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Fly Fishing in the Greater Sun Valley Area

Taking a step back in time, 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). Just an hours drive to the north lies 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.

Sun Valley still supports the kind of fishery you might have imagined existed back when Lewis & Clark first made their trip through Idaho. Four extraordinarily diverse waterways sit anywhere from a stones throw to an hour drive away a hold a diverse species of fish. Find monstrous brown trout in Silver Creek, healthy rainbows in the Big Wood River, vibrant cutthroats in the Lost River, and apex bull trout & salmonoids in the Salmon River. Combined, these famed rivers/creeks make the area a true nexus of freshwater fly fishing.

For more insights on the fly fishing scene, scope our story:

The Ultimate Guide to Fly Fishing in Sun Valley


Local Fly Fishing Shops & Outfitters

Go full out with a guided experience or simply pop in for some local beta and the favorite fly flavor of the month, the fly fishing shops in the area will set you up with all of the tools you need. 

  • Silver Creek: this is the largest outfitter of the lot with a deep line-up of guides, extensive fly collection and every fly accessory you can imagine. 
  • Lost River: these guys live for the steelhead game. They're also well-rounded in all of the waters surrounding the area. Flies, gear and the largest selection of Mountain Khakis can also be found here. 
  • Sun Valley Outfitters: don't let the newness of this shop fool you. The guides are well-seasoned and know this area well. 
  • Picabo Anglers: Located in Picabo, this is the the go-to spot if you're fishing down at Silver Creek Preserve. Guides, gear, flies, food and fuel can all be found here. 


Fly Fishing Access

Take your pick from a slew of freestone rivers, creeks, and high mountain lakes, of which most are less than an hour drive away. We are fortunate in Idaho to have rights to fish water through private land as long as you stay below the high water mark and enter and exit via public easements. Please abide by these rules so to avoid trespassing penalties and to keep this opportunity alive for us all. The favorite waterways include:

  • Big Wood River
  • Lost River
  • Salmon River
  • Silver Creek Preserve
  • South Fork of the Boise River

Running the span of the Wood River Valley lies the Big Wood River. This is the closest and easiest river to access. A multitude of public access points makes this gem even sweet. Be sure to respect the private property and only access via the public easements. 

Big Wood River Access Points


Get Pumped

For an brief glimpse of the fly fishing scene here in the greater Sun Valley area, scope our video below. 

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