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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hoot Owl

All Idaho fly fishers know that warm, low water is a killer of trout. Actually all fish species adversely react to unnatural habitat conditions. Well, as most of you know, last winter in the west there was great snowfall and boy it was COLD. I know the global warming advocates just loved this. 

We have had a very quick snow melt and high temps and now very warm water. There is a significant drought east ot the divide. Anything above 70 degrees can be lethal to trout if caught and the fight takes too long. Warm water means less oxygen to pass through the gills. So in the west, we now have many waters with "hoot owl restrictions".

Why "hoot" owl? Well it really isn't a "hoot" but a barred owl. Actually barred owls aren't even that common in the west. I really don't know where "hoot" came from other than the fact they "hoot" when you hear them at night. They are nocturnal feeders and that is what we want trout to be when the conditions are the way they are right now.

"Hoot owl restrictions" have been placed on many western Montana rivers. A list can be found at the Montana Fish & Wildlife site. What this does is restrict fishing during the hottest time of the day so survivability of the trout is high if caught. You can fish after 2 pm, but I wouldn't recommend doing so and these restrictions are a good thing. Save a trout for the future generations. This is also why we catch and release and fish barbless.

You can still find cold water. I am taking by kid brother to the Kootenai just below the Libby Dam in September. Any tailwater fishery is usually quite cold and safe to fish all day. Also, the higher elevation streams like the upper St. Joe are still okay. Slower moving and low lying streams though are not good to fish in summer. Soon the days will shorten and cool and these restrictions will be lifted.. Be patient. We all will soon be tromping through snow again to get to the fish.

Tags (Try these when water is warm):
          Kelly Creek, ID
          Kootenai River
          Missouri River  
          St. Joe River
          Bull River, MT

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Stacked Hackle

Somehow, we have failed to discuss the "hackle". Historically, research appears to show that fly tying began around the time of the Civil War in this country - I don't know about Europe, maybe one of our readers does. The feathers and dyes have changed and new techniques have been developed.

Anyway, there are three kinds dry fly hackles of which I am aware. All warrant some discussion and are frequently a matter of personal preference. The earliest type of dry fly hackle was made from, and still is mostly today, rooster saddle feathers. The first one described was the vertical hackle. For a period of about 75 years, this method was almost exclusive. Then, apparently in the early 1930's, the parachute hackle was designed. And believe it or not, this method may have been designed by a non-fly fishing woman. The most recent method is that of a stack hackle; fairly new and I don't know the exact dates.

My personal preference is the latter. I just like the way the fly floats when the hackle is stacked. . My second favorite is the parachute hackle followed by the vertical hackle. Regardless of your personal preference, enjoy your vise and your fly tying. Even the fly tying vise is a fairly new product design. If you have a chance to look at some 100 year old flies, you will be impressed at the skill in tying and the feather dyes. Incredible! A lot of these were actually tied by hand without the use of a vise. After you try this come and fly fish Idaho soon.

Described here is the stacked hackle.

I like 2 grizzly hackles tied in.

Wrap around wings several times,
moving upwards as you go.

Now swing wings forward and secure again.

Add more dubbing if desired.

Finished stacked hackle fly.
Hard takes, bent rods and great fly tying. Come and become and Idaho fly fisher.

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  • Monday, July 17, 2017


    Why I have not written a post regarding Fishpond products is beyond me. In Travel Rods 2014, I did write a paragraph regarding one of their products which I have now owned for quite a while.

    fly fish Idaho; flies fishing; fly fishing; fly fishing equipment; fishing flies; fishing gear; trout flies; salmon flies; fly fishing Idaho; flies for sale; Idaho fly fishing; flyfishing flies; fishing flys
    Fishpond Rod Tote
    "..... I have gone almost exclusively to 4-piece fly rods for the purpose of travel. In a Fishpond travel case I can get three 4-piece rods up to 9 1/2 feet, multiple reels, a rain jacket, leaders and 2 pair of sunglasses and it fits into just about any airplane overhead. Beats getting a rod broken by a baggage handler (the airline will NOT replace for cost) or lost before you reach your destination. I even have a 7-piece 9 foot travel rod with great action which I occasionally throw into my Fishpond as well."

