Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Snake River (Hells
Canyon) Oregon
The Snake is a big, big river. It's 1,078 miles long and
the largest North American river that empties into the
Pacific Ocean. The river begins in Wyoming and flows
through the Snake River Plain then the rugged Hells
Canyon and the rolling Palouse Hills. It's mouth is at the
Tri-Cities of the state of Washington. The big river drains
part of six states.

There are several other Snake River stream section
pages on this site, all to do with its great trout fishing.
This is about the Snake River steelhead below Hells
Canyon Dam. Fly fishing the Snake River for summer
steelhead can be very good at times.

The Snake River has a large number of hatchery
steelhead. They are released in Snake River tributaries
and at the base of Hells Canyon Dam. This means that a
large numbers of adipose-clipped summer steelhead are
available from approximately October through March. Fly
Fishing is usually best from about December through

The Snake River is a big river that's wide and deep in
most areas. Wading is difficult in most places. You can
fish from the banks just below Hells Canyon Dam. Stud
Creek also has some bank access.

There are a limited number of access points. Two are
located at Hells Canyon Dam and one is at Dug Bar.
Getting to Dug Bar can be a problem. It can be accessed
from Imnaha by traveling down the Imnaha River on a
very rough road. It is possible to reach the Eureka Bar
by hiking down the Imnaha River via trail but it's about a
four mile hike.

Discharge conditions must be taken into consideration
when fishing the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam.
Although the flows are usually fairly stable, heavy rainfall
can alter the discharges from the dams upstream. The
same thing can occur due to a melting snowpack during
warm late winter and early spring weather.

Summertime is the best time for rainbow trout.
September is the very beginning of the steelhead
Fly fishing the Snake River for steelhead is usually good
during the Fall, especially during the late fall months.
Wintertime can be a prime time for steelhead although
access may be difficult under bad weather conditions.
Type of Stream

Steelhead (Wild and Hatchery)
Chinook Salmon
Rainbow Trout


North Central Oregon

Nearest Towns

October through March


Non-Resident License
State of Oregon

National Weather Service

USGS Stream Flow Data:
At Hells Canyon Dam

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Snake River Hells Canyon Fishing Report:
11/22/13 The fall chinook fishing season is closed in
Hells Canyon. Steelhead fishing is doing fairly good
in Hells Canyon.  is producing at respectible7-9
hours per fish. You should remember that barbless
hooks are required. Customers ordering our
Fly Green Sedge Steelhead larva and Black Giant
Stonefly Steelhead nymphs.
12/30/13 Local contact reporting fishing has
improved and steelhead are being caught on a
regular basis. Few anglers are fishing.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
02/07/15 As you probably noticed, we lost our local
contact (he moved to Idaho) about a year ago. We
are talking to a new local angler and hopefully, will be
able to resume fishing reports in the near future.