As much as I like to see kids standing in a river with a rod in hand, alluring them to the sport is sometimes easier said than done. That's why I like pond settings. They foster a less-demanding atmosphere where directing your full attention to a child — something they'll appreciate — is simpler without having to worry about the distractions wade fishing presents. But the best part is the odds of a kid catching a fish are substantially higher than if they are compared to blindly probing a river. For that reason alone, anglers with kids shouldn't overlook the strategically placed ponds along the upper Salmon River region.
"We stock most of the ponds in the upper Salmon River corridor probably nine months out of the year. But the nice thing is we put excess steelhead adults in some ponds for kids to catch, so it's exciting when they tie into one. River fishing can be tough sometimes, so it's nice to have a place where the kids have a decent chance of catching something," Curet says. "And, for the first time this past summer, we had a surplus of jack Chinook, so we put them in there as well. It's really neat to go by Kids Creek Pond here in Salmon and watch kids ride bikes down the street with a steelhead or salmon hanging from their handlebars."
If you're in the area on vacation or an afternoon on the river isn't in the cards, here are a few nearby ponds worth visiting.
Kids Creek Pond — This small water is close to downtown Salmon and heavily stocked with rainbow trout throughout the year, and a few hatchery steelhead in the spring. From Salmon take U.S. 93 south for 0.5 miles. The pond is on the left (south) side of the road and marked by a large sign.
Blue Mountain Pond — This pond is open in the spring, summer, and fall and is loaded with catchable rainbow trout and a few hatchery steelhead in the spring. Bring a picnic, two nearby gazebos make great shelters. From U.S. 93 in Challis go west on Main Street. Follow Main Street to Second Street, turn left, and drive 4 blocks to the end of the road. Park and walk to the pond (approximately 60 yards away).
Squaw Creek Pond — This resource near Clayton borders Squaw Creek itself and is stocked with rainbow trout. Take ID 75 about 2.5 miles west of Clayton, then turn north on a bridge that crosses the Salmon River (there are signs). The pond is approximately ¾ mile north on the left (west) side.
Sawtooth Fish Hatchery — It's not heavily promoted, but the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery allows kids to fish for rainbow trout on their stocked pond from Memorial weekend through Labor Day. No Gear? No problem. Inquire within about tackle rental. From Stanley, travel south on ID 75 for approximately five miles. The hatchery is on the right side (west) of the road along the river.