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The Rogue River begins near Crater Lake and flows 215 miles through the mountains and valleys of southwest Oregon emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the town of Gold Beach. Rushing ... morefrom the Cascade Range, the river glides into the Rogue Valley floor, drifting peacefully past cities and towns and agricultural lands. The Wild and Scenic River designation begins west of the city of Grants Pass where the Applegate River flows into the Rogue River. The river turns north, flowing through the scenic Hellgate Canyon, and then bends sharply west at Grave Creek, where the Wild Section of the Rogue River begins. Here the powerful river cuts through the rugged terrain of the northern edge of the Klamath Mountains. The river churns through the steep rock walls of Mule Creek Canyon and the boulder-strewn Blossom Bar Rapids before slowing in Huggins Canyon and Clayhill Stillwater. Below the town of Agness, the Rogue and Illinois Rivers join and flow through picturesque Copper Canyon. Below Copper Canyon, the river widens and slows, with the Wild and Scenic designation ending where Lobster Creek enters the Rogue River.

Flowing through time, the Rogue River has nurtured those who have come to its lush banks. The earliest inhabitants were Indians who lived a life of hunting, fishing, and gathering. Various Indian tribes made their homes and found sustenance along the Rogue River for over 9,000 years before Euro-Americans arrived. In the 1850s, miners poured into the Rogue Valley and Indians awoke to the coarse cry of “Gold!” which, with startling immediacy, signaled an end to a way of life Indians had known for thousands of years. The boatmen of the early- to mid-1900s, whose daring and perseverance established dominance over the wild waters of the river, were responsible for opening these waters to the guide-fishing industry and whitewater boating that has become so economically vital to southwest Oregon today.

The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. With its famous steelhead and salmon fishing, challenging whitewater, and extraordinary wildlife-viewing opportunities, the Rogue River continues to be one of the world’s most popular recreation destinations. The 34-mile Wild section features predominantly Class III (or less) rapids, and includes thundering Rainie Falls (Class V) and breathtaking rapids at Mule Creek Canyon (Class III) and Blossom Bar (Class IV).
Maclean may have been writing about another river, but the St. Joe certainly fits his description. Bordered by beautiful fresh water lakes, the river does not just empty into them ... morebut it literally runs through them. Located in the northern reaches of the Idaho panhandle, the St. Joe is thought to be the world’s highest elevation, navigable river, running for over 120 miles through Grade II and III rapids. Considered to be one of the cleanest rivers in the US, it is famous for its native West Slope cutthroat trout, incredible scenery and its proximity to the sophisticated town of Coeur d’Alene. Here you can find lodging that ranges from basic to luxury, restaurants that cater to every palate and a long, interesting list of things to see and do including rafting, cycling, horseback riding, lake cruises and sightseeing via sea plane.

Starting high in the Bitterroot Mountains, the river has benefited from measures taken to preserve its pristine allure. From its initial 26-mile journey to Spruce Tree Campground, it is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Beyond Spruce Tree to the North Fork, a run of about 40 miles, the St. Joe has been set-aside as a National Recreation Area. Efforts to safeguard the river have been a great boon to anglers. According to Idaho Fish and Game, the number of cutthroat trout in the St. Joe varies from 800 to 1,200 per mile with 30% plus measuring over 12 inches long. The river is very accessible as the St. Joe River Road runs along its banks for about100 miles.

Anglers can expect to find a variety of cutthroat when fishing in these waters. Pure strains of West Slope are thought to remain mainly in feeder streams where they were able to avoid spawning with state stocked rainbow trout, a practice that is now discontinued. One migratory type of cutthroat moves upstream from Coeur d’Alene Lake to spawn in early spring and summer before moving back downriver. Other cutthroat species travel from the upper river to the lower river later in the season. In order to keep populations thriving, the St. Joe east of Avery has been designated as catch-and-release waters and live bait is prohibited. Most of the river is welcoming to all anglers, from beginners to experts, and is suited to floating the rifles or wading through its many hidden pockets.
Game Fish Opportunities:
While it may seem nonsensical to think of Marilyn Monroe and fly fishing in the same breath, the Salmon River and the “blonde bombshell” are permanently linked together in American ... morefolklore. Given it’s wild runs and deep canyons, the river acquired the moniker of the “River of No Return, and was made famous when Monroe and Mitchum starred in a 1954 film with the same name. In fact, the Salmon runs unobstructed for 425 miles, making it the longest free-flowing river within one state in the lower 48.

