people fishing from their raftThe Middle Fork has been a "catch and release" stream since 1973, which has allowed the cutthroat trout fishery to thrive. Fly fishers can also hook into explosive rainbow trout that will give anglers a good fight.

"Mostly what I've been doing all week long is just using hoppers," said Rick Gerrard, one of the fishermen on our September trip. "It seemed like the brighter and the bigger it was, the better it was, so I've been pretty much sticking with that."

"Probably about 80 or 90% of what we catch are cutthroat, and then once in a while you'll catch a rainbow. The cutthroat are spectacularly gorgeous, but those rainbow just go nuts and they fight."

person holding caught fish in their hands"You just learn after a while where they hole up. In fact, you are rarely going to catch a rainbow trout in one of the pools or back eddies where we catch those cutthroat."

Occasionally, severe thunderstorms lead to blowouts of tributaries along the river, which affects water quality and therefore the number of fish caught. These blowouts seem to have increased since the wildfires of 2000.

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