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, July 27, 2012

Does size really matter?

From YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog: Idaho fly fishers sometimes use very small flies with their very long rods. The purpose of course is to.....To the beginner fly fisher though, smallness can be disappointing. (PRECEEDING FLY FISHING TECHNIQUE HERE!)

The fly may be disappointingly small, but the rod she uses.....
Enjoy Idaho fly fishing with a friend very soon. The fish are hopping right now!

          Rod Weights - 101  
          Fly Line Basics

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prince Nymph

The "Prince Nymph" is written and tied by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. I have caught fish from North Carolina to Arkansas to Colorado to Idaho and Montana with this fly. Even know a few locals who swear by this bad boy during most of the year on the St. Joe River, ID. Me, I do use, but restrict to those days when I just don't see any thing hatching and the fishing is slow. Why? Well, like the Royal Wulff, I just cannot figure out what the fly represents in the water. I have read a black caddis, minnow, stonefly and multiple other creatures. I just flat don't know!
Add gold bead head to 10-18 hook and tie in
2 red/brown goose biots.

Tie in 1 strand of gold wire for weight.

Tie in 2 peacock hurls @ bend & wrap hurls forward
(moisten first for ease of wrapping). 

Wrap gold wire forward evenly spaced, secure
& clip off excess wire only (not hurl).

Tie in 2 white goose biots for wings.

Continue wrapping hurl behind bead head.

Now add brown hackle and tie off behind head.
Snip and done. (Some prefer putting
white biots on top of hackle).

Well, anyway, this is the way I like to tie the fly. It can be a very effective Idaho fly fishing nymph. Actually, I like to "dead drift" and then "tight line lift" at the end of a drift. The takes you can get as the fly lifts can rattle your arm.

Good luck. Tight lines! And enjoy Idaho fly fishing today. 'Tis the season right now.

          GREAT Photo Headers!
          ID Fly Fishers Photos

Monday, July 23, 2012

St. Joe (ID) means Cutties

Not many fishermen up high!

"St. Joe (ID) means Cutties" is presented by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. I have lived here for 2 1/2 years and never fished this great river. Reputably the foremost cutthroat trout stream in the country, I had to see for myself.

17" Cutthroat - Sorry, flopped as I took photo.
This river is located in the St. Joe National Forest, which is a U.S. National Forest located in the Idaho panhandle and is one of three forests that are aggregated into the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Its headwaters begin in the mountains bordering Idaho and Montana and flows for over 90 miles though some of the most beautiful forests anywhere. I fished it in July, just after snow melt and spring rains as the water had just begun to fall. The only fish we caught were cutthroat which were numerous, fat and plentiful.

We fished about 35 miles above the town of Avery, ID. The river here is about 50 yards wide and fairly shallow. We caught most of our fish in just 2-3 feet of gin clear water. In the morning, the fish would hit just about anything on top including yellow Crackle-Backs, Male Adams and Royal Wulffs. In the afternoon, we were more successful with size 14-16 Stimulators with yellow bodies and orange or red heads. Most of our many fish were in the 12 inch range, but we landed one of at least 17" and lost another that would probably go 20" or more.

Even though shallow, there are some large submerged rocks and they were very slippery. A wading staff really helped with the wade for flow was strong. My understanding is that once the hoppers begin the actions really picks up. This year they are late due to the long and wet spring. Dave's hopper is a good choice designed on the vise of Dave Whitlock. Others swear by Prince Nymphs. Any way you slice it, this is one of those rivers all Idaho fly fishers and others should definitely fish.

Nice fat female.
Probably the only disadvantage to the St. Joe is its location. Below Avery, the locals say there are mostly "junk" fish particularly in the late summer. I can definitely recommend the stretch above there. There is a good 40 miles of accessible river upstream. Getting there, well can be a chore. There are only two ways in and out. If you go through St. Maries, ID it is an hour and a half up to Avery, then another 27 miles (45 minutes) to the best fishing area. By the way, there is an RV park and cabins in Avery and primitive camping above there (about another 29 miles). In the summer, I believe it is easier to get to the upper portion of the river by going to St. Regis, MT on I-90 and taking the Little Joe Road (ask anyone how to find) over the mountains. 29 miles and about 45 minutes with about 12 miles of good gravel on the Montana side. Turn left when you hit the river road. Remember, you will be in Idaho, so license accordingly.

So go enjoy some great Idaho fly fishing on the St. Joe the next time you are up this way.


Dave's Hopper
Tags:  Furled Leaders by Jamie
           "YSF Stinger" Perfected
           Adams Male

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great looking river from this angle(r) !!!

Presented by YellowStoneFly from the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. See! Idaho fly fishing doesn't have to be boring. Just look at the GREAT trout water!

Come and visit us often and fly fish Idaho soon. Our great waters are waiting for you!


Tags: Great Photo Headers
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Furled leaders

"Furled leaders". An honest product review by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. Occasionally, as a lifelong fly fisher and blog contributor, I am asked to review fly fishing products by new companies. I agree to do so and in return write an honest opinion regarding the product's quality and functionality as a fishing tool. Here I was asked by Jaime of Zen Outfitters to try out their furled leaders and give my honest opinion. So here goes.

The word "furl" means basically:
As a transitive verb - to roll up tightly and make secure, as a flag to a staff or a sail to a spar.
As an intransitive verb - to become curled or rolled up.
As a noun - a roll or coil of something furled.

