Idaho Fly Fishers Blog

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About Me

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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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Saturday, February 26, 2011

IDFFA-Idaho Fly Fishers Association-Join Today!

"Idaho Fly Fishers Association - I's FREE!" was written by contributing editor YellowStoneFly at the Idaho Fly Fishers blog. Few people realize that Idaho has the largest area of wilderness in the lower 48 states. With that fact comes the knowledge that there is a great fishery here that few have had the opportunity to explore. Sure everyone in the US that fly fishes knows about MontanaColorado and Wyoming, but few have experienced Idaho. Fly fishing in southern Idaho is publicized, but the remainder of the state sees little fly fishing pressure. With rivers like the Kootenai, Clark ForkCoeur d' Alene, Snake, Salmon, St. Joe, St. Maries, Spokane and the Clearwater fishermen can spend almost a lifetime and never fish all of the good holes. Idaho fly fishing, I believe, will soon surpass all the other US destinations.  

I am new to Idaho, and like any fly fisher who has ever relocated, long for fellow fly fishing enthusiasts with whom to spend a day or two on the water. I have developed this site with the hope of finding fellow fly fishers who might show me the ropes on their local waters and learn how to fish mine as well. I would like to develop a list of persons with whom I (and "we" the other members) can go fishing. Realize though, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN IDAHO RESIDENT TO JOIN, you only have to have a desire to fish here in our incredibly beautiful state. I will try to keep my fellow Idaho fly fishing friends appraised of local and statewide fishing conditions, little known places that hold fish and the latest in fly fishing techniques and innovations as well as suggested flies to use at specific times. Please come back often to see what we have to offer and make suggestions that might make our site more pleasurable and informative.

My contact email is: IdahoAngler@live.com. Please send me a note and I will add you to our list of persons seeking Idaho fly fishing companions. For Idaho fly fishing regulations go to the Idaho Fish and Game website and get complete details. Another site which I personally find useful is the USGS (US Geological Survey) website. The later is not very user friendly, but is a very good resource. PS-If you have items to place in our new IDFFA Swap Shoppe (Opening SOON!) drop us an email and we will add them to our list. Please remember, this is a swap shoppe and is not designed for sale items. We all have fishing "stuff" accumulated over the years which we no longer use. Get rid of it today and replace with more functional items. Give us an idea as to what you want in exchange for each item and see if "one mans junk (really is) another man's treasure." Photos will be helpful. Obviously, you need to try and keep values comparable. You have nothing to lose. This is a free IDFFA service. 

Good fishing.

Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com) 
IDFFA member's brown

          Idaho Fly Fishers.com
           IDFFA Swap Shoppe

YellowStoneFly.com - All the major rivers in Yellowstone!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Big Wood River, Idaho

