Hells Canyon is the deepest canyon in North America, and it sandwiches the mighty Snake River between its cathedral-like rock walls. This incredible gorge is a breathtaking mecca of a location and an even more wonderful spot for anglers. Hells Canyon has been called “the West’s deepest fishing hole.”

This area is native to many common fish species that flourish in abundance at certain times of the year. If you’re looking to reel in some fun and fortune in the canyon’s waters, we’re here to tell you more about the best fish to catch in Hells Canyon. Let’s take a closer look at the species you can find in sections of the Northwest’s wildest and most scenic river.

Trout and Bass

Rainbow trout and smallmouth bass are classic catches in any of Hells Canyon’s rivers at any time of year. Peak season is typically around late spring to early fall. No matter which fish you may be on the hunt for, these waters are sufficient for your trout and bass fishing desires. You can easily catch bass with good lures, and trout can be found readily in deeper waters.


Salmon is a fish that’s valuable all around the world. Wild Chinook salmon is a popular fish in the Pacific Northwest. To the native Nez Perce tribes of the region, fishing for salmon is a deep part of their culture. For visitors to the area, salmon fishing is a lively experience. A fruitful salmon habitat exists in the Salmon River as well as in the Columbia-Snake River basin. The best time to fish for healthy, heavy, and tasty salmon is in the warmer spring and summer months, when salmon return to the river to spawn.


Out of all the fish to catch in Hells Canyon, steelhead may be the best. This location is well-known for its prime steelhead, drawing in visitors from around the world. The opportune time to catch some mighty steelhead in the cold Snake and Salmon Rivers is during the cooler months, around October to February. A professional guide or river expert may be your best bet to catch some of these beauties.


Sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish species in America. Due to their monstrous size and weight, any tussle with one of these guys is sure to be an exciting and thrilling experience. Hells Canyon is one of Idaho’s most prized sturgeon fishing grounds, with a prolific number of fish in the spring.

Whether you’re hoping to catch catfish, bass, steelhead, sturgeon, or any other local fish, our team at River Adventures has the perfect outdoor activity trip for you. We provide the most amazing adventures and guided fishing trips in Hells Canyon, with around four decades of expertise on the waters. If you so desire, our savvy team can provide the tackle and bait to make your fishing trip an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.