When Lewis and Clark passed through Idaho on their way to the Pacific in 1805, Idaho's rivers and streams supported about 4 million wild salmon and steelhead (ocean-going rainbow trout). Today Sun Valley, supports the kind of fishery you might imagined existed back then with free flowing rivers and pristine mountain lakes loaded with rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat and even the occasional bull trout. The iconic gold medal waters of Silver Creek, The Big Wood, The Big Lost, Copper Basin and The Little Wood make the area a true nexus of freshwater fly fishing.
Just over Galena Pass to the north, a short hour or so drive away, is the headwaters of the Salmon River home to one of the most primal fishing experiences anywhere with native Chinook salmon and steelhead trout runs. Idaho's salmon and steelhead journey further inland than almost any other migratory fish. Born at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, the smolt are flushed nearly 1,000 river miles to the Pacific Ocean where they grow to upwards of 40 lbs and 4 feet long. After spending 1 to 3 years in the ocean, they use their acute sense of smell and the earth's magnetic fields to find the mouth of the Columbia River and make the heroic 1000-mile-long journey back to the place they were hatched.