2009 Trip Report from Central IdahoPart 1 of Fishing Trip
The headwaters of South Fork of the Clearwater River is somewhere south of the city of Elk Idaho. Interestingly enough Idaho State Highway 14 follows this fork of the Clearwater the entire way. This gives the fisherman a great opportunity to easily fish 40 miles of a nice mountain river. I only got to fish about 30 miles of the Clearwater and it was a great trip.
While fishing was the main objective of this trip, the fishing wasn't what I'd call world class. I probably caught 10 trout and a few white fish. The size of the trout was a somewhat disappointing 3-5 inch average. Basically I was catching minnows and was glad all my spinners were barbless. In other words, you likely will not be keeping a lot of fish or entering the Guinness Book of World Records while fishing the South Fork of the Clearwater River. The best part of the Clearwater is the views and easy access to the river.
The Road - Highway 14
I started fish close to the intersection of Highway 13 and Highway 14 and headed upstream towards Elk City. The road was relatively uncrowded and easy to find pull-outs to fish from. I'd say ATV'er made up the vast majority of traffic on the road. I only had to pass up a few nice looking fishing holes where other people were already fishing. Did I mention that Highway 14 is paved the entire 30 miles I drove? To me a paved road following a beautiful river like the Clearwater is unheard of.
Hotels Are Few
I stayed in Kooskia, Idaho for the night. There aren't many choices as far as hotels go in this part of Idaho. As far as I know, "The Western Inn" of Kooskia is the only hotel but there may be others in this town. The Western Inn wasn't a AAA rated hotel but it was nice enough for a tired and dirty fisherman. The price was pretty darn good at $50 a night. With so few hotels in the area, I suspect this place rents out almost every night. You might want to keep the city of Grangeville, Idaho in mind if looking for a hotel.
This part of Idaho seems to have been ignored by most cell phone companies. I had none, zero, zippo cell coverage from my AT&T network. This lack of cell coverage extended from Highway 14 and the entire length of Highway 12 from Kooskia into Montana. I was told that "Verizon" does have a cell tower in the area but I couldn't get it. Not a big deal unless I had run into trouble.
There are a few restaurants in town and I ate at a cafe on the north side of town. Typical cafe type food with friendly customers and waitresses. The food was reasonably priced and I'd eat at the place again. There was another restaurant close by but it wasn't open on the day I was there...Saturday June 27th, 2009 but looked like it was ready and willing to open. I also saw a Chinese place in town. For cheaper thrills and for a person with a microwave or kitchenette there is a full on grocery store called Harvest Foods.
Kooskia In General
This town looks to be on a downslide? Lots of commercial real estate for sale/rent and a fair amount of homes for sale. This town has a great potential for being a sportsman's mecca of sorts but it just hasn't gotten there. Of course I know nothing of this area other than what I saw in the 4 hours I spent walking the streets and eating. I wish Kooskia all the best.
Link to pictures above: http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/ClearwaterRiver?feat=directlink
Distance from Mountain Home, Idaho to the Intersection of Highway 13/14: 285 miles
Controlled By: Clearwater Ranger District and Nez Perce National Forest
Fish You Might Catch: Brook Trout, Columbia Basin Redband Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Whitefish.
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