The creeks, rivers, and lakes of Idaho are home to some of the best game fish out there. Whether you’re fishing for salmon, sturgeon, or steelhead, Idaho’s got you covered—and why not make Hells Canyon your destination? Hells Canyon is home to some of the best hidden gems in the Gem State. From rivers to reservoirs, there are plenty of spots to cast a line. Some are more obscure than others. Ask River Adventures about our guided fishing tours; our guides can point you in the right direction. These are only a few of the most popular fishing spots in Hells Canyon, but there are dozens more to explore. Go on an adventure with River Adventures and snag the catch of the day.
The heart of Hells Canyon lies along the Snake River. It’s home to some of the best salmon fishing in Idaho, and River Adventures offers plenty of guided fishing tours that will take you where you need to go. Communities all across southwest Idaho enjoy fishing in the Snake River. We’ll point out some of the best hidden coves along the way. The Snake River is home to many varieties of bass (both smallmouth and largemouth), salmon, sturgeon, and steelhead. The northern portion of the river, near Brownlee Reservoir, is perfect for catching enormous catfish. Fish along the South Fork of the Snake River and catch trout after trout. When fishing along the Snake River, measure and weigh your catches before you throw them back. See if you beat a state record!
Located along the border between Oregon and Idaho, Brownlee Reservoir lies on the upper end of Hells Canyon. Tucked away near the tiny town of Cambridge, Idaho, it is widely regarded as one of the best warm-water fishing spots in the state. Many areas of the reservoir are developed and furnished with campgrounds and hiking areas, but if you’ve got a boat, you can reach a few nooks and crannies. The reservoir’s numerous bays and coves offer a large quantity of crappie and smallmouth bass. Take your time to explore Brownlee Reservoir—think of it like a treasure hunt. You may find some sizable trophy fish. The reservoir is responsible for many state records. The biggest flathead catfish, bullhead catfish, and black crappie in Idaho have come from Brownlee Reservoir.
Hells Canyon Reservoir
For being named after the deepest river gorge in the country, Hells Canyon Reservoir is an underrated fishing spot. You’re sure to spend a peaceful day with very few other boats on the water. Bass and crappie abound in the reservoir, located along the Oregon section of the Snake River. Catch a few crappie by casting jigs along the bank. Bring your camera along when you fish at the Hells Canyon Reservoir! It is home to a wide variety of fish species, some of them real whoppers. Take plenty of photos of your catches, from sturgeon to catfish, before you release them. Fishing the reservoir is a lesser-known adventure.
One of the biggest reservoirs along the Snake River, Oxbow Reservoir is teeming with smallmouth bass due to conservation efforts by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. When you visit the bait shop before your trip, pick up some live shrimp—catfish love them. If catfish are your catch of choice, visit Oxbow Reservoir in July and August. If you’re vacationing in spring or early summer, get ready to catch lots of crappie. The reservoir is home to a host of colorful fish: bluegill, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and many more.
Named for the migratory fish you’ll find in abundance, the Salmon River connects directly to the Pacific Ocean. River Adventures can take you directly to some of the best salmon fishing in Idaho, so you can spend the day angling and learning from our guides. But did you know you’ll also find plenty of steelhead there? Steelhead also migrate from the Pacific Ocean and call the Salmon River their home. This river is a crucial part of the life cycle of many different species. Experienced anglers and fly-fishers love the Salmon River in particular. Plenty of rainbow trout can sustain dry flies, and you can cast a rod longer than you normally would. Pack your bait and tackle box and spend a relaxing day on the Salmon River.
Seven Devils Lake(s)
The Seven Devils are a majestic mountain range near Hells Canyon, offering gorgeous nature views—and prime fishing opportunities. Seven Devils Lake, southwest of Riggins and above the east bank of the Snake River, is actually a series of alpine lakes! Wherever you cast your line, expect lots of rainbow trout.
Mirror Lake is just a short jaunt from the main Seven Devils Lake and is teeming with perch. Head out with your bait and tackle early in the morning; just after sunrise is the best time for fly fishing.
If you’re looking for a more consistent fishing experience all day long, check out Sheep Lake. You’ll find rainbow trout in abundance no matter when you fish. Cast live bait or spinners—the fish aren’t picky!
Upper Cannon Lake and Lower Cannon Lake are cool, green little paradises that also offer splendid fishing all day long. The hiking’s not bad, either—take a refreshing hike out to the lake in the morning and enjoy the brisk weather as you fish.
No matter what your fishing goals or vacation plans may be, there’s a fishing spot for you in the Hells Canyon area. Choose from dozens of lakes and rivers in and around the canyon, and take your pole out for a day of sport and solitude. Fish for rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and all kinds of steelhead and sturgeon. If you’re interested in a guided fishing tour, River Adventures is there to bring you to the best fishing holes. Next time you’re driving through Idaho, let Hells Canyon be your first stop. Make sure to visit some of the most popular fishing spots in Hells Canyon!