same Idaho fishing trip

Some years there is a short spring Chinook salmon season in early June.  As the warmer water of summer arrives, the smallmouth bass become the fish of choice.  Most experienced smallmouth fishermen would say that it is not the size of the fish in the fight but the size of the fight in the fish that matters!  Although they are relatively small and most weigh only one to two pounds, they are one of the best fighting fish for their size that you will find anywhere.  

As the summertime water temperatures began to cool, the fishing focus turns to the fall run of steelhead.  Steelhead move into the canyons in mid-September and provide increasingly exciting fishing opportunities until mid-November when the water temperature begins to drop.  Fish average 5-10 pounds, with larger fish caught regularly each season.  If you are new to fishing or to the Lower Salmon River, you may benefit greatly from the knowledge and experience of local experienced guides.


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