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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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Friday, July 8, 2011

Snake River - ID / WA / WY

YSF Stinger - Foam Terresterial
The "Snake River" as seen and fished by YellowStoneFly from the Idaho Fly Fishers blog. It is fly fishing time in the west. Rivers are beginning to receed after our hugh snow melt from this past winter. Very few of you looking to go west (or north) will not look at a potential trip to the Snake. Belonging on the "bucket list" of most fly fishers, this is indeed a premier, pristine river. I fished it a few years back in late July and early August.

This mighty river flows out of the Teton Mountains south through Jackson Hole, WY and then swings around the south of Idaho then north again forming part of the western Idaho state line. It leaves Idaho at Lewiston and Clarkston, WA (ie.Lewis & Clark) just after the Clearwater River dumps into it. Along the way, many great cold water rivers join in the fun like the Henrys Fork, Payette, Big Wood and the Salmon. Once it leaves Idaho and enters Washington it flows due west and dumps into the Columbia on its way to the Pacific. The map below, compliments of Wikipedia shows the river's full course.


I began my float below Jackson Hole about 10 miles and floated another 15 or so. There are many great guide services there which are reasonably priced for the west, however I must warn you accomodations, food and entertainment are not. Jackson Hole is at about 6,200 feet elevation and my guide says that he only sees 30 frost free days per year at his home south of town. Cannot verify this, but it is quite chilly there even on summer mornings, so dress appropriately. Layer your clothing for the daytime highs will approach 80. Jackson Hole really is a cool town though. Elk horn shed arches form the corners of town square. These were harvested from the thousands that winter north of town in order to get out of the hugh snows of Yellowstone.

Big Horn, MT brown trout
Have not fished other portions of the Snake, but fully intend on so doing. I hear the salmon and steelhead fishing is great at times near the Clearwater/Snake confluence. I do know that parts of the river become quite warm in the dead of summer so prepare for "junk" fish in the south of Idaho but this includes some supposed good smallies. See, Idaho fly fishing can consist of the other types of fish too.

Bull River, MT cutthroat
When I fished the Snake, the hoppers were prolific. Caught many a cutthroat but they were only in the 12-16 inch range. Good fighters though. Guides there say that cutthroat are the predominant fish in the water with an occasional rainbow thrown in for added color. Nothing though like the cutties I have been catching on the Bull River in Montana nor the Browns you will experience on the Big Horn. So if I had my druthers, I would definitely fish these two rivers before the Snake, particularly if you have not yet experienced them. PS-Guides cost the same, but everything else is cheaper. Email me for a list of Bull River guides. There are only a couple that float there.

Have a great summer and come soon to fly fish Idaho.

The Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com)

Tags: Clark Fork River - ID / MT
           Moyie River, ID
           Jack Daniels Fishing Story

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