Summer Travel Quest #38

Cast Up a Creek in Idaho

Palisades Creek has the trail and the trout for an iconic American fly fishing experience
by Kris Millgate Posted Jun 25th 2014 9:29a.m.
Based in Idaho, the quiet cast of a fly line cures writer’s block for Kris. Follow her on Twitter @krismillgate.

The trailhead is an hour outside of Idaho Falls on Highway 26 below the dam at Palisades Reservoir. The trail, maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, is free. So is parking. Just make sure you have a fishing license and enough gas for the two-hour round trip drive.

Hikers and horses share the trail, but only anglers are in the water for the fishing season that opens July 1. The creek’s clean rush holds Yellowstone cutthroat trout from four to 14 inches. A small dry fly on the end of a light four-weight fly rod is your best shot, but watch your back cast. The trees tend to grab your fly more often than the fish do.

INSIDER TIP

Native Yellowstone cutthroat trout run up Palisades Creek to spawn May through July. Watch Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists sort spawners—to prevent crossbreeding, native cutthroat trout go back in the creek and head upstream to lay eggs, non-native rainbow trout go to a kids pond—every afternoon until dark just downstream from the trailhead.

Fish your way up the creek hitting deep pools, boulder backsides and shaded bends. The creek never runs far from the trail so hop out of the water when you need to navigate on dry land.

If you are ambitious, hike four miles up to the first of two lakes. That’s where the current calms and you can lay line on quiet water. Listen for wildlife at the lakes. The willows around your fishing hole are taller than you so you will hear the moose coming long before you see it.

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Based in Idaho, The quiet cast of a fly line cures writer’s block for Kris Millgate. Follow her on Twitter @krismillgate.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

36) Swim with a Manatee

37) Eat Maine’s Best Lobster Rolls on a Lobster Roll Crawl

38) Cast Up a Creek in Idaho

39) Fish in the Shadow of a Civil War Fort

40) Hit with a Baseball Legend's Bat

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

Watch a guide fly fish at Palisades Creek

The Lodge at Palisades Creek with Guide Larry Larson

YouTube/Ross Dean Mitchell

Watch a guide fly fish at Palisades Creek

The Lodge at Palisades Creek with Guide Larry Larson

YouTube/Ross Dean Mitchell

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