Selway Sippers.

Fly Fishing the Selway River


There are over 6 billion people in the world and only 2 of those people launched their boat on the Selway River July 30th, 2009.  At least that is what the nice lady at the Ranger Station told us the morning of July 30th as we picked up our permit to float the Selway River.  Her point was well understood as one could really see how pristine and untouched this 45 mile stretch of the Selway River really is.  They only allow 1 boat per day to float this section.  They then open up this section to the public August 1st every year, but most years that late in the season is virtually impossible to float (unless one kayaks) because the water level is so low.

Last year Yetter and I were able to float it on August 1st with about 100 other people and it was chaotic, but the pitch to my wife was that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  So, when I told her I wanted to float it this year as well, I had to tell her it is a twice in a lifetime opportunity to float this river.  I’ve got to work on my excuses here on out, pending I am able to do it again.

Just a quick recap before put on the pics!

The Selway River is located roughly 50 miles West of Darby Montana (SE Montana) in the Bitteroot Selway Wilderness. From Darby travel south to West Fork Road (HWY 473), then when it forks stay right on Nez Pearce Road (FR 468). You will traverse some rugged country, but after a scenic route you will arrive at the Paradise Campground/Paradise Guard Station where White Cap Creek enters the Selway River.

The River
As I previously mentioned, the Selway River is more widely known for it phenomenal white water rapids that attract thousands annually. It is a float and camp experience like no other. The Selway can be one of the most challenging whitewater rivers in the United States and it’s probably THE toughest for which to get a permit. From Paradise Guard Station to Selway Falls the river drops for 46 miles an average of 28 feet per mile creating a most technical whitewater experience. The many Class IV rapids will challenge any boatman at any level. This river requires a high level of whitewater skill and experience. The number of launches are regulated from May 15 through July 31. Post-season August runs are possible in high-water years.


This year we brought some sinking line to hit those deep holes for bigger trout.  We fished 70% of the time with dries on top of the water.  Renegades, BWOs, Wulf Royale (as we like to call it), and Parachute Adams were the ticket.  We did end up throwing some scandalous streamers and clousers that caught some bigger fish.  Both ways were pretty much non-stop action and a ton of fun.

As you can see from the pics, it was a fantastic trip with unparalleled scenery.

Props to Yetter on the oars (most the time) and props to those brownie bites with whipped cream.  Tasty!


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3 Responses to “Selway Sippers.”

  1. Dr Gillespie Says:

    Nice trip bro! I can’t believe I missed it again…very jealous


  2. chubbsypeterson Says:

    it was unreal Dr. such a pristine untouched river. EPIC!



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