[Q] Payette River?

I have an opportunity to fish the Payette river (McCall, Id) this fall. I know nothing about the river apart from what I can pull off the various guide reports on the internet.

Has anybody from the forum fished it before?

Thanks, in advance,

Michael~I live near the Payette and have found that the fish are generally fairly small, the best fishing is above Payette Lake. any attractor dry flies ie. elk hair caddis, royal wulffs, humpies, sizes 14 and 16 will work very well. Drive as far as Pearl Creek and begin fishing upstream from there. Mostly rainbows, but there are some brookies...all fish 6-12". If you don't mind walking about a mile Louie Lake has some very nice fish, up to 20", as does Brush Lake (5 mile hike).

Good luck!
Dave Tucker

Scott Behn

Active Member
You also are going to want to take some sofa pillows, I personally like the improved sofa pillow. Growing up in the Meridian area we used it quite often. Not exactly on the Payette River, but I fished all the rivers and creeks in southwest Idaho and the above mentioned flies along with the sofa pillow is what we used predominatly, and depending on what time this fall you could even throw in some hopper imitations.


P.S. Boy I sometimes miss home...It's a different kind of "tying-n-flying" over there, if you know what I mean.

McCall is a beautifull area, you will enjoy it. I used to fish that area a lot in the summers. Lots of places to fish. I have caught some big trout in Cascade lake which is south of McCall on big streamers fished deep. The little fork of the salmon river from New Meadows to Riggins used to have lots of trout in it and some surprisingly nice ones if you hike around and get away from the road. If you'll be there in Oct. bring your spey rod and floating line and hit the salmon river out of Riggins, for the fall returing steelhead, they love to take surface flies. Cross the little salmon river near riggins and drive up the main salmon river to get away from the highway, you know what water to look for. I'm jealous. Enjoy, Steve


Not to be confused with Freestone
Finally, the search function pay's off. Will be heading to McCall later this month to meet up with family and I've never fished this the NF Payette. It sounds like a smaller venue that a LL379 and CT904 is well suited for. Would appreciate any current intel; water levels, bug activity, etc.? Thanks.


Active Member
I spent a month South of McCall last summer. We rented a cabin near Lake Crossing (or something like that). I fished the Payette river about a dozen times. I'd guess on the map it was about 1/2 way between Payette and Cascade lake. There are some big fish in that section, and a lot of little ones. Attractors on the surface for lots of fun with the tikes and streamers and poly leaders for the more wary larger prey.

+1 on Louie lake. I'd recommend taking a float tube. Really nice hike; a bit steep at the end though. Also +1 on the Little Salmon. I had huge fun with my 3 weight just upstream from Riggins on the little salmon. Tons of spunky trout in the 6-12 inch range that weren't at all shy to slam a dry fly. Royal Wulfs seemed to work best for me.

Beautiful area down there. My wife and I almost moved there but I wanted to live someplace with more andromodous fish and Di didn't want to live with long winters.