Big "Y" Flies

Big "Y" Flies
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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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Here is the scoop. We will also be going on some shorter side trips this summer as well. They will be posted here. If you live in Montana, Idaho or Washington state, you may want to contact IdahoAngler@live.com for details. You'll meet some really great fellow fishers!
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Fly Rod Basics

"Fly Rod Basics" written and posted by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. Some time back we posted a sister discussion to this subject--Fly Reel Basics. To some extent, the same is true for fly rods as for fly reels. You can't fly fish Idaho properly without a good rod, but expensive is not always better. Now I will say that the most important of your fly gear is your rod, but you don't necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars for a descent fly rod. Personally, I do have some very expensive rods. Most of them I have dressed out after buying the blanks. So my $600 rod probably only cost me $350 plus the time I invested in finishing the rod.

If you do opt to build yourself, look for year end or "to be discontinued" blanks. There are two reasons to do this: first, they are cheaper and second, the manufacturer will still warrent the blank for many years to come just in case you accidentally break a tip. A really good place to look for deals on this type of blank is MRFC (Madison River Fishing Company) out of Ennis, MT. Once you click on their homepage, go to products then the clearance items section. PS-They also have usually some good deals here on high end, finished rods if you don't want to build your own.

You can never go wrong with a Sage, Thomas & Thomas or Orvis rod, but they are expensive. If I was just starting out though, I would go with the less expensive St. Croix or perhaps an RL Winston. These are "middle of the road rods" and of these two, should you pick Winston go with one weight lighter than you would like to buy for they seem to me a bit heavier and thicker per weight class than other rods. That is buy a 4 wt. rather than a 5 wt. Now if you are new to fly fishing, please read on for there are even other options.

The least expensive rods I would suggest would be Bass Pro or perhaps even Cabelas. Make sure you are picking a rod for your particular purpose, like bass fishing or trout, for there are differences. Rod and real combinations can be the ticket, but I would be cautious of Cabelas's cheaper fly reels. Do make sure the handle is cork and the reel seat should not be plastic. One last point, the stripping guide (lower most and closest to the handle) through which the fly line passes, should be at least 10mm in diameter. 8 mm will do, but definitely not any smaller.

We will cover other rod basics later, but these will get you started. Idaho fly fishing is a great time, but make sure you do your research and gear up properly.


Tags: Fly Reel Basics
          A "Perfect" Fly
YSF Stinger
          YSF Stinger

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ice Fly Fishing?

Lake Cocolalla, Idaho

"Ice Fly Fishing?" is written by YellowStoneFly for the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog and if anyone knows how exactly to do this, please comment. I know absolutely nothing about this rapidly growing activity, but each year as I pass this particular spot on Lake Cocolalla north of Coeur d'Alene Idaho, I see more and more people wetting hooks. Rumor is they are fishing primarily for walleye and yellow perch (aka racoon perch). Bait consists of jigs, minnows and combos of the above. Don't know how much catch-n-release fishing is done. I believe most of the catch is designed for the dinner table.

Good ice fishing areas sometimes look like campgrounds in the summer. I have seen some really cool tents for sale for this purpose with utility sleds designed to haul augers and other gear and with built-in seats. These sleds look like small boats. I guess if the ice breaks they can be used to save your a--. The tents are wind proof and appear to be quite warm and cozy inside. Would be a great place to socialize and have a little Jack Daniels while telling fishing lies.

As far as "Ice Fly Fishing?" is concerned, I suppose one could design a weighted streamer and using a sink tip line dropped it into the augered hole in the ice and maybe catch a fish. At least it would take very little casting skills. You would however have to stand outside your ice hut unless you made a really short fly rod. Might just try it sometime.

Well until I design said fly and build that really short fly rod, I guess I'll just wait for spring and the Idaho fly fishing I know and love. This time of year really makes me yearn for those warm days and nights when the cutties and bows start to sip midges in the surface film. The slamming takes of a 5 pounder on a 6x tippet really gets the heart pumping.

Come fly fish Idaho with us soon, but in the meantime, if you have any suggestions about the topic discussed above, simply post your comments or email suggestions to us and we will post for you.


Tags: Westslope Cutthroat
Look warm, don't they?
          Foam Terrestrial
          Bull River Hogs

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Worth Sharing

YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog would lke to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas! This is definitely worth a look! We should never forget what our soldiers do for this country!

