Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

The BondyWeb in Mountain Home

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size


(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Not so local Outdoor News Wilderness Portion of Boise River

Wilderness Portion of Boise River

E-mail Print PDF

 Sawtooth Mountain near Boise River
The wilderness portion of the Middle Fork of the Boise River has been calling my name for over a year. On August 16th, 2009 I finally made the trip up there. Before I went, I scoured the Internet, ask friends, called National Forest folks to gather any data I could get about this portion of the river. Either people are very guarded about this place or I asked the wrong people. So off I went with only a general idea of what to expect and of course, my ideas and expectations were wrong.

Fishing the wilderness portion of the Boise River
I poured over maps and Google Earth and plotted out a 6.5 mile hike on a trail that follows the river. I'm no Daniel Boone but I know how to follow a trail especially with a fancy GPS unit in my hand but I lost the trail about ¼ mile inside the wilderness boundary. Finding the river was quite easy and that's why I was there anyway, right?

Fishing this portion of the river was great. There wasn't one hole, riffle or calmer section of the river that I didn't catch a fish. I used only two different spinners on this trip and they were my trusty "orange" Panther-Martin and a green Rooster Tail. Trusty won out over the recommended Rooster Tail. In all I caught at least 27 small trout on this day. As a matter of fact, the trout were more plentiful than the mosquitoes/flies for once (just barely). I caught brookies, rainbows, golden/redband trout and what I swear was a small brown trout. But I've been told there are no brown trout in the Middle Fork but I may have to disagree with this common thinking.

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

As a short time resident of Idaho, I was disappointed in the seemingly ever present rule of "barbless" hooks required in our streams and rivers. It took some time to gain the skills to actually catch a trout on a barbless hook but I now understand the rule and totally agree with it. A vast majority of the fish I caught require zero handling to release them. Basically pull them out of the water to see what I caught, then back into the water with a quick shake of my line and the fish was off the hook!

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

As I couldn't find the main trail along the river, I did a ton of stream walking, wading and extremely tough brushy cross-country hiking. This also means I didn't penetrate the Sawtooth Wilderness very far. In other words, expect to get wet, dirty, scratched and gouged up for the pleasure of catching a lot of Idaho trout.

Adventures of Getting to the Middle Fork
My trip was delayed by a traffic jam on Highway 20 as cowboys were herding cattle along the highway. This 40 minute stop and go portion near the Anderson Dam Road gave me plenty of time to eat my breakfast safely as opposed to eating while driving.

The next problem was finding the trail I found on "topo maps" near the wilderness boundary. I can say I likely trespassed and parked my ATV on this private property. I am sorry for doing this...but I certainly paid the price as I had to hike an additional 4 miles. On the trip back to my truck I found the proper road/trail to take and stay off of private property. Next time I head back to this spot, cutting off 4 miles of the hike will get me much deeper into this wilderness.

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

Once I decided to head back to my ATV from the Middle Fork of the Boise, I crawled, stumbled, tripped and waded through a wide section of the marshy river bottom. This is the one place where mosquitoes outnumbered everything but the number of deadfall trees I scrambled over. Not a fun place to be!

People and Critters
I was surprised by the number of people I saw in this area. I encountered 2 groups of hikers, a larger group of horse back riders and some ATV'er just heading back home from fishing the river. I also met up with two young men mountain biking the trail outside the wilderness boundary. All in all I saw 12 people in or near the Sawtooth Wilderness.

If I didn't know any better I'd say there are very few deer/elk around if the amount of poop is any indication. I saw way more horse poop than deer poop. However, when struggling through the swampy meadows there were game trails going in every direction...except the way I wanted to go. I got to watch a bald eagle sitting in a dead tree about 50 yards away from me while standing in the middle of the river. If the fishing wasn't so good and my camera wasn't sitting on the far bank, I would have gotten a few good pictures.

Bitter Sweet Trip
In some aspects, this hiking/fishing trip was not as much fun as it should have been. I spent a lot of time scrambling over rough terrain and did not get very far up the river. But overall, I had a great time fishing and exploring this beautiful part of Idaho. It was a great learning experience and these experiences will make my next trip "more better".

Comments (0)
Click to leave Tim Bondy a comment or question
Your Contact Details:
[b] [i] [u] [url] [quote] [code] [img]   
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.

Dedicated Cloud Hosting for your business with Joomla ready to go. Launch your online home with