    fly fish Idaho; flies fishing; fly fishing; fly fishing equipment; fishing flies; fishing gear; trout flies; salmon flies; fly fishing Idaho; flies for sale; Idaho fly fishing; flyfishing flies; fishing flys
    Fishpond Duffle w/ Bottom Dry Storage
    Well this Christmas, my lovely wife purchased me a Fishpond gear bag. I must admit, I would have preferred a more muted color, but it is quite functional. My original Fishpond travel rod tote was recommended by an IDFFA and fly fishing friend from Pennsylvania. He was right and it is the best tote I have ever seen for 4 piece rods, reels, etc. I have now had mine 3 years and it is quite durable. It is beginning to fray a little on the handles and corners, but once repaired and it has functionally passed away, I will replace with another.

    I did own a much larger gear bag again with dry storage for wet boots and waders in the bottom such as this, but the bag weighed 35 pounds without any gear. This one from Fishpond is very lightweight (1.9 pounds) and functional. If not overly stuffed, it might also fit in an airplane overhead as does my rod tote. They are perfect for travel. This one also has a fold out mat on which to sit to change your wet gear when exiting your favorite river. Keeps your gear clean, so all one does when returning home is to lay your stuff out to dry.

    fly fish Idaho; flies fishing; fly fishing; fly fishing equipment; fishing flies; fishing gear; trout flies; salmon flies; fly fishing Idaho; flies for sale; Idaho fly fishing; flyfishing flies; fishing flysFishpond has a lot of really cool gear. Check them out at Fishpond Their stuff is a little pricy, but seem durable enough. Once you have all of the basics, ask for a Fishpond piece for each birthday, anniversary and Christmas. You'll have all you need in no time.

    Hard takes, tight lines, sore arms, screaming reels and all the fly fishing gear of which you could ever dream. Let's go Idaho fly fishing!

    fly fish Idaho; flies fishing; fly fishing; fly fishing equipment; fishing flies; fishing gear; trout flies; salmon flies; fly fishing Idaho; flies for sale; Idaho fly fishing; flyfishing flies; fishing flys
    Tags: Big Y Flies
         Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests
         Float Tube Chronicles
         Float Tube Fins
         Fly Line Basics
         Fly Reel Basics
         Fly Rods and Gear
         Fly Rod Basics
    Furled Leaders by Zen

    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Idaho Fly Fishing Doberman

    An old Doberman starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a grizzly bear heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old Doberman thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep shit now!”

    Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching bear. 
    Just as the bear is about to ponce, the old Doberman exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious bear! I wonder, if there are any more around?”

    Hearing this, the young bear halts his attack in mid-stride, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 
    "Whew!," says the bear, "That was close! That old Doberman nearly had me!”

    Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the bear. So, off he goes.
    The squirrel soon catches up with the bear, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself. The young bear is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!”

    Now, the old Doberman sees the bear coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old Doberman says……..

    "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another bear!”

    Moral of this story:
    1-Don't mess with the old dogs... Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!

    2-Bull shit and brilliance only come with age and experience.

    Now pretend the Doberman loves to Idaho fly fish. We ask the squirrel to find Mr. Bear and say, "If you take the Doberman a trout, you can easily eat him while he is distracted eating the trout." So the bear easily catches a trout and off he went. Long and short, off he goes with his freshly caught trout and soon is eaten by the pissed off Doberman. Why? The Doberman believed in "catch n' release" and the griz killed the trout by not using a barbless fly.

    Hard takes to you all.

    Tags:  Little Ones
         Save Belize's Fishing Grounds and Marine Life
         Tailwaters are the Ticket
         Three "C's" of Idaho Fly Fishing
         Wolf Madness

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Inexpensive Fly-fishing Gear

    Interesting article. Items listed here are not necessarily the ones I would purchase, but the premise is correct. You don't have to spend a lot to have a great time on the water. Article from Adventure Journal. Come and fly fish Idaho now. Water is perfect!

    Don’t Be Afraid of Inexpensive Fly-fishing Gear

    A sub-$40 reel can catch just as many trout as a $500 reel.