Arlington National Cemetery

Merry Christmas to all!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Cool Places

YellowStoneFly posts "Cool Places" from time to time to remind you that there may be more to life than fly fishing Idaho or reading the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog--not more, but maybe equal. The world is full of really beautiful places.

Sun Valley, ID golf course.

Cashiers, NC golf course.

Bavarian countryside.

Fusion Germany castle.

Come and fly fish Idaho next spring. You will not regret it.

          Jack Daniels Fishing Story
          Aruba, Jamaica, ooh .....                                                                 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Perfect Gift

A Perfect Gift” and “Longer Fly Casting” is a thought for you or that special fly fishing person in your life from YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. With Christmas only one week away, what will you get that special fisher person in your life for the holiday that they will cherish forever? I don’t usually do this, but this is a book review of what I believe to be one of the very best basic fly casting books ever written (circa 1991).

Lefty Kreh began fly fishing in 1947 and has mentored many since that time. This beginner to advanced paperback can be purchased at Amazon.com as a used book for as little as $0.36 and new for only $3.48. And the newest edition (circa 2007) sells for only $10.51 new and $8.46 used. This is truly a great tutorial which got me over my “short cast” hump after a twelve year lay-off from fly fishing during college, graduate school and my post-graduate training.

This excellent book takes one through the basics of fly casting first. Then you are taught how to do single, double and water hauls to increase distance. It also discusses basics such as cleaning your line and guide sizes as well as other maneuvers to increase casting distance. If you practice everything discussed here, I guarantee you more distance than you ever dreamed possible.

"Longer Fly Casting" would make a wonderful gift any time. Whether it be for Christmas, Father’s or Mother’s Day, birthday, anniversary or just because - the Idaho fly fisher in your life really needs this guide. Be thoughtful, give the gift of distance fly casting. He/she will love it.

Happy Idaho fly fishing,
          Fly Reel Basics
          Bull River Hogs - MT

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Epoxy Streamer

"Epoxy Streamer" was designed and tied by YellowStoneFly from the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. This fly is a byproduct of the YSF Forever Strike Indicator and its braided wire shield. We have also shown our Salmon Slayer, which uses the aluminum tape shield, and eventually we'll see the indicator's rubber outer jacket and central copper wire used in other patterns as well.

The epoxy streamer shown here is a must for Idaho fly fishing for trout, salmon and steelhead. It is a very easy tie and almost indestructible. Its casts easily and the action is life-like. I would suggest your tying this pattern on a 1-0 hook or larger. Use your imagination for colors that will fish most successfully on your local waters. Next to the color shown here, I persoanlly have been very successful with it tied in olive green.

Wrap red thread tightly onto shank.
Add strung marabou as tail.
Tie braided wire shield onto shank at bend and secure.
Secure wire shield behind eye and form
body shape as desired.
Apply 5 minute epoxy onto fly liberally. Fill entire body. 
Now crop marabou tail to desired length.
Now you have one great Idaho fly fishing streamer. Come fly fish Idaho as soon as possible. Remember, Idaho has more wilderness than any of the lower 48. If you really have the desire to fly fish here, let me know and I'll take you fly fishing.

See "BH Zebra Nymph"
          Moyie River - Idaho
          Bull River Hogs

Sunday, December 11, 2011

YSF Salmon Slayer (Red)

"YSF Salmon Slayer (Red)" was designed by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. While fly fishing for salmon in Kodiac Alaska in 2002, I decided to try my hand at a few salmon fly designs. Basically, hungry migrating salmon will eat almost anything that is bright and shiny including red hooks with nothing on them. This pattern I found to be more effective than most and uses the aluminum tape shield biproduct from the YSF Forever Strike Indicator. In that post, I mentioned never tossing anything that could be used as a fly tying material.

Here the body base is made from some old chenille I had in my box which I had found not to be very durable in the past. But since it is covered by the aluminum tape, it works perfectly. You can also use dubbing for the body undercoat if you wish. I add ultra-micro chenille as ribs because it gives to the fly a little "wobble" in the water while stripping which adds to the "alive" action of the streamer. You can actually use this trick over other materials as well such as mylar piping and tinsel as well. Tie up a couple of YSF Salmon Slayers for some great Idaho fly fishing.

Tail is red dyed white-tail hair.
The hook is a 1-0 and the underwrap red thread.

Tie in the ultra-micro chenille (red) first,
then add the body undercoating full length.

Add the aluminum tape around body undercoat, then
wrap the ultra-micro chenille tightly to eye.

