Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a true find for fly fishermen gunning for the feisty cutthroat. While having been fished out in most rivers, cutthroat trout are flourishing in this remote wilderness. Located in The Frank Church Wilderness of No Return, the protected reserve encompasses 2.4 million acres of unspoiled, rugged terrain. Situated in the largest protected wilderness area within the contiguous 48, the Middle Fork offers an opportunity to commune with the area’s natural beauty while enjoying one of the most prolific cutthroat fisheries in existence. In the early 19th century, settlers floating down the river on their way west dubbed this area “The River of No Return” due to the major rapids it presented to them and still does.
Typically, the cutthroat found in the Middle Fork measure from 12 to 15 inches in length but have been known to reach up to 19 inches. The best method of catching these monsters is in a drift boat or raft, depending on the time of year. However, there are plenty of backwater eddies loaded with cutthroats and rainbows to tempt waders. By mid-July through September, the rapids slow to a navigable course and permit perfect conditions for spectacular fly fishing.
On extended fishing trips along 100 miles of the Middle Fork, through Idaho, outfitters provide all the comforts of home for an unforgettable camping experience. The evenings spent around the campfire instill a sense of comrade among the river travelers as they share in that day’s adventures.
Keep in mind that the Middle Fork is a true wilderness adventure. It is no trek for the uninitiated. Employing an experienced outfitter who knows the Middle Fork is the best, and safest, way to approach this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Best of all, an outfitter will arrange for all of the transportation, gear, and amenities that will be required for a memorable fishing expedition. Whether you’re planning a great day of fishing, or a multi-day adventure, an experienced outfitter will assure you of a successful time on the Salmon River.