Several of the fish on the Native Trout Challenge share the same waters from time to time. After doing some research and crossing our fingers we were hoping we could cross two fish off the list out of one river. We were hoping to target Bull Trout and Redband Trout. We decided to head to the Nevada and Idaho border and try to fish the Jarbidge River. We headed north out of Salt Lake City to an adventure that we all will never forget.
We left at 4:00am for a long trek on two lane roads. We traveled on I-15 to I-84 into Twin Falls Idaho.Then south crossing one lane dams on Three Creek Road all the way into a small town that looks like something you might start hearing banjos playing in. The small town of Murphy’s Hot Springs, ID.
Now this is where we got off the beaten path a bit and don’t follow our path less traveled. We decided to take a left across the river that runs through town and start heading up the hill. Instead of taking our path continue straight through town on the semi paved and maintained road. We ended up on a forest service road that still got us into the town of Jarbidge but there were definitely signs telling us that 4 wheel drive was required to continue down the trail. So a drive that should have taken less than an hour from Murphy’s Hot Spring now took about an hour and a half. As we trickled down a one lane forest service trail into the town of Jarbidge we were having quite a chuckle at what we might find in the small town and what they might be thinking about seeing three dumbasses coming down the completely wrong road into town.
Part of the Jarbidge River runs right through the middle of town so we decided to start there and see if we could dig up any info that the local people might be able to get us. As we pulled up into the town of Jarbidge (population 22) we were greeted by several townspeople and one was the owner of the local watering hole and restaurant called the Red Dog Saloon. The man was one of the nicest people I have ever met and he has a pool table and fully stocked bar and I suggest you stop in and have an alcoholic beverage or a root beer. His establishment is quite a site and the bartender was awesome. We asked if he knew anything about the bull trout that we were hoping to catch. The other two people in the bar started laughing and all three of them called them “bullshit trout”. They claimed that they were all over the place and even a young 9 year old boy caught a nice sized one right in the middle of town.
We headed north out of town, which was down river and found a spot to pull over and survey the water. We got geared up and climbed into the stream. This time of year the water level was quite low close to town and right away we found a nice little pool that we could see a trout in. Sure enough Scott hooked into a trout on a white nymph pattern that he had tied himself and we stoked and had our fingers cross for a bull trout. As he got it to the net we noticed that it was a Redband trout. Not very large but still a species that we needed for the native trout challenge. As we walked upstream, leapfrogging each other each of us were catching Redband after Redband.
They all were about the size of a tasty bull trout snack. We moved up stream hoping to get into the second species for the trip and no bull trout. We headed out of town fishing our way down the canyon and more and more Redband Trout. It seemed all of the Bull Trout had migrated down stream toward the Idaho border. So even though the mission was only half complete, the story of the trip and crossing another species in a different state left quite an impression on us