Fall Cast & Blast
DISCOVER OUR FALL CAST & BLAST ADVENTURES
Experience Idaho’s fall fishing and hunting paradise when the Middle Fork becomes a deserted wilderness once the outfitters wind down their whitewater season. The crystal clear, spring-fed water gets lower and slower, which combined with an extraordinarily plentiful and aggressive population of native Cutthroat Trout, make it one of the most perfect dry fly fishing waters in the world. In addition to the many Cutthroat Trout, we also see some Rainbow Trout and an occasional Dolly Varden.
Our September Cast & Blast adventures are designed for real sports enthusiasts and are limited to 10 guests. Each trip is tailored to the group’s desires, whether it be fishing, hunting or both! Guests can choose to spend the day fishing from the moving rafts, drifting along, casting into deep pools, along eddies, or up against rock walls or in side tributaries when we are stopped. For hunters the Middle Fork’s natural abundance of Chukars is a dream. In the upper sections of the river, guests can be guided along plentiful benches, hiking and hunting for game birds or while in the lower canyons, where the walls narrow up, hunters can scout along the shoreline where the birds descend to the river. These trips offer the same gourmet touches and Pampered Camping™ as our peak season trips. Whatever your desire, we can design the perfect trip for your group that offers ample opportunity for both fun and sport! Check out our Launch Dates and Pricing.
Many of our Cast & Blast groups opt to skip the drive to Stanley, Idaho and charter a back-country flight with Gem Air from Boise to the Thomas Creek launch site and charter back to Boise from Salmon, Idaho after the trip ends. We are happy to assist guests in making these plans.
Fishing & Hunting The Middle Fork Salmon River
All fishing is catch and release, and restricted to single, barbless hooks with no live bait.
Most September guests bring some of their own fishing equipment, here is a baseline of what would be recommended on the Middle Fork: a 4-5 weight rod “in a case” is ideal (a 5-6 weight is also good), leader and tippet and standard western dry flies (sizes 8, 10 & 12). For flies, Purple Haze is the “go-to-fly” on the Middle Fork in all seasons, but other good options include Fat Alberts (brown & tan), Grasshoppers (brown & orange), Stimulators, Humpies and Elk Hair Caddis. In general, bright colors do well, especially purple, and variety of flies is recommended. We do not pack droppers or streamers if you use these please bring them. Fish are not leader shy and a tapered leader with a 4X tippet is adequate.
Most of the fishing will be done from a boat and you can also fish from camp. The river is low this time of year, which means longer hours on the river each day with plenty of opportunity for fishing without stopping along the way to wade the river. You will NOT need waders or wading boots. If you usually wear a vest or waist pack, feel free to bring it, but if you do not have one there is no need to buy one (you’ll be fine without it).
We will bring a few 5 weight rods for anyone who does not have their own or in the event a guest’s rod breaks. Please note, it is important to transport your fly rods “in a case” so we can safely store them when not in use. A case that allows you to break down and store your rod easily is preferable, this will allow you to quickly store your rod before entering larger rapids when you will want to protect your equipment (some guests have very expensive rods and we wouldn’t want anything to happen to them). It is also always best to put away your rod when it’s not in use. We also bring some flies, a couple of nets (you can bring your own, but we do like to try and keep the fish in the water to release them when possible), as well as, leader and tippet.
Spin fishing is easier usually for children and those with no fishing experience. We do NOT bring spin equipment, lures or bait so if you wish to spin fish please bring your own equipment and pack your rod in a hard case.
Recommended spin fishing equipment would be a light stiffness rod (no higher than a medium-light rod), 6’ – 6.5’ in length and 6 – 10lb fluorocarbon line. Remember you will only be able to fish with single hook lures.
An Idaho Fishing License is required to fish on the Middle Fork and it along with ID must always be carried with you while fishing. Both resident and non-resident licenses can be purchased online (https://idfg.idaho.gov/licenses). Children 13 years old & under can fish under another person’s license.
If your trip is launching from Stanley, Idaho licenses can be easily purchased at either River 1 or The Merc. If you are launching from Boise, purchase your licenses before you arrive.
The way we hunt is dependent upon the terrain, but in most instances, we will float until we see or hear chukars and then pull over and get out of the boats. In the upper sections of the river where there are benches, we will walk and work the hillsides; in the lower sections where the steep walls do not allow for much walking, we will hunt from the sides of the river.