"The Big Wood River, Idaho" posted by YellowStoneFly from the Idaho Fly Fishers blog. Remember, fly fishing Idaho should be a “bucket list” deal for any US fly fisher. This river is no exception. The Big Wood's headwaters are found just west of Galena Peak which is over 11,000 feet high. From its source in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Big Wood River flows 60 miles due south, between the Boulder Mountains to the north, Pioneer Mountains to the east, and the Smoky Mountains to the west. Almost its entire length is traversed by Route 75. Access along the highway is easy providing many places to pull off and fish. Below Magic reservoir is a tail-water section that also produces some quality fishing. All fishing is done by wading here. No floats, but some quality guides are located in Ketchum and Haley who will be delighted to show you some great holes. Below Magic Reservoir, where the tail-water produces some quality fish, the Big Wood River enters Lincoln County, passing by many lava beds and irrigation canals before entering Gooding County. Just west of Gooding, the Big Wood River joins the Little Wood River to form the Malad River and eventually flows into Idaho’s famous Snake River.
Big Horn River, Montana fly fishing information HERE!
From its headwaters to the confluence of the North Fork of the Big Wood, it is a tumbling rocky stream. The North Fork flows in approximately ten miles north of Ketchum and Sun Valley. From this junction the river gains volume, the pitch decreases and it begins to slow down to flow over a classic freestone river bed. Nice deep pools, riffles, and runs are to be found throughout its entire length. The most popular stretch of the Big Wood is from the junction of the North Fork down to Bellevue which is approximately twenty five miles. Rainbows are the most populated trout in this area, but some nice browns can be had below Bellevue. Make sure you check all the Special Regulations however before going out on this river, for there are a few.
Big Wood Rainbow
The Big Wood appeals to anglers of all abilities, and is a perfect place to polish your fly fishing skills with the help and instruction of a local guide if you choose. Nymphs and streamers also fish effectively throughout the season (see “Western Fly Hatch Chart”). They can be exceptional during the end of run-off when water levels are still a little high and off-color. A sink tip line will sometimes be necessary to keep your streamers down depending on flows. Hatches are prolific with Stoneflies, mayflies and evening caddis. Rainbows are caught in all sizes varying from 10 to 20 inches and it’s not uncommon to hook 15 to 20 trout on a good hatch day. The Big Wood is affected by the winters snowpack and runoff, but usually drops to a wadeable level by mid-to-late June. Once the river clears, the fishing is really good with Western Green Drakes and Yellow Stonefly hatches particularly in the late evening. Mayfly hatches remain steady all through the summer and autumn months of October and November. Try combining the Big Wood River and Silver Creek (subject of another posting) for a single day trip since they are within a 15 minute drive of one another.
Bull River Montana Brown
To not fly fish Idaho and the Big Wood is an unforgivable fly fishing sin. But remember, Idaho fly fishing is not only about the beautiful rivers in the southern part of the state, but also about all the world class rivers in the middle (Salmon, Snake, etc.) and the north (Kootenai, Bull River in Montana, Clark Fork, etc.) as well. Idaho is a very long and narrow state. Happy fly fishing! 

Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com)


              The Bull River, Montana 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A "Perfect" Fly

There is no such thing as a "perfect" fly. Almost all companies dealing in the sale of flies will tell you that their customers decide on the purchase of flies based on their appearance. The more visually appealing and "clean" looking a fly is the more apt the consumer is to purchase it. If you have fly fished for a number of years, you will now see what are known as "spent" flies being sold. These flies have aberrations which make them float differently and look unlike conventional flies. They are supposed to look DEAD. Just look into the water when a prolific hatch is occurring and you will see a multitude of flies of contorted shapes floating around. These are "spent" flies which have just a much protein as their living counterparts and are much easier pickings for the trout.

Living in the northwest, winters are not very conducive to fly fishing, so I pass a lot of my time tying flies. Some flies I tie well and some not so well. But you know what; even my ugly flies will catch fish. Sometimes they don't even float correctly, but they still work. As long as they are the correct size and color they'll work. Point being, if you can tie a half-hitch, you can tie flies. The initial investment is small and you can save a bundle. A few hooks, yarn, thread, feathers, some head cement and an inexpensive vise is all you need to start.


Cascade Crest Tying Kit
The following are a few suggestions for the starter fly tier. Go with an inexpensive, basic fly tying kit like the Cascade Crest. This kit has basically everything you need to get started depending on the specific flies you want to begin tying. Most of the basic feathers are included and usually delivery is quick. Here is a recent customer review: "I didn't buy this product for myself I purchased it as a gift for my brother who LOVES it. It gave me the most (very complete kit) for the money and arrived 3 days after I ordered it." As you progress, visit your local fly shop and add different feathers, thread colors and yarns.


 

Now the important part of this discussion. Get yourself a really good basic fly tying book like "Fly Tying for Beginners" and learn the basics. The internet is full of tying instructions if you like, but a basic book is always a good idea. Start with easy flies like San Juan worms and scud patterns. These are really easy patterns to tie and are very effective in most rivers and streams. Realize colors and sizes may vary, so go to your local fly shop and check out what they are selling. Once you get simple patterns like these down, you can easily advance to the more complicated flies with parachute hackles and wings. Each time you tie a particular pattern, you will get faster and faster so don't give up. I promise you, if your fly doesn't look exactly like the one in the fly shop, it will still work. There is no greater thrill in this sport than catching your first fish on a fly you tied with the fly rod you built (discussion coming later on this blog).

Spring is just around the corner bringing long runs, deep pools and great fly fishing possibilities. What better way to begin the season than with a box full of flies you tied yourself. Try it and you will obtain great personal satisfaction and have some great stories to tell. Happy fishing and don't forget, Idaho fly fishing is the best!


Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com)