Do Boise State Students Get A Discount On Football Tickets Fly Fishing Idaho – Lesser Known River the Falls River

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Fly Fishing Idaho – Lesser Known River the Falls River

Idaho Always a mecca for fly fishing. There are so many great rivers that you really can’t go wrong when choosing a place to fish. Idaho has excellent trout fishing in rivers such as the South Fork Snake River, the Henry Fork of the Snake River, and the Boise River. It’s also a great place to catch steelhead traveling through the Clearwater and Salmon rivers. But what about lesser-known rivers? This series explores five of our favorite Idaho rivers that offer great fly fishing experiences for any angler. However, chances are you’ll probably be the only angler on them.

Falls River

the river

The Falls River begins in the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park, north of Lake Beulah. Small creeks drop into it giving it some speed, but it really adds some flow when it meets the Batchelor River before exiting the park. The waterfall river then travels to the south of the park where it cascades down a steep drop to form the oft-visited Cave Falls. At this point it crosses from Wyoming to Idaho where another more spectacular waterfall exists called Sheep Falls. The Falls River then passes through some rugged country before flowing through the famous Idaho potato fields east of Ashton where it eventually empties into the Henry Fork of the Snake River west of Highway 20 above Chester Dam.

location

Depending on where you fish on the Falls River, getting there can be a chore. I have fished just above the bridge on Highway 20 and had some luck, but the best part of the Falls River in my opinion is east of Ashton, Idaho. To get there, take Highway 47 out of Ashton and, heading north, head east on Marysville Road. A few miles east of the turnoff one can turn right on 4500E and cross the bridge to enter Falls River (which has great fishing, but many people know that), but continue on Marysville Road for total solitude (and fantastic fly fishing). It eventually turns into a dirt road called Cave Falls Road (FR 582). You will notice that the landscape has changed into a very dense, rugged forest. After several miles, you will see a road that turns right (FR124). Take this road. If you come to the Batchelor River Ranger Station or enter Wyoming, you’ve gone too far. FR 124 starts out nice, but you have to cross some pretty bad roads to get to Falls River. Once there, you can fish up or down the river. Downriver is Sheep Falls which can be excellent fly fishing. However, it is not for the faint of heart. The hiking is very difficult and your friends in the river could easily be a moose (larger) or a grizzly bear. I definitely recommend bringing bear essentials (bells, spray, etc.) or a friend who walks slower than you. My two trips there only allowed me to see moose, but if you talk to the park rangers at Bechler, they’ll advise you to be careful because grizzlies live very close to the area.

fishing

This is a unique river where the higher up you go the better the fishing. Long trails and off-trail access reduce fishing pressure, especially around Sheep Falls. Much of the Fall River drainage above Cave Falls was devoid of trout. Sheep Falls and Cave Falls are believed to have been historic upstream barriers to trout. I have been lucky enough to fly fish the Falls River with fish like: Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails and Stone Fly Nymphs. The first important aquatic insect to emerge is the pale morning dun. In early July you will see stoneflies and brown and green drakes. I have also thrown leeches, streamers and woolly buggers with some success. Just below Sheep Falls you find some nice deep runs with big trout. Average sized trout in these waters are about 12 – 14 inches long, but it is not uncommon to land trout north of 20 inches in many places along the Falls River. Also, fishing the Falls River near Highway 20 will produce some nice browns as well.

If you’re visiting Idaho and want to get away from the crowds, Falls River may be just the ticket for you. The wildlife and tranquility is great. It’s backpacking, fly fisherman and photographer’s nirvana.

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