North Central Idaho Trout
Trout fishing takes a backseat to steelheading in this part of the state but that's not because this area lacks good trout waters. The is mostly mountainous country where small streams predominate. One of those streams is Kelly Creek, an internationally famous blue ribbon stream.
Cutthroat Trout offer the wild trout experience here. Most smaller streams that have trout have westslope cutthroat. Kelly Creek was one of the first a catch-and-release streams in Idaho and shows what special regulations can do for trout in certain situations. Wild cutthroats to 20 inches or more make Kelly Creek a must-fish destination for serious flyfishers. Parts of the Lochsa and Selway rivers come close Kelly Creek in quality, though they can be difficult, pocket-water fishing. The upper Clearwater and all its forks run through cutthroat country.
Rainbow Trout will be found in virtually every fishable lake, pond and stream here. Hatchery rainbows are planted in all the stillwater and a few rivers and streams. Wild rainbow occur in the Clearwater, Crooked River, Kelly Creek, Lochsa, Selway, Snake and Potlatch River. Dworshak Reservoir offers 54 miles of rainbow fishing for trollers. Where steelhead occur--this includes the Clearwater River, Snake River and Salmon River--any rainbow of over 20 inches is considered a steelhead and comes under steelhead season and limit rules.
Brook Trout inhabit relatively few of the streams here, including the Crooked River, Palouse, American River, and Potlatch River. Elk Creek and Moose Creek Reservoirs hold brookies.
Brown Trout: Not found in North Central Idaho.
Bull Trout are found in Dworshak Reservoir and vitually all free-flowing streams in this part of Idaho. Remember there is no harvest on them.
For more information about the north central Idaho region, visit our North Central Idaho Information Page, or our North Central Idaho Services & Accommodations Page.