Not only are its rapids wild and untamed, the Salmon also travels through two nationally designated preserves, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Gospel Hump Wilderness areas. Recognized for its scenic importance, Congress declared the 46 miles of the river from North Fork to Corn Creek as a national recreational river and the 79 miles from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar as a wild river. At points along the Salmon its granite walls are one-fifth deeper than the Grand Canyon and over 180 miles of the river is more than one mile deep.

Fed by several tributaries such as the Yankee Fork, South Fork Salmon and Little Salmon, the river supports both cold and warm water fish including smallmouth bass, bull trout, sockeye salmon, Chinook salmon, squawfish, sucker and catfish. Legend has it that white sturgeon over 12 feet long and over 100 years old also inhabit these waters. The Salmon and Snake rivers provide critical habitat for steelhead trout and Chinook salmon. These fish require both salt and fresh water and use these streams to navigate from the rivers where they spawn, to the ocean where they spend their adult lives. The river offers high quality sport fishing for resident populations of cutthroat and rainbow trout as well as steelhead and mountain whitefish.
Within the Idaho borders, the most recognized section of the Snake River for fly fishing is commonly referred to as the South Fork, a 66-mile stretch that starts below the Palisades ... moreDam and flows through stark canyons, looming valleys and broad flood plains until it reaches Henry’s Fork near Menan Buttes. Ranked as the one of the most productive Blue Ribbon Rivers in the US, its last census counted over 5000 fish per mile. Since 1985, the River has been included in the nation’s Wild and Scenic River System, boding well for its preservation and future.

Home to the largest riparian cottonwood gallery forest in the West, it is considered by naturalists to be among the most diverse ecosystems in Idaho. In addition to the cottonwoods, it is also home to over 120 avian species, including raptors, songbirds, shorebirds and game birds, earning it a distinctive “National Important Bird Area” designation. Outside of Yellowstone National Park, the South Fork corridor also contains the country’s largest native cutthroat fishery and an extensive population of other wildlife including moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, river otter, beaver, fox and mink.

Famous for its large summer stoneflies, with Salmon flies often reaching 3 inches in length, the best dry fly fishing is during the months of July and August. The hatches in the first half of July are so prolific that fish readily come to the surface in great numbers to seize the appetizing display. By the first week of August many fish have already been caught and released and become more hesitant to bite. At this point experts suggest employing emerger and cripple patterns, especially if the fish are feeding in the South Fork’s riffles and back channels. Lodging and guided trips are widely available. 
Averill Harriman, then Chairman of the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad, returned from Europe in 1935 impressed by the spread of luxurious ski resorts throughout the Austrian, Swiss and ... moreFrench Alps. Anxious to expand markets for his own trains, he set out to build American’s first high-end ski area near an existing UP railhead and hired Count Schaffgotsch, a famed Austrian skier, to scout the ideal location. The Count recommended Sun Valley as the perfect site, but there was a problem – the season was short, running only from December through April. In an effort to create an all year playground, Harriman invited Ernest Hemingway to hunt and fish from his lodge. Hemmingway loved it, wrote about it and encouraged his friends to join him and his son Jack as they hunted and fished along Silver Creek. Harriman’s Introduction of Hemingway to the environs succeeded, firmly establishing the valley’s reputation as a sportsman’s paradise.

In the early 1960’s the property was sold to a developer, and fortunately for fishing enthusiasts, the surrounding area including Silver Creek, was part of the transaction. When the property was again for sale in the mid 1970’s, Jack Hemingway stepped in and helped facilitate the purchase of the land by the Nature Conservancy, permanently insuring its preservation. Silver Creek is an ecological anomaly as it is part of a high-desert, cold spring system formed from underground aquifers and unlike typical freestone rivers, tends to maintain consistent temperature and water levels. These consistent conditions yield rich nutrients and provide model waters for trout to live in and thrive. Browns typically range from 14-16 inches although 17-20 inchers are not uncommon. Rainbows found in backwater sloughs can range from 22-24 inches. The creek is approximately 70% rainbow, 30% brown.

