November 6, 2010

Jarbidge River, ID

My brother invited me up to fish a river I had never heard of for a species I knew little about. That combo almost always gets me interested and so I was off on another adventure! The Jarbidge River is found in southwest Idaho in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness. The river is more known for its treacherous rapids that rafting enthusiast's test their skills on. For my brother and I however, it meant going to a place that is seldom visited by anglers. We were going to go after the redband trout (a subspecies of the rainbow trout) and bull trout that are said to inhabit this river. You only have a few months in the year when this river is low enough to even fish and we were lucky to be able to get out there this late in the year. This river is literally in the middle of nowhere and you could definitely feel the remoteness of where you were. We were able to see some sage grouse on the way out which was a first for me and also some antelope and big horn sheep.

We made our way down the steep ridge to the canyon floor where we put on our waders and began to fish. My brother was first to hook into a fish and landed it in no time. He was using woolly buggers and the fishing was really fast. I was using a gold spinner that the redbands absolutely loved. We landed well over 100 fish that day that went as big as 13 inches. Redband trout do not grow very big but it was fun to catch a new species none the less. We never did see any sign of bull trout which was a bummer but they are rare for the area. It was a neat experience to fish under sheer cliffs that shot strait up from the hole you were fishing. It was a trip unlike any other I've done and the scenery was just as good as the fishing.

What a view!

We were greeted by desert big horn sheep.

Jason fishing one of the holes.

my biggest redband.

I'm the tiny dot in the lower right.

Jason with a nice redband.

Flyfishing at it's best!

We saw lots of antelope.


  1. Rick, I have lived in Idaho most of my life and have never fished or been in the Jarbridge area. My brother owns some property over there, but, he lives in Nevada so never had the chance. Excellent pictures and thanks for taking me along and sharing the views with your post.

  2. Thanks for checking in Mel. I appreciate your comments. Are you going to fish the Boise river in a few weeks when they release the steelhead? If so, email me. I'd like to meet you.

  3. Wish I could, Rick, I live in Eastern Idaho which is about 4 and 1/2 hours from Boise. I would like to meet up with you sometime also. Maybe we can target some water closer to both our areas. If you go, make sure you kiss one of those Steelies for me!

  4. Awesome post! Great lens work.

  5. I am trying to find a place halfway between Portland and Salt Lake where my brother and I can fish and is away from crowds, this looks awesome. Do you have any mile markers where you dropped in or any other guidance on a location?

  6. Thanks for stopping in Mick. Email me @ and I'll get back with you. First I need to see if I can find my maps.

  7. this is awesome, I'm going big horn sheep hunting in this area in a few days, i will be bring my flyrod with me.