Central Idaho Trout
Central Idaho defines the character of this mountainous state with its alpine lakes and pristine streams. The largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states stretches across the middle of this region. Nobody lives long enough to claim an intimate knowledge of all the fishing in this part of Idaho.
Rainbow Trout have been planted in nearly every lake that will sustain fish within this region including hundreds of high mountain lakes that were fishless until this century. Wild rainbows inhabit most rivers and streams. It is easier to ask where rainbows are not than where they are. The most famous rainbow stream in the region is known throughout the fishing world--Silver Creek. This is catch-and-release flyfishing for rainbows with PhDs in angler tactics. The Pahsimeroi River might have almost as much reputation were it not so remote and its banks nearly all privately owned. The Lemhi River and all forks of the Salmon River harbor rainbows. Mackay Reservoir and the Big Lost River are rich enough to let hatchery rainbows grow large and feisty.
Wild cutthroat Trout live in all the major rivers and tributaries here. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River provides a unique catch-and-release fishery so successful that 100 fish a day is not exceptional. Wild cutthroats can be found in most of the Sawtooth and Stanley Basin lakes. This is cold country with a short growing season so size is usually not great. But numbers and fight can be.
Brook Trout do so well in many high lakes and small streams that releasing them is not encouraged in most places. Bonus limits are meant to slim their numbers. They are not a generally targeted species in this region but ought to be.
Brown Trout are tough to find in these cold waters.
Lake Trout can be found only in Stanley Lake.
For more information about the central Idaho region, visit our Central Idaho Information Page, or our Central Idaho Services and Accommodations Page.