Several smaller feeder creeks with clean, gravel stream bottoms provide the breeding grounds for Silver Creek. Despite the fact that the browns and rainbows found today in Silver Creek are not indigenous, they have flourished and the Creek has not been re-stocked since the 1975. Ironically, native cutthroat trout are no longer present in the Creek, although the river continues to support a variety of other wildlife including songbirds, shorebirds, cranes, bald and golden eagles, mule deer, elk, coyotes and a rare mountain lion.
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The Wind River Indian Reservation, an area nearly as large as Yellowstone National Park, is home to the remaining Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe, Native American Tribes. It ... moreis also home to a considerable portion of the Wind River before it reaches the Wedding of the Waters near Thermopolis and becomes known as the Bighorn. At its head, below the Boysen Dam, the Wind River Canyon appears narrow and formidable with rocky walls rising 2500 feet into the air. But don’t be intimidated. The Wind River Canyon is one of the West’s best-kept secrets, harboring excellent pocketwater fishing along its entire 15 mile run. Full of trophy browns and rainbows, it’s not unusual to net 18 to 26 inch trout while 30 inchers are infrequent but not unknown. Float fishing is available but professional guides are highly recommended since the river descends the canyon in a series of Class II and Class III rapids and conditions vary widely from season to season.

Wind River crosses into the reservation at the confluence of its East Fork, about 35 miles below its headwaters at Dubois, Wyoming. In continues in a southeasterly direction for nearly 75 miles where at Riverton, it abruptly turns north. About 20 miles downstream from this point, the river’s flows are captured by the Boysen Reservoir located outside the reservation’s boundaries. The open, high plain of the Wind River Valley is lined on the north by the Owl Creek Mountains and to the south and east by the Wind River Range. Strong winds which funnel down the valley from the northwest, give the river its name.

Wind River Lake, at the base of Togwotee Pass northwest of Dubois, is the source of the river. For its first 10 miles it is barely more than a trickle but it soon doubles in size as it merges with Sheridan Creek. Visitors can find lodging in Dubois, the social and recreational center for the northern Wind River and the eastern Absarokas mountains. Flows on the upper river fluctuate during growing season due to irrigation releases from tributary lakes. Experienced anglers say early spring, before the seasonal runoff, is the best time of year to fish, although April 1 to September 30 is the official fishing season. Fishing is good for rainbows, browns and cutthroats in the 12-16 inch range while it’s possible to hook a considerable number of larger fish.
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Originating in Jackson County Colorado, The North Platte flows north until it reaches Jasper, Wyoming at which point it turns southeast and eventually empties into the Missouri River. ... moreOver 300 miles of this lengthy river, run within the state’s boundaries, making it Wyoming’s longest tributary of the Missouri. The Upper North Platte is best defined as remote, undeveloped and pristine. For fly fishermen seeking quiet and solitude, this section of the river has much to offer, including 55 miles of heavily forested greenery and Blue Ribbon waters from the Colorado border to a point just shy of Saratoga.

Near the junction of the Encampment, another highly regarded trout stream, the river enters the high plains and runs free until blocked by the Seminoe Dam and reservoir, about 100 miles north of the border. Below Seminole Dam is the smaller Kortes Dam and a short distance downstream from there begins the world famous Miracle Mile. This stretch is not known for dry-fly fishing; for best results, anxious anglers are encouraged to use nymphs, woolly buggers, streamers and glo-bugs that can be fished deep or just under the surface film. Favorite nymphs and emergers, in bedheads and unweighted, include squirrel tails, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Prince nymphs, flashbacks, caddis larva and caddis pupa. There is full public access along the Mile although accommodations are mainly limited to campsites.

If you are intent on finding the rare and difficult, The Dome Rock Reservoir, located in the North Platte drainage basin, is managed as a finespotted cutthroat fishery although catches are limited and tackle is restricted. Fishing in North Platte reservoirs can also be challenging and rewarding. Seminoe, Pathfinder, and Alcova are excellent sources of both trout and walleye. Another excellent tailwater fishery is located just below the Alcova Reservoir from Grey Reef Dam to Goose Egg, just west of Casper, where you can find cutthroat, rainbows and browns. Since the Miracle Mile tends to be crowded, Grey Reef appears to be taking its place as the fly fishermen’s new “most favored” destination.
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Melting snowpack from the Wind River Mountains give rise to the Green River, Wyoming’s second longest. After flowing south over 700 miles, the Green enters into the Colorado River ... moreand is considered by many to be this river’s headwater. Supposedly named by 16th century Spanish explorers for its clear color, a mystery since most people say it looks quite the same as the murky Colorado, the river ran basically unimpeded until the early 1960’s when the Fontenelle Dam was completed. One year later another dam was built in Dutch John, Utah, which flooded the scenic, red-rock Flaming Gorge for nearly 90 miles, creating a deep-water fishery famous for its monster lake trout and trophy browns.

