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Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

The most prolific and unspoiled westslope cutthroat trout fishery in the world, the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River offers what many consider the finest multi-day wilderness float trip in America.

While the fly fishing is excellent throughout the season, the early season favors big white water, and the late season favors fly fishing. From July through September, low flows offer non-stop dry fly action for anglers of all skill levels. Late season fly fishing-only trips are limited to eight anglers and begin with a fly-in to the middle river allowing ample time to thoroughly fly fish this remarkable wilderness river.

Out preferred outfitter, Solitude River Trips, is owner-operated and boasts a superb staff, incredible Dutch oven cuisine, comfortable camps that are fully set up upon arrival, and a safety and service record that is unequaled in the field. For group members interested in more than fishing, hiking and paddling inflatable kayaks are daily options. Add to that the natural hot springs, native pictographs, and abundant wildlife of the area, and you will quickly see why we consider this trip through the lower 48’s largest contiguous wilderness area a never to be forgotten experience for family groups and nature-loving anglers alike.

For more information call Charles Gehr at 800.552.2729

Expert Interview with Charles Gehr

Why go?
1. Fish the most prolific and unspoiled westslope cutthroat trout fishery in the world.
2. Enjoy what many consider the finest multi-day wilderness float trip in America.
3. Exceedingly comfortable wilderness streamside camps.
4. Enjoy incredible dutch oven cuisine.
5. Experience superb staff and guides that know the canyon and its’ history better than anyone.

Where is the trip?
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River flows through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho.

How do I get there?
Trips depart from Stanley, Idaho. Guests can either fly to Boise, ID and rent a car for the three hour drive to Stanley or take a short flight via air taxi.

When should I go?
Late June trips are considered a premier whitewater trip. July flows offer the combination of big whitewater and fly fishing. The lower flows of August and September favor fly fishing only trips.

Where do they fish?
Most of the fishing is done on the Middle Fork. Feeder creeks offer an added walk/wade bonus on most days.

Who is best suited for this destination?
Anglers of any skill level that enjoy throwing dry flies to smaller fish in a pristine wilderness setting. This is a great trip for families where some will fish all day, every day and others wish to enjoy the whitewater float trip.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
Guests stay two together in large four-person tents with cots and sleeping pads. Solitude has built a reputation for outstanding food, and guests never go away hungry. There is always plenty! The meals feature fresh vegetables, lunch and dinner salads, salmon, chicken, New York steaks, two inch thick pork chops grilled over mountain mahogany coals, and Dutch oven cooking (biscuits, rolls, desserts) that is second to none.

Can you describe the atmosphere in camp?
Evenings and mornings in camp are my favorite part of the trip! Guests are free to enjoy their time relaxing in camp or going for hikes. All of the camps are set up on, or near, productive water for those who want to fish every possible opportunity. The guides and camp crew are excellent hosts and make sure everyone is extremely comfortable.

Is the owner on-site? If not, who is the manager or point person?
The owner is a guide on most, if not all, trips throughout the season. There is always an established trip leader and the camp staff do a great job of checking in on everyone in camp.

Is there internet or cell service?
There is no cell service in the canyon. All trips will have a sat phone for emergency use only.

How do they fish?
The fishing is all dry flies for cutthroat in the 10″ – 14″ range.

How many fish will I catch?
While catch rates will vary somewhat throughout the season, guests can expect to catch 15 – 24 fish per day if they’re fishing consistently.

Will we see other anglers?
You will see other groups on the river. This generally has little to no effect on anyone’s catch rates. The Middle Fork is a permitted river to prevent overcrowding.

Where do we stay?
Camps are moved downstream everyday by a separate crew so that you will float into a fully prepared camp every afternoon.

What is the cost?
The rate changes at different times of the season and whether you are in a fly fishing boat or a whitewater boat. Please see the Rates and Details section of our Middle Fork of the Salmon web page for current rates:

Does this destination combine well with other destinations?
The takeout near Salmon, ID has you within 3 hours of the varied trout waters of western and southwestern Montana.

What are the guides like?
The guides are dedicated professionals that spend years working on the Middle Fork. They are not only skilled fly fishing guides, but veritable encyclopedias of the natural and human history of the Frank Church Wilderness. I found that the guides really enriched my experience.

Does the outfitter provide equipment?
The guides are able to provide rods and reels, if needed.

What is your favorite rod(s) for this trip?
This is the ultimate 3-weight trip! I bring my 8’6″ 3-weight for the majority of my fishing with a 5-weight backup rod in case the wind becomes an issue.

Are there other activities?
Only floating and fly fishing. July and August trips will have a few inflatable kayaks for guests to use.

What are the physical demands?
Each day offers side hikes to various petroglyphs, waterfalls or hot springs. The hikes are generally short and not especially taxing.

Dangers and annoyances?
Some biting bugs like mosquitos can be present but are often not a major issue.