For footwear, the best bet is shoes/boots you can wear both in the raft, as well as while walking (you won’t want to have to change shoes each time we pull over to hunt, you’ll want to be able to jump quickly out of the boats & go). So waterproof boots are ideal. When hunting you will NOT be hiking far, likely no more than a 1/2 mile to 1 mile at a time.
If you normally wear a hunting vest, feel free to bring it, but a vest is not necessary. However, you MUST pick up your spent shell casings, we are NOT allowed to leave them on the ground (so something to store them in while hunting is a good idea).
For clothing, you may want to wear long pants for hunting on the hillsides (quick drying is always best). While it is still too far out to predict the weather, if it’s sunny & warm you might be comfortable in shorts during the day in the lower sections (lower elevations), but remember temps will be dropping by that time of year in the evenings & mornings, so bring some warm clothing for camp. Of course, the later in September your go, the cooler the temperatures.
You will be hunting for chukar on the Middle Fork and the hunting license you will need is an Idaho “Hunting – Small Game” license (Upland Bird). Remember you MUST PURCHASE YOUR HUNTING LICENSE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. Please review the requirements (https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/upland-bird).
Hunters on Cast & Blast trips can bring “shotguns only”, please try to limit yourself to 1 gun, however, if you are planning to bring more than 1 gun, please discuss it with us first. Most hunters find a 12 gauge to be the most effective gun option. The best way to transport your gun on the river is in either a soft or hard case (waterproof is preferred, but not necessary). Just know that when not in use on the river guns will ride on top of boxes so they may get splashed.
For your back-country flights on Gem Air, you are required to store your unloaded guns and ammo separately. Your gun can travel in the case you are bringing on the river and they DO NOT have to be locked. Your gun MUST be packed in a separate container from your ammo and ammo should not be stored loosely (in the original boxes is best). Of course, on any commercial flights to Idaho you will have to comply with all FAA regulations regarding guns.
The recommended ammo for chukar hunting is 6 shot high brass. The quantity you need is dependent upon your own skill and desire, but a baseline recommendation would be 50 rounds.
There are a few locations on the river where guests can shoot skeet if desired, guests who are interested should contact us about adding this to their trip. We can work with you to pre- purchase biodegradable pigeons and have them packed for your trip. For skeet, the recommended ammo is 7 or 7 ½ shot low brass and a baseline recommendation on quantity would be dependent upon the volume of pigeons.
Please do not forget that back-country flights require ammo to be packed separately from your gun and in ammo-appropriate packaging (e.g., the box it is purchased in, NOT loose in a bag).
For the Gem Air flight into the river guests who are bring a hunting dog will need schedule this in advance and provide information on the weight and temperament of the animal. Your dog will need to have a chest harness and will be seated in the plane at the owner’s feet (likely strapped with a leash to the seat frame). If multiple dogs are traveling it will be imperative that the dogs can tolerate each other without difficulties.
Do not forget to bring your dog’s:
- Collar & leash
- Poop bags
- Food & dish
- Dog life vest, preferably with a handle (if you do not have a dog life vest, at a minimum you must bring a chest harness to enable us to pull the dog out of the river if necessary)
- Any other items you need for their comfort (e.g., bedding)
Please note, in our experience dogs get very tender feet after a few days due to the sharp rock terrain on the Middle Fork, you may want to consider dog shoes/socks.
Protecting the Wilderness Resource
In order to protect this priceless wilderness resource, the Idaho Fish & Game requires that all fishing on the Middle Fork be catch and release, using only single, barbless hooks and no live bait. Fishing and Chukar hunting licenses can be obtained online at Idaho Fish & Game.
So for a serious sporting trip — whether it be fly fishing, spin fishing and/or Chukar hunting —
JOIN US IN SEPTEMBER
WHAT IS PAMPERED CAMPING?
Our amazing trips feature gourmet food and a hot shower along with our “You Don’t Lift a Finger Service” ! At the end of each day, you’ll find a welcoming camp to greet you after a fun day on the river. The camp will be ready with tents, chairs, fire circle, toilet facility, hot shower and wash stations. Land on the beach, select your tent and a guide will deliver your bag so you can lay out your warm sleeping bag, change your clothing and settle in for the night. When you’re ready, join the group for appetizers, cold drinks and a warm fire … or if you prefer, relax in your tent, read a book or explore the area. After a delicious guide-prepared meal, most guests linger around the campfire sharing stories, stargazing, playing games and soaking up the magnificent scenery.