Our Fly Fishing Gear and Boats
The Solitude River Trips drift boats used today are very similar to the original designs used to explore Idaho’s whitewater rivers in the beginning of the 19th century. Our guides pride themselves on a mastery of this timeless style of boating! You will not find a more nostalgic and unique experience than fishing dry flies from a Solitude drift boat during a Middle Fork of the Salmon River fly fishing trip.
Additionally, these boats are extremely maneuverable and allow your guide to slice currents and hold you still in otherwise inaccessible fly water. Because of the Middle Fork’s tumbling, technical nature, we use MacKenzie style drift boats. You and your fishing partner will sit at the front of the boat, where your guide can more easily instruct or direct whoever is at the casting deck.
Custom Fishing Boats
Our custom fishing rafts are smaller and narrower than conventional oar rafts, which allow the guide to maneuver them more like a drift boat than a conventional raft.
The benefit of our custom fishing rafts is that two people can simultaneously fish aggressively (or relax) from both the front and rear casting decks. This allows for more fishing time for both fishermen/women.
Please ask if you have any questions about about selecting your craft. As water levels drop, it becomes unpracticle to use drift boats so during our late August and September fishing trips you will be fishing from a fishing raft only.
A 4 weight rod, ~9ft is ideal for fly fishing from the boats on the Middle Fork. The 100+mile Middle Fork of the Salmon transforms from a large creek at the beginning of your trip (3 or 4wt rod most fun), to a sizable river in the Impassable Canyon (4 or 5 wt rod is best by the end).
There are many good reels on the market, and Orvis has some of the best. For durability and a great price, try the Battenkill reel. For a top reel in the industry, check out the CFO series.
Leaders & Tippet
Tapered leaders approximately 7-9 feet long, 6 lb 4X are best. These fish are not leader shy.
You will not need waders or hip waders! If you plan to wade during lunch or while we are at camp, the Orvis Clearwater Wading Shoe or similar water shoe or sturdy sandal is ideal.
If you prefer to bring your own flies, here is a list of our top Middle Fork recommendations:
Early – Mid-Season
Super Stimulator: royal, red, yellow
Mid – Late Season
PMX: red, orange, royal
Willy’s Ant: Purple, orange, peach
Chubby Chernobyl: royal, yellow, peach, purple
- Para humpy: red, yellow
- Joe’s Hopper
- Spruce Moth
- Freddy Hopper
For more information about flies and hatches, read our detailed explanation of the best flies to use fly fishing on the Middle Fork.