Owyhee River Fly Fishing


United States


Boise, ID 83713


Latitude: 43.830301

Longitude: -116.452405



(208) 642-7898

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The Owyhee River is just an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Boise, Idaho, but it seems like a world away when fly fishing for rising trout in a deep, desert canyon. This tailwater fishery has emerged as one of the country’s best, and the average brown is in the 18-20-inch range. Fish concentrations are also dense, which makes the Owyhee River a worthy destination for anglers from anywhere. Owyhee Dam, where all the ‘fun’ begins’, is ‘technically’ located in Oregon, but anglers come from all over the world to enjoy this ‘blue ribbon’ fishery.


The Owhyee produces fabulous fly fishing year round! It is common to encounter healthy hatches of Skwalas (a small stonefly), PMD’s, caddis, Blue Winged Olives (BWO), midges, Tricos, Mahogany Duns and Callibaetis. While all of these hatches can be prolific, it seems like the Skwalas, PMDs and Tricos really bring the big fish to the surface, and caddis nymphs along with midges are the best subsurface producers. Ants and hoppers are prevalent in the fall, and the thrill of casting towards tight, fish-lined banks with terrestrial patterns is undeniable. Throw some tumbling craneflies into the mix, and the Owyhee has all the makings for a late-season dry fly bonanza.


Because of the light gradient of the Owyhee, the river’s large browns are conditioned since birth to take advantage of emerging and adult insects along soft current seams, and this feeding behavior continues through their entire life. Rarely is there a need to wear out your arm throwing streamers on this river to target the bigger fish (unless you want to, of course). You will often find that fishing with the tiniest flies and the most subtle presentations reap the biggest rewards; this is what makes the Owyhee such a unique brown trout fishery.


If the sight of 18 to 20-inch browns rhythmically rising to size #20 Blue Winged Olives gets your adrenaline pumping, the Owyhee is a true “dream stream”; but perhaps the river’s greatest attributes are its diversity of insect life and abundance of holding water. Whether you are a dry fly fishing purist, or love fishing nymphs deep; both methods are extremely effective. Still, the prospect of hitting a hatch ‘right ‘on the Owyhee is a ‘lifetime’ experience worth pursuing.


Wildlife is abundant along the river with mule deer, mink and beaver being the predominate mammals. Birders sometimes have trouble keeping their eyes on their fly because of the variety of birds that can be seen. We have chukar, quail, wild turkey, finches, juncos, golden and bald eagles and nesting pairs of Lazuli Buntings and Western Tanagers. We even have a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons that a few of our clients have been lucky enough to see take a pigeon midair.

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