There is literally one access area after another along the Salmon River in Idaho and some have a unique theme. The majority of the riverside access spots are dedicated to seasonal fishing ventures and some even offer overnight camping. The stretches of sandy beach along the waterway are usually reserved for group river rafting excursions and some of these riverside destinations are equipped for overnighters too. Rafting or kayaking adventures are the main entertainment venue along the Salmon River during the summer season, which can can range from a mild to wild experience, depending on the river conditions.
During spring and early summer, the Salmon River can be deep with powerful currents and the whitewater cascades can be seemingly endless. Needless to say, the whitewater conditions are challenging for both wading anglers and rafters, because the level of danger is dramatically increased. One slip is all it takes to wind up in a perilous situation, so it is best to use good judgment when this powerful river is raging during the mountain snow melt season. By mid summer the water level starts to taper off and the activities along the riverbanks become much safer for an average visitor. Toward late summer, the Salmon River is as peaceful as can be and the whitewater sections are far less intimidating because of the reduced water levels.
Not everybody can choose a perfect calendar date when planning a Salmon River vacation and there actually is an access area that offers a safe carefree experience even when this river is raging with mountain snow melt water. The Long Gulch Access is located along Highway 95 between Riggins Creek and Slate Creek, but this spot is not easy to pinpoint on a map. Keeping an eye out for the Long Gulch signage while cruising the riverside highway is best to do. It will be easy to confirm that you are in the right spot, because there is a large pond in a gulch on the opposite side of the road from the river.
The Long Gulch Pond is the main feature of this access area, which provides calm water fishing conditions no matter how much the neighboring Salmon River is raging. This unique riverside pond was created when the riverbed shifted after a dam was installed near Hells Canyon. The land locked river pond is now maintained as a safe fishing spot for those who have physical challenges, so there is no need to risk life and limb just to fill the creel with dinner. The Long Gulch Pond offers ample parking, basic facilities and there are a few cozy spots for doing an overnighter. A small fishing pier can be found by the roadside parking, which is a nice convenience for a casual outing. This large drainage pond is stocked with Rainbow Trout, so when fishing safety is a high priority, it simply does not get much better than this!
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