Payette River Idaho Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Payette River

Winding through western Idaho’s valleys and mountains is the beautiful Payette River, famous for its excellent fishing and world class whitewater rapids.

  • Enjoy world class rafting on some of the most challenging rapids on the country.
  • Excellent fishing for trout, perch, salmon and other fish at many points along the river.
  • Including the North and South Forks, this river covers over 180 miles of scenic west central Idaho.


The spectacular Payette River flows through scenic western Idaho and covers over 182 miles when you include the North Fork and South Fork. Starting north of McCall in the Salmon River and Sawtooth Mountains, its headwaters flow from an elevation of over 10,000 feet. This majestic river boasts several stretches of water that are especially popular for avid anglers and whitewater enthusiasts alike.

Location & Information

Payette River, Idaho flows through the western part of the state. The small town of Banks, about 66 miles south of McCall on Hwy 55, is where the North and South forks of the river converge to form the main part of the river, which is 62 miles long.

Contact Information: Idaho Fish and Game Department at (208) 334-3700


Fishing – The river and its reservoirs boast plenty of rainbow trout, yellow perch, and Coho salmon. Other fish include cutthroat trout, Kokanee trout, largemouth bass, and black crappie.

Whitewater rafting – Famous for its excellent whitewater rapids, the river has something for every level including gentle Class I rapids to a renowned 15 mile Class V run on the north fork. There is also a Class VI rapid at Big Falls.

Fun Facts

  • This river is one of the major tributaries of the majestic Snake River.
  • The river has three forks – the main Payette River, the North Fork, and the South Fork.
  • There Payette basin has five reservoirs – Cascade, Black Canyon, Deadwood, Sage Hen, and Paddock.