Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing
Experience an Unforgettable Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing Trip With Solitude River Trips
June – Sept
6 days/ 5 nights
Stanley or Salmon
1-2 anglers per guide
8 years old
This is it! The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is widely regarded as one of the premier fishing trips in the world. It is home to one of America’s greatest strongholds of native westslope cutthroat trout. Many populations of westslope cutthroat were lost due to habitat destruction from logging, mining, road building, agriculture and dams. However, the strict single barbless hook, catch-and-release regulation enacted in 1973 and the river’s location within 2.3 million acres of protected wilderness, have allowed the Middle Fork’s native population to thrive. Their trinomial name, Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi, comes from the famous western explorers who passed along the Salmon River in 1805 in search of a safe westward passage through the Northern Rockies.
Westslope cutthroat trout are known for being incredibly surface oriented. So much so, that we often exclusively fish dry flies for the duration of the trip. Middle Fork cutthroat average 10”-15”, with some trophies up to 19”. Fishing from our specially designed fishing rafts, or our iconic wooden drift boats, you will cast our favorite fly patterns behind rocks, against granite walls, and into endless seams. The river’s crystal clear water allows for the opportunity to follow the fish from the time they begin to rise untill they aggressively take your fly. You will catch fish on a Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing Trip!
Because of the aggressive nature of the westslope cutthroat trout, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is a great place for anglers of all skill levels. It is ideal for introducing a son, daughter, or spouse to the sport of the fly fishing.
Seasons of Solitude: Exploring the Transformative Beauty of Fly Fishing the Middle Fork Salmon River
The Middle Fork provides prime fishing condition from late June through early October. The river sees hatches of large aquatic bugs in June and July during peak spring runoff. In particular, we see stoneflies (Salmonflies, Golden Stoneflies, and Yellow Sally Stoneflies) as well as Caddis and the beginning of terrestrial bugs. As the water drops in July, and the riparian and semi-arid ecosystem begins to dry out, the terrestrial life begins to flourish, mostly in the form of grasshoppers and ants, as well as many other insects such as dragonflies and bees. By late August, when the days begin to shorten and water temperatures cool, the trout frantically feed on the final terrestrial feast of the season which typically lasts till mid October. To truly experience all the magic the Middle Fork has to offer requires multiple trips during each of these unique seasons.
Flowing 96 miles from Boundary Creek to the confluence of the Main Salmon, the Middle Fork includes nearly every aspect of a great river trip. With riverside natural hot springs, beautiful camp sites, varied canyon scenery, world class fishing, gin clear water, spectacular side hikes, and incredible wildlife, the Middle Fork truly has it all. If you asked someone to design the perfect river trip, you’d get a 6-day trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
Our Summer Fishing Season is from July to August, and our Fall Fishing Season will often run from September into October. Our Summer Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing Trips are unforgettable; you will fish the most stunning variety of stimulating fly water in the west. Our Fall Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing Trips provide ideal fishing conditions. The temperature cools, the water gets lower and slower, and we have the whole wilderness nearly to ourselves. We offer drift boats or custom fishing rafts during our summer season, and fishing rafts only during our smaller September trips.
Solitude River Trips is the only Orvis Endorsed Expedition on the Salmon River and we are proud of our dedicated effort to provide the most comfortable and professional wilderness fly fishing trip in North America.
“The better the seam, the better the fish” -Shane Moser, Solitude Guide
Our Middle Fork Salmon River Fly Fishing Trips
6 days/5 nights
Late June – August
1 Day Before Your Trip
Meet in Stanley or Salmon. We will greet you at our orientation meeting at 6pm.
Fly or Drive Into The Wilderness
Begin your journey into the largest contiguous wilderness in the lower 48. If water levels and conditions permit we will drive drive into Boundary Creek. Or we will take an incredibly scenic backcountry flight into Indian Creek.
6 Days of Fishing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Enjoy the most unforgettable wilderness vacation of your life.
Take Out at Cache Bar
Enjoy one last gourmet meal and say farewell to your wonderful guides.
Return to Stanley or Salmon by Bus
Enjoy the ride back to Stanley or Salmon in our luxurious private shuttle bus.
Our Middle Fork Salmon River guides are the most fun, knowledgeable, and talented guides in the business.
Enjoy our deluxe four person tents, raised cots, plush sleeping pads, full sized pillows, and freshly laundered sheet and sleeping bags. Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening.
Three fresh and delicious meals a day, carefully crafted by our talented backcountry guide chefs.
We provide all ground transportation to the wilderness or airport at the begining of your trip. Our luxurious private shuttle bus will transport you back to Stanley or Salmon at the end of your trip. No need to shuttle your vehicle!
Premium Fishing Gear
As an Orvis Endorsed Expedition, we provide quality Orvis fishing gear to each of our guests. This includes rods, reels, leaders, tippet, flies, and anything else you may need. We will also provide you with a complimentary insulated water bottle, coffee mug, and duffel bag for you to keep.
All Fees Included
Because nobody likes hidden fees, our trip prices include all fees associated with recreating on public land.
We highly recommend purchasing CFAR travel insurance. Learn more by contacting our trusted partner Global Rescue.
Flights Into The Wilderness
Flights from Stanley or Salmon into the wilderness may be required due to river or road conditions. These flights range from $155-$195.
Gratuities For Your Spectacular Guides
Typically 15%-20% of the trip price.
Dates and Prices
2024 Summer Fly Fishing Dates
$4750 per person
2025 Summer Fly Fishing Dates
$4950 per person
2024 Fall Fly Fishing Trips
$4750 per person
2025 Fall Fly Fishing Trips
$4950 per person
Dates TBD October 2nd, 2024
(Booking available now!)