Furled leaders have been around for a long time and, as with many early fly lines, were originally made from silk or horsehair. These leaders are made from over 90 yards of Uni Brand thread and are ALL handmade. They are very labor intensive to make--thereby the price tag. They are produced in multiple colors which to me has great advantage when fishing very small dry flies in certain light. You may be able to see your take easier if multiple fish are rising. The colors in no way affect the functionality of the leaders nor do they "spook" the fish. Why? You are attaching a long piece of tippet, usually 3-7 feet, to each leader. And the way the leader lays out each cast, your leader should be no where near the fish of subject.

Why pay 2-3 times more for these furled leaders? First and foremost, they are FAR superior to monofilament leaders. There is absolutely no memory when reeled onto your reel. They are far more supple than mono and they lay out the fly where even, in my opinion, the novice will get far more distance with each cast. Zen's leaders have a loop on the butt end making for an easy line attachment. Of significant advantage is the nickel alloy tippet rings on the small end for ease of tippet attachment. This is what really sets the good furled leaders apart. To me, the 78" 5 weight leader is perfect for the dries I like to fish on most of my 9 foot, 5 weight rods. You simply will not believe the potential difference you will experience in you casting. Mending is simple, wind knots are almost unheard of and they float perfectly. I do believe these leaders will last for many seasons with proper care. Find a mono leader that will last you even a full season (without getting a "terminal wind knot"). Thereby, I can easily say your extra cost is justified.

I simply cannot say enough about the Zen Outfitters handmade leaders. Kudos to Jaime. I will soon be trying his sink product and can't wait to try out the different colors of Zen Ultra Iridescent floatants. PS-Zen Outfitters is located in southern Idaho so they got to be good guys!

Happy Idaho Fly Fishing,


Tags: Hopper/Hopper - Tamdem Secrets
          Most Economical Floatant
          Slow Dries? Try Clipping!

Male Adams

The Adams Male mayfly is a great year round (particularly spring) pattern. This pattern is presented and tied by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. I have caught fish all over this country with this fly. When you see a hatch occuring, you can catch a bunch in a short time with the right color and approximate size fly. Do not discount other flies which also represent mayflies like the blue-winged olive (BWO) and is a very similar fly with just a different color dubbing for the body. This is a mayfly:
And this is one of my best friends "Cooper John"

Prince Cooper John - Named kinda
after the Copper John fly.
The reason Cooper is pictured here is simple. He provides to me, in the spring, his grey undercoat. This I transfer from my floor to my tying table and then onto thread. This undercoat, which is now called dubbing, becomes my Adams fly's body as pictured below. This is another fairly simple fly to tie once you get the nack of the parachute hackle. I do like white or yellow foam now for wings. It is highly visible and very easy to tie into your fly.

Tie in pheasant tail (few strands) for tail with grey or
brown thread.

Now spin dubbing onto thread and advance 2/3
way toward eye.

Tie in foam wings using thin strip folded in half.

Add grizzly hackle and turn around wings.

Add more "Cooper" grey dubbing last 1/3 of
way to eye.

Trim your wings w/ slight taper up toward tail.
Now tie off and finish head. Done!

Sir Bosley Winston Churchill                 Queen Sheba Lou
Your fly is now done. Go and do some Idaho fly fishing and catch some trout. The best sizes are anywhere from #14 to #20. Pay attention to your surroundings and see what size is hatching around you. This time of year you will see numerous hatches of varying sizes throughout the day. As soon as you see "rises", tie one on and have a great time. This article would not be complete without a look at the rest of my furry family. Pictured here is our 5 year old Pomeranean "Sir Bosley Winston Churchill" and our 11 year old Sheltie "Queen Sheba Lou". Bosley does produce some light brown dubbing, Sheba not much of anything.

So come and fly fish Idaho and try out one of our great hatches. Lower water here should make for some very good fishing here now. Don't forget that the stoneflies are hatching and the hoppers will be here at any time. The unsinkable YSF Stinger is a great imitation for both.

Tight lines and happy Idaho fly fishing.


PS-If any of you are interested, I might be willing to teach a fly tying class sometime this fall.
          Fly Reel Basics
          Fly Rod Basics

Monday, July 9, 2012

1 Wooly Bugger for 2 Shots of JD

"A Jack Daniels Fishing Story" is posted by the YellowStoneFly ftom the Idaho Fly Fishers blog. It was a gift from one of my email buddies listed below. He knew JD was my flavor of choice.

"I went fishing this morning, but after a short time I ran out of worms. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth. "Frogs are good bass bait," I thought to myself.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth, I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket. Just then, I realized I had a problem: how was I going to release the snake without getting bit? So, I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth. The snake's eyes rolled back and he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge at my foot. There was that same snake with two more frogs in its mouth. Life is good in the South." I would have given him two shots for one nice big wooly bugger.

My thanks to my friend Tom for this tall, southern tale and his southern charm. Why don't you get out of that Florida heat and I'll take you Idaho fly fishing in our nice cool summertime weather.

The following is not a tall tale. My brother and I were once fishing near Columbus, Georgia and had caught a whole stringer of bluegill. You should have seen his expression when he grabbed the stringer to take home to our mom and found a large cottonmouth attached to the bottom fish. The point is; there are other creatures than humans that like sushi. So, be careful.

Remember drink responsibly and don't ever drive drunk!

Come fly fish northern Idaho and I guarantee you there will be no poisonous snakes with which you have to deal. Come to think of it, fly fishing in northern Idaho also has the advantage of fewer mosquito bites as well. Now there are bear, moose, mountain lion and other critters occasionally, but you only have to be able to run fast. 

The Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com)

         Bull River Hogs
         Clark Fork River - ID, MT