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Idaho Walleye Fishing

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Idaho Walleye Fishing

When thinking of Walleye fishing Idaho is probably not the first place that comes to mind. Most people would be quick to point to places in the Upper Midwest, places like the Dakotas, Minnesota, or Michigan, and any walleye fisherman worth their leadcore would definitely put the Columbia River high on the list, but although limited to only a handful of locations Idaho actually has some fantastic walleye fishing opportunities. The current state record came from Oakley Reservoir, and weighed in at 17.88 pounds. The current catch and release record hails from Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and is 31.5 inches in length.

In addition to Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and Oakley Reservoir walleye can also be found in Ririe Reservoir in Eastern Idaho, and Lake Pend Oreille in Northern Idaho. All of these fisheries have the potential to produce some fantastic walleye fishing, but for anglers looking for consistent success Salmon Falls Creek and Oakley Reservoirs are the top destinations for Idaho walleye anglers.

While Oakley is a great fishery its just a place that we haven’t really spent any time fishing. Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir on the other hand is our location of choice. As it turns out we also are the holders of an Idaho Outfitters license for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and we offer fully guided Walleye Fishing trips on one of Idaho’s best walleye fisheries.

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, locally known as Salmon Dam is a unique high desert reservoir nestled into the deep canyon formed by Salmon Falls Creek. This is a unique walleye fishery in that this reservoir has very steep drop off banks that surround most of the impoundment. A lot of the shoreline here are sheer cliffs that plunge directly into the water. These unique features make Salmon Dam a different style of fishery than most walleye fisheries around the west. Popular walleye techniques such as worm harnesses behind a bottom bouncer, and trolling crankbaits can be super effective here especially on a few of the larger mud flats. In addition to trolling anglers pitching and vertically jigging jigs rigged with bait and soft plastics typically produce a bunch of walleye. Currently Salmon Dam is absolutely chocked full of smaller eater size walleye. These 12-15 inch fish will make up most of the catch here, and with a 6 fish limit they provide an awesome opportunity to take some tasty walleye home for dinner. Salmon Dam also holds some very decent walleye over 20 inches, but these larger fish are much more spread out. When targeting larger walleye you are almost fishing for a different fish. Its like the difference in chasing young whitetail bucks and old mature bucks, it just takes a different mindset. Large walleye can be found, but guys need to be willing to fish for just a few bites a day. Most of the reservoirs big walleye are caught in what we refer to as the “steep and deep” areas. These bigger walleye will use the steep cliffs and associated deep water as refuge when they are not feeding, then move just a short distance to their preferred feeding location in sometimes very shallow water. The other thing that makes big walleye tough here is that they are predominantly a nocturnal feeder using the darkness of night as cover while they hunt their prey in shallow water.

We absolutely love the uniqueness of this fishery and our family has history fishing here, often times at family gatherings the stories told around the campfire seem to drift to a lonely night on Salmon Dam searching for trophy walleye. We would love to show you why this place is special to us. If you are looking to learn more about this fishery, or just would like a different Southern Idaho experience nothing quite beats a day on Salmon Dam with one of our awesome guides.


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Opening Day! Eastern Idaho Trout Madness.

There are few days on our calendar that generate as much hype and excitement as opening day of bait and keep season on the Snake River near American Falls. The bait and keep season on this section of river always opens the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, and anglers across Southern Idaho look forward to this date with a cult like following. If you like to fish in solitude this is not the time or place to make your first trip to this river section, but for anglers willing to brave the crowds this is a special time of year. Boats will begin fishing as soon as the clock strikes 12 am, and the crowds and anglers will build through the morning. It is not uncommon to not be able to find a parking spot at the ramp if you launch much after first light.

Baits of choice for anglers on the opener very but the best and most seasoned anglers almost exclusively fish cut bait. In this section of river these trout are feeding on the abundant dead or dying fish that get sucked through the power plant on the dam. American Falls Reservoir is an unbelievably fertile system and the trout in the river below are definitely keyed into meat. For us sucker meat tops the list for cut bait choices, but other baits also work well, and for anglers without a supply of bait good old night crawlers are also a solid option.

The limit here is 6 trout but only 2 can be greater than 16 inches. We STRONGLY advocate that anglers fishing with bait catch keep their first two fish if hooked deep and quit fishing. Most of these fish will be hooked very deep on bait and have a tough time surviving being released. Another reason to keep only your two fish and get off the water is that almost all the fish in this area are greater than 16 inches, so although you can legally continue to fish for your limit it is best for the fishery to either quit fishing after 2 or switch to artificial lures and baits. Our typical scenario is that after we get our customers each 2 fish over 16 inches we switch things up and target the plentiful smallmouth bass. The limit on bass in this area is also 2 so by switching to bass fishing we are able to have a really cool combo bag to send our customers home with.

Although the first few days of the season can resemble a blue light special at K-Mart, the crowds start to greatly thin out after the first weekend of the season, and even on the busiest days our guides know the river like the back of their hand and can get you on fish away from the crowds. Opening day is like our new year, and is a day we look forward to. Although we are booked for the opening weekend often a year in advance, we have lots of open dates (especially mid week) including the first week of the season. This fishery will fish well through June until water temperatures warm up to the point the trout turn sluggish.

If you are interested in some of the most exciting fishing of the year don’t hesitate to give our office a call and get your trip booked now. We offer both full day and half day evening trips. Call 208-669-1569 and Dani can get you all set up.


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Starting 2021 in Style! Steelhead on Idaho’s Clearwater!

Today was my first day of 2021 on the river and I couldn’t have been happier about how things went today. Every year my family and I take off to see family for the holidays, and while our days are spent gathering with family and doing some fantastic bird hunting, there is still the draw that brings me back to the river. See 10 days off the water is a LONG time in my world, and I’m always apprehensive on how the day will go. When you spend your life on the water and suddenly the routine is broken it always feels a little strange to “get back” into it.

I’m blessed to have an awesome team and great contacts that keep me informed on what’s happening on the river while I’m gone. Their help is such a blessing, and it’s hard to imagine being able to jump right back into it without having a great team. So, with some great intel, and some earned river knowledge I decided to go with the basics, and fish a stretch of river I know better than most people know the streets in their neighborhood.

What I found today was a great way to get back on the river. Idaho’s Clearwater was in the perfect “steelhead “green” and although we didn’t put up record numbers, we were able to get into fish in all the places they should have been. Side drifting egg imitations, and corky/yarn/shrimp combos were the ticket today. My absolute favorite way to fish this time of year is to side drift. It allows us to cover a bunch of water and pound holes over and over again picking out the biters.

Fishing should remain good all the way through the first half of March. It’s a guarantee we will see some changes and challenges during the next 2 1/2 months, but there is no doubt the second half of the Clearwater Steelhead season is numbers time. Our highest hookup dates always fall sometime between now and the end of February.

We still have some great dates open, but we have been taking lots of calls and filling lots of dates the past few days, so if you are interested in fishing with us this winter/Spring make sure to give Dani in our office a call at 208-669-1569 and she will get you all set up with myself or Barry. Either way you will be in good hands.

Check out the pictures below, and most of all I wish you all a happy new year, and while there are so many challenges ahead of us always remember that God’s got this and trust in him is the only way to truly have peace

Kyle