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Fly Fishing Boise River

In a state renowned for Blue Ribbon fisheries, the Boise River is relatively isolated from Idaho’s other fly fishing rivers. Located in the southwest part of the state, and running through the state’s largest city, the Boise River system has literally hundreds of miles of fly fishing access. Some of the access is so darned easy, and some of it is not for the faint of heart.

The river system actually begins as three distinct forks, each an eco-system of unto themselves. The most popular of these is the Lower South Fork, below Anderson Ranch Reservoir. This tailwater stretch has reasonable summer flows and cold water, creating an outstanding trout fishery. Although late summer flows do drop, it is still fishable and becomes excellent for sight fishing with small Elk Hair Caddis or PMD patterns. On the Upper South Fork you find smaller rainbows and fly fishing only water on smaller tributaries. But by late summer the low flow concentrates easily spooked fish to pools. A small 3 or 4 weight fly rod is needed.

The Middle Fork is a tumbling mountain stream in a rush; in a deep ravine, with fast currents, plunges and pools. These fish are smallish, yet eager and aggressive. Everything about fishing here is fast paced. The classic patterns work well here. There is some great access at the Powerplant campground on the east side of Boise.

Like the Middle Fork; the North Fork also holds aggressive rainbows, cutthroats, and brookies. Eager feeders all of them. Running classic flies through riffles and pools will produce fish. This Fork flows through some of the most remote terrain; making some of it only accessible by walking. There are campgrounds that make excellent base camps.

For all those hundreds of miles perhaps the best feature of the Boise is the fact that the main branch runs right throughout Boise itself. Stock up on the Pink Alberts, Pink Cahills, and PMDs and you are ready to hit it after work, after meetings, heck on the way to the grocery.

 Boise River, South Fork, Idaho Hatch Chart

Insect Size Begin End
Midge 18-22 January 1 December 31
Sculpin 2-12 January 1 December 31
Baitfish 2-8 January 1 December 31
BWO 16-22 February 1 April 30
Giant Salmonfly 10-14 May 15 July 31
Western Green Drake  10-14 June 1 July 15
BWO 16-22 June 1 December 31
Spotted Caddis 10-14 June 1 July 15
PMD 14-18 June 1 September 30
Golden Stone 6-8 June 1 August 31
Beetle 10-20 June 1 September 30 
Ant 10-16 June 1 September 15 
Hopper 4-10 July 1 September 30 
Green Caddis 8-14 July 1 September 30
Yellow Sally 10-16 July 1 September 30
Brown Drake 8-10 July 1 July 31
Cranefly 6-8 July 1 October 31
Trico 18-22 August 1 September 30
Flav 14-16 September 1 September 30


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