    By  -

    I’ve been trout fishing for more than a decade but it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve begun taken on the never-ending obsession of fly fishing. Why’d I wait so long? Because I thought fly fishing was insanely expensive (it certainly can be) and a complicated bore to learn. I was already catching plenty of backcountry trout with spinning tackle, why bother to take on a costly new method? Made sense to me.

    Then I borrowed a buddy’s fly rod and reel, miraculously landed a couple trout on my first time out and suddenly I understood. I often have more fun getting skunked while fly fishing than I do actually catching fish with lures. This is a cliche often spouted by longtime fly fishermen, but it’s totally true.

    But even though I was hooked from the get go after trying fly fishing I was still completely intimidated by the cost and complication of entry. To work around that, I borrowed a page from my spincasting playbook—I bought a sturdy but inexpensive reel to go with a hand-me-down rod and boom, I was in business for less than $80, including fly line and a decent selection of flies.

    My inexpensive setup has served me well for the past couple seasons and I couldn’t be happier. It’s landed me Montana trout from the Gallatin, plenty of cutthroat trout in the Sierra, and lots of panfish in Marin County lakes.

    I bought the Okuma Sierra 5/6 reel for about $36, and for the couple years I’ve owned it, I couldn’t be happier. It sports a diecast aluminum frame with a one-way roller bearing and a stainless steel drag system. You can switch quite easily from right to left-handed retrieve in about two minutes. The drag is adjustable, but really you get only “very little drag” or “a whole ton of drag” but really, for a reel of this size, drag isn’t that important. It’s a got a faux-wood grain crank handle which looks pretty cool too. It’s a perfectly simple little reel with very little that can go wrong and I expect it to last many years with no problems.


    For the most part, I use this reel on backcountry trips into the high Sierra. I carry it in a beer coozy and occasionally drop it onto granite, pavement, rivers. The trout I’m usually fishing are small—less than two pounds—so my reel is effectively just acting as a line holder. An expensive drag system is great when you’re trying to land eight-pound brownies, but for skittish stream trout, a bulletproof, reliable reel like the Sierra is ideal.

    Does it feel as good in the hand or as smooth as a $500 reel? I really hope not for the sake of people who spend $500 on reels. I have fished with a few pricey reels and, boy, you sure could adjust the heck out of the drag, I guess. But I didn’t catch many fish with them.

    I’ve also fished with people who were sporting shiny, fancy reels and brand new rods, and waders that cost more than my entire fishing kit combined. But they didn’t land any more fish than me and my sub-$80 setup.

    That’s not a testament to my superb fishing ability—far from it. It’s merely an anecdote to point out that it’s not the cost of the gear that lands the fish. I waited way too long to dip a toe into fly fishing because I was worried about spending too much money. Turns out, cheapskate fly fishing is not only possible, but the best way to start a debilitating lifelong obsession.
    $39 • BUY

    Wanna get into fly fishing on the cheap? Could do worse than these bits of kit.

    Redington makes some pretty compelling fly-fishing gear at great prices. Their Crosswater Combo comes set up with everything you need: reel, rod, and it’s pre-spooled with good line, all for around $115, depending on the size you choose. • BUY

    The reel I borrowed for my first time fly fishing was made by Ross and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since. Their entry-level Eddy reel has a nice big arbor to help reel in line quickly. $75 BUY

    My Okuma Sierra is becoming harder to find, but their SLV model is just as good and just as much a bargain at around $54 • BUY

    Article provided through the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog.

    Tags:  Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests
         Fishpond Gear
         Flies - Low Prices & GREAT Quality
         Float Tube Chronicles
         Float Tube Fins Forward
         Fly Casting Technique Book 



    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Oxymoron of the Day

    Sign north Idaho--Requirement for burn permits established at state level.
    Okay. Rivers are DOWN (at least in northern Idaho--snow melt gone)! Get out there and Idaho fly fish NOW!

    Tags:  BUCKET LIST ( ... of Fly Fishing)
         Bull River - Montana * * * * * * *
         Bull River Montana Means HOGS
         Clark Fork River - Idaho / Montana
         Coeur d'Alene - Idaho's Year Round Fishery
         Coeur d'Alene (North Fork)
         Cutthroat Byway