The Best Fishing Spots Near Stanley, Idaho

Situated 130-plus miles from Boise, the small Idaho town of Stanley epitomizes rural northwest America. Located along the Salmon River at the foot of the picturesque Sawtooth Mountains, Stanley has become a popular destination due to its many world-class fishing areas that have long been raved about both by locals and visitors.
The nearby Middle Fork and Upper Main branches of the Salmon River are easily accessible for either bank, float and wading fishing. You’ll find schools of brook, bull and rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, mountain whitefish, and westslope cutthroat among the most abundant species. The Salmon is particularly notable for its springtime steelhead migration, attracting fishermen from all over hoping to take advantage of this annual event.

For a more leisurely fishing experience, Stanley Lake is less than ten miles away and provides awe-inspiring views of the Sawtooth Range. The lake is home to an abundant and varied fish population that includes large and smallmouth bass, brook, bull and rainbow trout, kokanee, salmon, steelhead (in season), whitefish, and even the occasional sturgeon and tiger muskie.

Another popular fishing locale is Redfish Lake, a short ten-minute drive from Stanley. Crystal-clear waters that mirror the Sawtooth’s ridges dominate this picture-postcard setting, and with a teeming population of bass (small, largemouth, white), catfish, crappie, trout, and walleye. It’s almost guaranteed that even the most novice of fisherman will bag their limit. Redfish Lake Lodge is a great place to stay right on the lake for a longer fishing trip.

For the ‘serious’ sport fisherman (those who prefer the challenge of fly-fishing), the options presented in and around Stanley are nearly limitless, particularly along the remote offshoots and tributaries of the Salmon River. Without any dams to restrict the river as it makes its way out of the Sawtooth Mountains, anglers find an almost dizzying mixture of different fish species to test their casting skills against. As an additional feature, the endless variety of migrating fish, combined with the relative ease of accessibility makes fly-fishing on the Upper Salmon a year-round pursuit. With abundant steelhead schools traveling during late fall, winter, and early spring; multiple trout varieties present throughout the late spring and summer months; and rapidly-increasing salmon populations liable to be available at any time. The Upper Salmon provides dedicated fly fishermen the opportunity to enjoy their passion at any time of the calendar year.

Whether you’re an inexperienced beginner, a casual participant or a battle-tested veteran fisherman, it’s guaranteed that the many lakes, rivers, and streams found in the Stanley area will both measure up to your fishing expectations as well as provide a nature-friendly setting that won’t soon be forgotten.

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