We require a 25% deposit to secure a reservation. Full payment is due 120 days prior to your trip date.
We take bookings 2 years in advance, and often prime season trips fill 12 months in advance. It’s never too early to make a reservation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a fly fishing & a rafting trip?
Both our fly fishing and rafting trips offer unforgettable experiences on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Our fishing trips and rafting trips depart together, stop for lunch together, and camp together each evening. The main difference between our fly fishing and rafting trips is the focus of the trip between those three times of day.
Our fly fishing guests ride in either a drift boat or one of our specially designed fishing rafts. There are only two anglers and one guide on these boats. The fishing boats will leave camp a little earlier each morning to take advantage of the best fishing conditions. The fishing trips are focused on catching fish.
Our rafting trips will focus more on exploring the wonders of the Middle Fork river canyon. One of the greatest aspects of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is all there is to see. Hikes to native american pictographs, exploring pioneer cabins, soaking in natural hot springs, strolling to beautiful vistas are all things you may experience on a typical day on the river. Rafting guests also have the option to ride in oar boats, paddle boats, and inflatable kayaks.
What if I want to do both fly fishing and rafting?
The best way to experience fly fishing and rafting on one trip is to reserve a fly fishing seat. With the fly fishing seat you will have the flexibility to hop in the paddle boat or inflatable kayak whenever there’s an open spot. Additionally you will be going through all of the same rapids in the fishing boat, so you will experience whitewater in the fishing boat regardless. Reserving the rafting seat does not give you the flexibility to be in a fishing boat, but you are of course able to fish from land anytime you are in camp, or when we stop at lunch.
Can our group reserve both fly fishing and rafting seats?
Absolutely! Many groups choose to do this. You may reserve as many fly fishing or rafting seats as we have available. Throughout the trip your group members are able to switch in and out of the fishing and rafting spots as you prefer. You will have a chance to switch around at lunch each day, so every day can have 2 sessions of either rafting or fly fishing.
What is the difference between a fishing raft and drift boat?
Check out our Fishing Boats and Gear Page to learn more!
What type rafting boats are available?
Our rafting experience includes 3 types of boats: Oar Boats, Paddle Boats, and Inflatable Kayaks.
The Paddle Boat is the most popular rafting boat and provides a lot of excitment. This boat has a guide in the back, with 6-8 guests paddling through the rapids.
The Oar Boat is a large raft rowed by a guide with comfortable seating in the front and back for anybody who wants to take a break from kayking or paddling. This is often a great way to sit back, relax, and experience the beauty of the river.
The inflatable kayak is the most intimate river experience you can have. We will instruct you on best practices and introduce you to kayaking in small rapids, and if you are eager to hone your river skills you can try more challenging rapids as your trip progresses.
Do I need a fishing licence?
If you plan to fish then YES! You will need an Idaho fishing license valid for all days of the trip. You will not need any additional permits or stamps. The easiest way to purchase your license is online.
How many people are on the trip?
Per our USFS Special Use Permit, our maximun total group size is 30 people. This includes guests and guides. Our trips are usually between 20-23 guests and 7-10 guides. Our Fall Fly Fishing Trips tend to be a bit smaller, usually 14 guests and 9 guides.
What if I want to charter a whole trip?
Booking a whole trip for yourself and your group is definitely possible. The minimum number needed to book an entire trip is 20 people. This can be a combination of fishing and rafting seats. Chartering a whole trip allows you to customize many aspects of your trip, including departure location. Please contact us for more information.
What is the camping like?
At Solitude River Trips we believe that just because you’re in the wilderness doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort. We provide deluxe four person tents that make spacious double occupancy river side homes. Our comfortable combination of raised cot, plush sleeping pad, full sized pillow, and freshly laundered sheet and sleeping bag will ensure you are able to recharge between days of rafting, fishing and exploration. Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening. Large, supportive chairs will allow you to enjoy your time around the dinner table and camp fire each evening. Find out more on our Accommodations page.
Can I shower?
Yes! Our specially designed river shower provides the opportunity to enjoy a warm, private shower in the evening.
How does the toilet system work?
Our toilet is designed with your privacy and comfort in mind. It is located discreetly away from both camping and dining areas and covered by a privacy tent. These are robust, metal containers equipped with comfortable seats and tight-sealing lids for hygienic transport. At each camp, the guides will set up a fresh and clean toilet facility, complete with an adjacent hand-wash station to ensure cleanliness and convenience.
How far do we go each day?
We usually travel between 10 and 16 miles a day.
Can I bring a CPAP machine?
Yes. Since we do not have a generator or anyway to recharge or plug in a CPAP or any other electric device, you will need to bring a travel CPAP with enough battery power to last the duration of the trip. Please contact us if you need to bring a CPAP machine.
What beverages are provided?
We bring enough alcoholic beverages for each person to have a couple cold beers , and/or a couple glasses of wine at camp each evening. We also provide coffee and tea in the morning, tea in the evenings, and non alcoholic beverages (soda and sparkling water) at any time. You are welcome to bring any additional alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages that you like. You may bring any quantity of beverages, we only ask that beer come in cans (wine and liquor in glass bottles is ok). We have a cooler and system to keep you beverages cold, accessible, and intact during your river trip. You can find a decent selection of beer, wine and liquor in Stanley or Salmon. This is a good thing to do on the afternoon before the trip when you arrive in town.
What is your cancelation policy?
Please review our Reservation and Cancelation Policy page.