Deep in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho lies one of the state’s best hidden gems, the city of Stanley. This tiny mountainous community is only home to about 60 full-time residents, but during the spring, summer, and fall it draws many visitors with some of the best water sports. Rafting, boating, water skiing, paddling, kayaking, swimming, canoeing, and most importantly, fishing – Stanley has it all for a water lover!
Camping was on our summer bucket list this year. Confession: Our children have never camped! When we heard from Stanley we knew this would be the perfect place for us. It has everything we love: mountains, nature, hiking, rivers, lakes and fishing!
There is incredible fishing in Stanley and its waters offer rainbow trout, cutthroat cutthroats on the western slope, streams, bull trout, whitefish and chinook salmon. The Salmon River is the site of the longest salmon run in North America, over 900 miles, and fishermen flock here in the spring! Now you know why it’s called the Salmon River!
We camped for several days in Stanley, right on the lake. We had the opportunity to raft down the Salmon River, kayak and fish in the mirror-smooth waters of Stanley Lake, as well as fly fishing in the Salmon River. We used Take Me Fishing’s interactive “Where to Fish and Boat” map to find the best places to fish in Stanley, as well as a fly fishing shop and guide.
We have always firmly believed in experience about things. Since we are camping for Paul’s birthday and he always wanted to learn to fly fishing, we found a guide who took him out and gave him a lesson.
I’ll have Paul tell you about his fly fishing experience:
Fly fishing guide Troy with Sawtooth Adventure Co. was very knowledgeable – not only about fly fishing techniques and locations, but also about local fish species. We took a drift boat down the Salmon River and I enjoyed learning about Stanley’s local history, identifying fish, insect life cycles and how it affects fish feeding habits, and much more. It was a relaxing, educational, and very enjoyable fishing trip that I would recommend to anyone. As someone new to fly fishing, I also appreciated the way Troy spent time teaching me the techniques and helping me improve as the day progressed. I am now a fly fisherman for life.
After rafting with The River Company, they kindly loaned us a duckling (a detonating kayak) for a few days so we could let the kids paddle and fish on Stanley Lake. They took out one pole while the other paddled. They only caught sticks but it was a great exercise for them and we loved watching them fish independently. They even asked to get up early to go fishing! How great is that?
Even this little guy fell in love with the fishing spirit! He loves to do everything his big brother and dad do! Our time in Stanley was perfect for first-time campers like us. It felt so good to be in nature and reconnecting with what is really important! We all have to do this more often!
What was your favorite place to reconnect with nature? We’d love to get to know your favorite spots for camping, boating, hiking, or fishing! Visit our website to learn how to fish and plan your next fishing adventure.