Add red dyed white-tail hair as wing, whip head,
a few half hitches, head cement and you're done! 

This is a great salmon, steelhead fly with a lot of action for fast, hard takes. It is also very durable and it will provide multiple fish before biting the dust.

If you have personal fly patterns which you would like to share with our readers, please let us know. You can either do a free post here or I will do for you. Contact me YellowStoneFly any time. Have a great time fly fishing Idaho. Let us know what you catch. PS-The YSF Salmon Slayer can be tied in multiple colors and makes a great wintertime streamer.

          ID Fly Fishers Photos
Alaskan Humpy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor - 10:48 am PST December 7, 1941

"Pearl Harbor" is posted by "YellowStoneFly" of the "Idaho Fly Fishers Blog" today, Pearl Harbor Day. 70 years ago today, these photos were apparently taken by a GI in Honolulu on that fateful day. Supposedly they were found in an old foot locker in a "Brownie" camera. Amazing! The photographer is unknown or I would gladly give him/her the proper credit. Click on them and enlarge for effect. In the second photo, you can actually see a Japanese fighter plane as it attacks. 

The figures vary significantly, but one source claims the US military deaths during WWII were 416,800. About 600,000 of our soldiers were wounded in action as well. These men and women fought for our freedom. We should never lose sight of their sacrifices under any circumstances--military or political. Socialism is not the way. Just look at what happened to the USSR and now to many European countries. They are being destroyed from within due to their socialistic "big governments". 

Fly fish Idaho soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

YSF Forever Strike Indicator

YSF Forever Strike Indicator
"YSF Strike Indicator" as illustrated by "YellowStoneFly" for the "Idaho Fly Fishers Blog" was not an original design by YSF. It was discussed some years ago in a fly fishing magazine which I probably read on a trip while flying somewhere. I am therefore very sorry that I cannot give credit to the original designer, but I can tell you I have used them extensively over the years and have found that they indeed do last forever as long as your leader does not break above the indicator--which would be very rare.

Click to enlarge to see the anatomy of coaxial cable.
I have, however, discovered multiple other Idaho fly fishing uses for the remaining parts of the coaxial cable which you may find interesting. "Waste not, want not" (1772 Wesley Letter 10 Aug.) means that if you don't waste things, you are less likely to end up lacking in the catching of fish. One of the fun aspects of fly fishing Idaho and other places is that you can find multiple uses for things that you used to throw away; like my dog's undercoat which falls onto the carpet this time of year and makes great dubbing for flies. Use your imagination! I will describe the uses I have found for the various parts of the coaxial cable in later blog posts. So check back to our blog post retrieval page often--better yet save it under your favorites or bookmark for quick reference or sign up as a follower of our blog or to have post emailed directly to you as they are posted (leave your email address in the box directly below the revolving globe in the right hand column). Here goes. Take note.

Cut a piece of cable 1 1/2" in length.

Slit rubber outer jacket lengthwise taking care
not to cut deeper structures.

Begin removing layers.

To remove aluminum tape shield, slit superficailly
with knife and peel back (avoid cutting
deeply). Do not cut into foam core!

To remove copper wire, push in with needle nose pliers on
one end and pull out the other. All 5 layers pictured here
can be used for fly fishing projects (to be discussed
in future blog posts).

Cut a toothpick 3/4" in length.

Place leader (at desired fly depth) through indicator and
insert toothpick TOWARD THE FLY.

Your "YSF Forever Strike Indicator" is now ready for use. It will last forever and you can easily change the depth of your nymph simply by removing the toothpick and sliding the indicator. The only drawback to this indicator is that if you are fly fishing Idaho with a really heavy fly, the indicator will sink. But that is the case with any indicator. THIS IS THE BEST CASTING INDICATOR I HAVE EVER USED--IT CUTS RIGHT THROUGH THE WIND. It is still highly visible below the surface though. For future blog posts, use the rubber outer jacket for stonefly or salmon fly wings, the braided wire for really cool epoxy streamers, the aluminum tape shield for tinsel shank bodies on salmon flies (shiny side out), and the copper wire core for weighting large streamers like the wooly bugger. The foam core is the ticket for nymph fly fishing in Idaho and success. 

Come fly fish Idaho soon. Try some of the suggestions given above for the coaxial cable / Idaho fly fishing connection. We'll see you fly fishing the Bull or Moyie this spring.


Royal Wulff
Tags: The Royal Wulff
          "Fly Fishing Made Easy"
          Telwa Stonefly