The Boise River provides is one of the best places to fish for urban trout. You’ll find an abundance of wild trout and hatchery stocks of rainbow and brown trout throughout the river. Three individual forks join the river, which originates from the Sawtooth Mountains. You can easily gain lake access from the Lucky Peak Dam to the Boise River Greenbelt. There are also access points available at city parks and bridges on the river. You’ll find the boat ramps at Westmoreland Park and Willow Lane. Trout fly fishing is popular along the south fork of the river.
Boise River’s game fish are largemouth and smallmouth bass, Chinook salmon, brown and rainbow trout, catfish, steelhead and mountain whitefish.
Downtown Boise has cool waters and has a good number of spots to fish along the riverbank, and the location right in the city can’t be beat for convenience. Use the greenbelt to access the water for in-town fishing.
South Fork Boise is the most popular fishing section of the Boise River. South Fork Boise is mostly inside U.S. National Forest lands, so there are no private properties on the riverfront. From December through the end of March, South Fork Boise has a catch-and-release season, which is a big plus for winter anglers.
South Fork Boise opens on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, which is also when big hatches begin. If the river flow is high, fish from a boat or raft and send stonefly drys and caddis toward the bank. In June/July, bring large imitations for Golden Stones and Salmonflies, like Orange Stimulators, Improved Sofa Pillows, Foam Stones and orange Madam Xs. Use heavy tippets short, 6-footers taper to 1X or 2X
When wade-fishing, cast streamers or big drys to the banks. Spiked boots and a wading staff are recommended for these fast waters. If you want to wade in gentler waters, try the shallow side channels when the river’s water is flowing high.
For unlimited wade access, visit the area from below Anderson Dam to Danskin Bridge. However, this is a very popular fishing spot so it may be crowded. Continuing down the river to the Neal Bridge offers a better chance at privacy and huge fish, but there is no road access. You must take a boat or raft, and because there are Class II and Class III rapids on that section of the river, you should proceed with caution and a capable oarsman.