Hughes River Expeditions

Fly Fishing

Selway River

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Fly Fishing


The Selway River is world famous for its raucaus whitewater but the truth is it's also a “blue ribbon” Westslope Cutthroat Trout fishery. Fishing is normally good from mid to late June on and is best in mid summer.

The crystal clear waters of the Selway are home to wild westslope cutthroat trout, and the fly fishing is incredible. The river also supports a smaller number of rainbow trout, cut-bow hybrid trout, and the elusive and protected bull trout. Tributary streams add red band trout to the mix.

We outfit one annual Fly Fishing-centric trip in early August each summer and when all the elements come together it can be an absolutely world class fly fishing experience!

Fly Fishing on your Selway River Trip


All our Selway trips are outfitted for fly fishing.  Many of our summer guests plan to include fly fishing as some part of their Selway trip. Experienced fishermen usually prefer to bring their own gear.

Included in your trip:
Fishing equipment and tackle
knowledgeable guides, pleased to provide instruction.

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Annual August Fly Fishing Trip


Hughes River Expeditions, Inc. guides deluxe fly fishing trips on the Selway River once each summer in early august.  Our Fly Fishing Trip on the Selway is an 8 Guide and 8 Angler trip.  That's right one angler per boat per guide.

Fly Fishing Pointers


Hughes guides are happy to provide instruction, and we always have tackle boxes filled with local flies, leaders, fly & line dressing. Westslope “cuts” are beautiful with olive green to steel gray backs, and yellow/brown sides, with red/pink on the belly. Don’t forget their namesake, the bright orange slash on the lower jaw.

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Tributary fishing is an added treat. During your trip, we will stop to hike up tributaries (Running Creek, Moose Creek, Three Links Creek, etc.). These brushy tribs offer some great fishing, but with little room to cast.

The “wiley” westslope cut takes dry flies aggressively. We fish on the surface with large, easy to follow dry flies (Humpy, Stimulator, Sofa Pillow, Parachute Hopper, Buck-tailed Caddis). Westslope cutthroat are an indicator of excellent water quality, and watching them rise through gin clear water to take dry flies is thrilling.

There are a plethora of hatches on the Selway River throughout the season.  The most prolific are the Stonefly, Caddis and Mayfly hatches.  Selway trout like them big and juicy and our guides will show you the ropes!

Guest Experiences on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

We just completed our sixth trip with Hughes, and it was terrific! I always think I might grow tired of these trips one day, but it hasn’t yet happened. Kim and I will probably be 90 years old and asking for walker accommodations onshore…Thanks again for a great trip! You’re the very best.
K. Gowland, Boise, ID (2008)

Recommended Tackle for Fly Fishing on the Selway


The Grizzly Hackle in Missoula, MT has an excellent selection of Selway flies & tackle. 406-721-8996.

  • Fly rod (3 to 6 weight) (7.5-9.5 feet long) (2, 3, or 4 piece rod – 4 piece preferable)
  • Reel & line (3 to 6 weight, double taper floating line)(balanced to rod – size should match line & rod weight)
  • Protective case for rod
  • Vest or tackle bag with flies, leaders, dry fly and line dressing (wax or silicon)
  • Leaders (7.5 – 9 ft tapered leaders size 4X to 6X) and tippet material 4X to 7X to add onto tapered leaders
  • Clippers for trimming leaders
  • Forceps, or other tools to grasp the hook shank for releasing fish
  • Needle nose pliers, forceps, etc. to bend hook barbs flat
  • Polarized glasses with croakies
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Suggested Dry Flies. (generally sizes 8-18)

  • Humpy (yellow, orange, red, purple)
  • Royal Wolff
  • Goofus (Improved Humpy) (yellow, orange, red, purple)
  • Buck-tailed Caddis
  • Irresistible
  • Elkhair Caddis (yellow, red, orange, olive, tan)
  • Stimulator (yellow, red, orange, olive, purple)
  • Royal Coachman
  • Royal Wolf
  • Sofa Pillow
  • Parachute Adams (grey & purple)
  • Renegade
  • Parachute Hoppers (red, yellow, orange, brown, green, black, tan)
  • Foam Bodied Hoppers (red, yellow, orange, brown, green, black, tan)
  • Chernobyl Ant (red, yellow, orange, brown, green, black, tan)
  • Giant Stonefly
  • Chubbies (red, yellow, orange, brown, green, black, tan)
  • Tarantulas (red, yellow, orange, brown, green, black, tan)
  • Dunns (grey, yellow, purple, olive)

Suggested Wet Flies

  • Early morning or late evening in low light, use wet patterns with a long leader. Add extra tippet to achieve a longer leader.
    • Marabou muddlers
    • Wooly bugger (black, purple, olive, brown)
    • Muddler minnow
    • Rabbit Fur Leaches (black, purple, olive, brown)
    • Sparkle Minnows (silver, black, olive, purple)
    • Bitch Creek Nymph (black, olive)
    • Prince Nymph
    • Copper John
    • Double Beaded Stone (yellow, brown, grey, black)
    • Hares Ear
    • Pheasant Tail
    • Rubber Legs (Stone)
    • Zebra Midge (red, purple, black)
    • Zug Bug
    • Rainbow Warrior

Nymph fishermen should have imitations for mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies.

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Fishing Licenses


Regulations are “catch & release” with barbless hooks. Hughes guides teach careful release to assure that this incredible fishery continues. The westslope cutthroat’s low reproductive rates and aggressive nature make “catch & release” an excellent management choice for the Selway River.

You can purchase license at pre-trip meeting at Bob Wards in Missoula, MT.  Be sure to do so prior to the pre trip meeting as they close before we are done.

You can also purchase an Idaho fishing license directly from Idaho Fish & Game Dept. [] Cost is $22.75 for the 1st day, and $7/day for each additional day. Children under 14 can fish on a license of an adult parent.

We’re here to answer any and all of your questions!

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