The Upper Salmon is a beautiful free stone river that originates at the southern end of the Sawtooth Valley. The river flows north through the Valley to Stanley where it  Highway 75, The Salmon River Scenic Byway, parallels the river offering easy access.

Photo by Mike Bac

Stateline to Hatchery: This section begins at the hwy bridge that crosses Blaine/Custer county line.  The mighty Salmon is a little larger than a creek at the highway bridge as it meanders through the valley. Only float-able during Spring Flows.  A great SUP/hike fish as the water drops.  World Class scenery of the Sawtooth & White cloud Mountains

Hatchery to Salmon River Bridge: This section rarely gets fished, minus the 1/2 mile above and below the Buckhorn River Access.  The first mile of this section is very popular for Steelhead and Chinook fishing. Campgrounds offer great access with operable pit toilets. Busy and shallow Class II, and III rapids in early summer. As the water drops it turns into a great Inflatable kayak fishing adventure.  You wade some, walk some, float some. The takeout is located at the Salmon River Bridge, just north of the hwy 21 & hwy 75 intersection

Salmon River Bridge to Mormon Bend: The river departs the Sawtooth valley and drops into the Upper Canyon.  Due to the ridiculous views of the Sawtooths and access to natural hotsprings this section is very popular. Class I and II riffles are easily manageable. Fishing is good in the deep pools and deep riffles.  A fabulous float fishing experience.  A beautiful boat ramp at Mormon Bend Campground makes this section perfect for drift boats, fishing rafts, float tubes and SUP.

Mormom Bend to Yankee Fork: The Salmon increases its gradient just downstream of Mormon Bend Campground for the first rapid, Pontiac falls.   A great few mile float for small crafts is Mormon Bend CG to Rough Creek Bridge.  Rough Creek does not offer a boat ramp.  The river continues to grow in volume with numerous side creeks, the largest being Basin Creek.  This section includes the popular Sunbeam hotsprings and 2 major Class IV rapids Shotgun and Sunbeam Dam.  Great road access throughout this section offers numerous fishing opportunities.  This section has it all including deep pools, cut banks, deep riffles and pocket water divided by huge granite boulders.

Yankee to Snyder Springs This 8 mile section of river is the most popular for rafting with fun Class III rapids and beautiful scenery.  This section also the most popular float fishing opportunity for drift boats and fishing rafts with boat ramps on each end. Pocket water and deep pools divided by riffles make this section an active and beautiful float fishing trip.  The deep pools in this section hold larger fish.


Snyder Springs to Torrey’s Hole:  A great, quick Float fishing section. This 2 mile section consists of shallow riffles,  cutbanks and Torrey’s Hole.  The large deep pool called  Torrey’s hole is best accessed by boat and offers great fishing.
Torrey’s to Deadmans: A great, fishy section of river.  This section offers miles of fishable water.  The numerous side streams and deep corners attracts larger fish.  Boat ramps on both ends make for a great float fish.