Despite man’s effort to tame the Green, over 150 miles of the river still run free. Set between the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bridger Wilderness area, the remote river basin has retained its rugged, pristine, scenic beauty. Locals joke that there are more elk, bear and deer in residence than people, a fact attractive for those seeking an authentic, fly fishing experience. Fishing is thought to be best during the late summer and fall seasons when there are prolific mayfly and caddis hatches and trout is plentiful, including the native Colorado River cutthroat.

Pinedale, a small resort town on US 191, is the primary hub for the upper Green River, attracting anglers from as far as Jackson. Another small town, Green River located on I-80, services sportsmen along the lower portion of the river. Fly shops are in abundance and guides are widely available at both locations. 
If you like to fish for steelhead, and the Clearwater is best known for them, then you already know your ABC’s. Steelheads are classified as A-run or B-run fish depending on their ... moresize, spawning habits and time spent in the ocean. More precisely, they are rainbow trout that venture to the Pacific and back to fresh water. A-runs typically appear in Idaho early in the season, from June through August, most often spend only one year in salt water, and return to the Snake and Salmon Rivers. B-runs usually return to the Clearwater River although some do migrate to the Salmon. Because B-runs spend at least 2 years in the ocean they tend to be much larger, weighing in at 10-13 pounds and 31-34 inches long, compared with the A-runs that register around 4-6 pounds and are generally only 23-26 inches long.

Not surprisingly, the fly fishing seasons on the River are divided according to the A and B runs, and while the A’s tend to be smaller they are reputed to be aggressive and capable of putting up a hard, long fight. For those in pursuit of larger quarry, you’ll have to move upstream along with the fish throughout their season. Because Clearwater B-Run steelhead are the largest in the lower 48, anglers are happy to make this trek, coming from around the globe to try their luck and test their fly fishing acumen. As the river winds its way from coniferous forests to scrappy desert, the water mysteriously manages to remain clear, rarely affected by erosion or runoff, making it stable and highly predictable and thus easier to master after repeated visits. 

The town of Orofino is a great base for fishing the Clearwater with a nice selection of hotels, motels, ranches, lodges and neighboring campgrounds for anyone who desires a genuine, outdoor experience. Just across the river is the Dworskak Reservoir where there’s great fishing for kokanee, bass and other trout. Water sports are welcome within the Reservoir where you can jet ski, rent a power-boat or take out a quiet floater, canoe or kayak. Winter sports include skiing, hunting and snowmobiling, all within a short distance of downtown.

Things to Know

The Clearwater River in north-central Idaho is renowned for outstanding fishing for B-run steelhead and chinook salmon, and to a lesser extent, native cutthroat trout in the summer. In the fall, the steelhead season kicks in with catch-and-release fishing in September, and then catch-and-keep from October to the end of April. B-run steelhead in the Clearwater average 12-14 pounds, but many of them go higher, in the 20-pound range.

During May and September, when the weather is cooler, dress warmly or in layers. It is always cooler in the morning.

During the warmer months, June through mid-September, the typical attire is shorts, t-shirts and sports sandals.

Bring along water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Be prepared to get wet and dress according to your comfort level.

Wear clothes that dry quickly and perhaps steer away from denim pants or shorts and leather footwear.

Life jackets are provided on outfitted trips.
The Flathead River represents the combined flow of hundreds of headwater creeks funneled from the glacial cirques of Glacier National Park and other wild places within the U.S. and ... moreCanada. This cold, clear water flows into the North, South and Middle forks of the Flathead, which merge together near Columbia Falls to begin a southward journey. Portions of the upper mainstem Flathead River are classified as 'Recreational' within the Wild and Scenic River Classification system.

About 20 miles into its journey, after flowing down the gentle, south-sloping gradient of the Flathead Basin floor, the river empties into Flathead Lake. The lower mainstem Flathead River drains from the southwest corner of the lake and draws waters from an arid valley basin throughout its 75-mile course. The Flathead River finally empties into the Clark Fork River at Paradise. 

The Flathead River System offers hundreds of miles of pristine waterways, while Flathead Lake is a scenic and recreational mecca. A diversity of fish and wildlife complement the land and water resources, and contribute to both the natural and cultural values of the Flathead Basin environment.

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