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  Idaho Rivers
Idaho's Lochsa River
Lochsa means "rough water" in Nez Perce Indian language. The Lochsa is located In the mountains of north-central Idaho, with the headwaters being in the Bitterroot Mountains. The river runs between the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area which is the last remaining road-less portion of the entire Lewis and Clark Trail.

Lochsa RiverThe river parallels the scenic Lolo Highway 12 northeast of Lowell, Idaho until its confluence with the Selway and Clearwater rivers. The highway, however, is hardly visible from the river which is bordered by a cedar forest.

Access varies within the drainage from relatively easy access to streams from existing roads to hikes of over 20 miles.

While the Idaho Fish & Game does not stock catchable fish within the Lochsa River and its tributaries, anglers can fish for a variety of for naturally-reproducing fish, including westslope cutthroat trout. Salmon, steelhead, and bull trout are also present, just as they were 200 years ago.  Fish in the ten-pound can be caught in the shallow river.  Wild salmon and steelhead runs have been drastically reduced because of downriver dams.  Despite a heavy stocking program, a low percent of stocked fish make it back up river as adults. Bull trout are also present , but are a federally protected species, and it's illegal to fish for them at all.


What to use: For flies, chose stimulators, caddis flies, bead-head nymphs, stoneflies and streamers. For lures, try Panther-Martens, red-and-black daredevil, green spoons and Mepps. Salmon eggs will work as bait for the big fish.

Seasons: General season.

Access: US Highway 12.

Camping: Along with numerous dispersed camping opportunities there are several Campgrounds along the Lochsa River, Wild Goose, Apgar, Wilderness Gateway, Jerry Johnson, Wendover and Whitehouse. Close by are also Powell and White Sands campgrounds.

Major Fenn and Devoto Grove picnic areas are also located on the Lochsa River.

For more camping and recreation information visit the Clearwater - Nez Perce Country Travel Planner

Note: When Lewis and Clark dropped down to the Lochsa River from the Lolo Trail, they spent only one night on the river. Local Indians told them the river was a poor choice for travel, and the quickest route was back up on the Lolo Trail. They were instructed to make their way downriver to a known fishing hole, then take a right and climb a saddle back to the trail. That fishing hole can still be found today.




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