Scenic Idaho Fishing and Hiking Trip on Sunday June 28th, 2009Part 2 of Idaho Fishing Trip
After spending the night in Kooskia, Idaho I was up early and headed for the Selway River Road. The turn off to the Selway from Highway 12 is about a 30 minutes drive east of Kooskia. Once you turn down the Selway River Road it's a good idea to stop and get a view of the "3 Rivers Confluence". The Lochsa River flowing southwest combines with the northwest flowing Selway River to form the Clearwater River.
I continued heading down the Selway River Road where I stopped in a few places to fish. As with the South Forth of the Clearwater, there are trout to be caught but all of them were small. But the scenic beauty of this river and surrounding mountain more than made up for the small fish. Maybe size doesn't matter?
The Selway River Road
This is a fasting moving and big river with plenty of turn-off's to stop and fish. The road is paved from Highway 12 until just after he Fenn Ranger Station at about the 5 mile point. From there the road is suitable for any passenger car but is quite bumpy. The road side of the river really doesn't have many flat easy places to fish from so expect to be hopping on rock most of the time. There are a few beaches but these are mainly near the many campgrounds located along the road. At the end of the road there is an easy and rather flat hiking trail that follows the river closely.
Hike the Selway River Trail
I was pretty much sick of driving and decided to take my fishing pole and hike up the Selway. I put on my fishing/wading shoes...and old pair of Nike's and headed out to explore this part of the river. It didn't take long before nice white sandy beaches started showing up. The only problem was the trail sits kind of high on the sides of the mountains (15 feet to 100 feet above). In some places the hike to get down to the river is rather steep, as in "cliff-like". But seeing some of the beaches and big swirling pools was irresistible. I thought the slip-sliding trip down to the river was hard but climbing back up to the trail was even more difficult.
Overall, the hike and fishing this part of the Selway was GREAT. The trout size remained in the large minnow range and again I was glad I had barbless hooks. I could have caught 50 fish along this trail but many of these small fish thankfully spit the hook out. I cannot over-emphasize the beauty of this portion of the river. While the river was rather cold, there are so many places to wade in and fish that a guy could spend an entire day and never get more than a few miles down the trail.
At about the two mile point from the trailhead, you will enter the "Selway Bitterroot Wilderness". At least on this particular Sunday, there were only a few people on the trail doing short day hikes. I stopped and talked to these people and all were friendly and excited to be able to hike in such a great location.
Hotel and Food
I stayed at the Wilderness Inn at Lowell, Idaho. This hotel is located just off Highway 12 and very near the Selway River Road. I will warn you that there are no phones or internet service at this hotel AND no cell phone coverage. There is some sort of cable TV in the rooms but I could only get one station that magically changed stations but not channel numbers at the end of each show. In other words, this is not the hotel to stay in if you need to be in contact with the outside world. I wasn't in need of this service. There is a Cafe on the hotel grounds that opened up at 7:00AM so this could be a problem for people wanting to head out to the river early. Bring FOOD with you. The people staying in this hotel were extremely friendly. Instead of watching TV, folks sit on the front porch of there room and enjoy the views. I talked to all these people and it seemed everyone comes back to the Wilderness Inn every year.
The morning I left, I wanted to get some gas and stuff for breakfast but the gas station/very small grocery store wasn't open yet. That was at 7:30 AM. Basically Lowell, Idaho seems to be "The land time, technology and communications forgot".
Slideshow of More Pictures from the Selway Area
Link to full slideshow: http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/SelwayRiverJune2009?feat=directlink
Overall Impression of the Selway River
This is what I call "God's Country". The heavily forested mountains and clear water make this a must visit hiking, kayaking and fishing spot. I suspect later in the year, the water levels in the Selway River come down and fishing would be much better. Unless you are a die hard fisher who needs big fish, this would make a great 1-4 day vacation spot if you are willing to get out and hike. Don't forget the camera!
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