It’s getting warmer outside—are you ready to venture back into the great outdoors after a long winter? Hells Canyon is the perfect place to experience summer in the mountains, from adventurous hikes to bountiful fishing on the Snake River.

However, it’s probably been a few months since you last used your outdoor gear. Before you hit the water, make a thorough checklist of everything you’ll need and make sure it’s in good working order. Preparedness is key when interacting with wildlife of any kind.

As the temperature climbs, learn how to prepare for Idaho’s summer fishing season and book a fishing trip with River Adventures today. Be ready for every opportunity mother nature may offer you!

Renew All Your Paperwork

The state of Idaho requires that all persons age 14 and older must have a valid fishing license before they cast their first line. There are a few different license options available from Idaho Fish and Game:

  • Daily licenses cover you for the day. If you are from out of state and only plan on visiting Hells Canyon for a few days, this may be the most convenient option for you.
  • One-year licenses are valid starting January 1st of the calendar year, and they expire on December 31st, no matter what time of year you bought the license.
  • Three-year licenses are valid through December 31st of the third year.
  • Lifetime fishing licenses are also available for avid fishing enthusiasts who are residents of the state of Idaho.

Check out the Idaho Fish and Game website for more information about license fees. Those costs will be different depending on whether you’re a resident of the state. Before you head out onto the Snake or Salmon Rivers, make sure you’ve got a valid fishing license on hand.

If you plan to fish for salmon or steelhead, you’ll need a specialized license to do so. The same applies if you want to fish with two poles instead of one.

Inspect Your Equipment

Your fishing rods and tackle box have probably been sitting in storage for several months. When you’ve got a Saturday free, haul out all that equipment and inspect it thoroughly. Your tackle box will probably need a good cleaning!

It’s a smelly job, but a necessary one. Lay out all your tackle and assorted fishing supplies, and start to cut away old knots and dispose of rusty hooks. Buy more hooks if necessary, and make sure they’re sharp throughout the season.

Polish up your fishing spoons and take inventory of your lures. Did you lose any last season? Are you missing any specific sizes or colors? Make a shopping list and ensure that your box is fully equipped to handle the summer fishing season in Hells Canyon.

Next, give your rods and reels a thorough inspection. Clean all components, and if any pieces are broken or damaged, replace them now. Don’t forget fresh fishing lines!

Gather Your Gear

What do you prefer to wear on your fishing trips? Heavy-duty, waterproof clothing and shoes are essential to a successful Hells Canyon fishing trip.

Many fishing enthusiasts opt for vests with plenty of pockets, so you’re not always scrambling for tools or lures. Give each pocket a purpose. Pick up a pair of sturdy cargo pants if you need extra pocket space.

Bucket hats are a common fishing accessory for a reason: they protect your scalp and your ears from the hot sun. Avoid sunburn by donning a hat while you’re on the water.

Before you wear them on your trip, try on your waders and boots at home and test them for leaks. Avoid getting soaked through by replacing worn-out waders and boots that have seen better days. The same goes for raincoats and hats—make sure they don’t have any holes in them to avoid an unpleasant surprise on a rainy day.

Review Fishing Safety

You may think you’re a fishing expert—and you may well be!—but fishing enthusiasts of all skill levels can benefit from a refresher course in safety. Take a first aid course if you’re a little rusty, and be familiar with all the components in a standard first aid kit.

If you opt for a guided fishing trip with River Adventures, your boat will be equipped with US Coast Guard-approved life jackets and life preservers. Be ready to buckle into that life jacket, even if you insist you’re a strong swimmer. River currents can be unpredictable.

The water isn’t the only natural hazard on a fishing trip, though. Summertime in Hells Canyon brings plenty of heat and sunlight with it! Add a brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses to your fishing gear, as well as sunscreen with an SPF of at least 70. Make sure to bring plenty of water on your trip, too. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are no joke.

Plan Your Trip

What do you want to get out of your fishing trip to Hells Canyon? The Snake River, in particular, is wonderfully biodiverse and stocked with popular game fish like bass and trout. Our experienced fishing guides can point you to spots where you’ll be likely to catch your favorites.

As you make your plans, refer back to Idaho Fish and Game’s regulations. Many species of fish have a bag limit per person to prevent overfishing. And there are some fish you can’t take home at all—if you reel in a sturgeon, be ready to release it.

The Snake River bisects Hells Canyon and is the most popular river for fishing, but don’t discount the nearby Salmon River. Both options have their advantages, and the choice depends on what you want out of a fishing trip. Our expert guides are familiar with both rivers and can give you advice tailored to your adventure.

As you prepare an itinerary for your fishing trip to Hells Canyon, give adequate time to each step of the process. Make sure your rods, reels, and tackle are in top condition before hitting the water, and don’t forget to keep yourself protected. With the right gear and a sunny outlook, your fishing trip will create the memory of a lifetime.

Prepare for Idaho’s summer fishing season by prioritizing safety and following all relevant rules and regulations. Don’t rush into this magnificent experience; savor every step, from lovingly preparing your tackle box to staying hydrated on the water. Get the absolute most out of your fishing experience with guidance from River Adventures!

How To Prepare for Idaho’s Summer Fishing Season