Big "Y" Flies

Big "Y" Flies
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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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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, June 28, 2013

The Cab Ride

The Cab Ride 
             I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It's nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.”
“Oh, you're such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It's not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don't mind,” she said. “I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don't have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice. “The doctor says I don't have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I'm tired. Let's go now.”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” She asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers,” I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life…..
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. 


You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on and reminding us that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us.

Thank you, my friend...

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we are here we might as well dance,
and fly fish Idaho very, very soon.
Hard takes, tight lines and KINDNESS TO ALL! 


Only one tag seems appropriate here:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spar Lake, MT

From Sandpoint Idaho, go east on Hwy 200 thirty-three miles to the Montana state line. Continue another 10 miles then turn left (north) onto Montana Hwy 56. Up 24.5 miles past the Bull River and then past the Bull Lake watch for the Troy Asarco Mine Road on your left (west). Turn there and go approximately 3.5 miles and you will merge onto Lake Creek Road. Beware the road is gravel and narrows considerably. Follow approximately 4-5 miles and the signs to the lake. The big Spar Lake is one of the most beautiful you can easily access in the west. No HIKING! Be careful on the way out, the road to the Asarco Mine is easy to miss and you will end up just outside of Troy, MT.  
Once you are at the end of the road, turn down toward the lake and you will find a very nice, primitive campground with very large clean sites (large enough for a motorhome) and a boat ramp from which you can easily launch any type of vessel. My personal favorite is fishing the shoreline in a float tube (like the guy pictured here) or pontoon boat, however I have seen larger boats with small motors trolling in the middle for lake trout. PS-there is a modest (honor) day use fee which I believe is $8. 
Small "feeder" entering lake.

The lake itself is about 200-300 acres and is quite deep. It is teaming with nice size cutthroat trout which will gladly take just about any fly in your box. Would suggest a dry though for sure in early morning and late evening. Remember to catch and release and have a great time. Definitely worth the trip.
Tags: Bull River Hogs - Montana * *
          Bull River Montana Alps
          Green River Utah

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph

The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph. Great fly for just about any water!

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph tied by YellowStoneFly for the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog. Another great fly for fly fishing Idaho, this pattern represents a wide range of aquatic insects but primarily emerging mayflies or caddis flies. It is a fairly easy fly to tie using the right materials. You will see variations from fly shop to fly shop, but they tend to only vary slightly. More info, read on.

Tie in multiple strands of pheasant tail.

Add a gold wire to back half of shank as shown.

Add hare's ear dubbing to shank, then wrap wire
forward, secure and snip excess wire only.

Add more hare's ear dubbing for thorax as shown.

Swing pheasant tail over thorax for wing, secure,
snip off excess and glue head.

Tie off. Then tease dubbing under thorax for legs. Done!
Not a trout, but caught on a fly!

I prefer sizes 12-18 with my most hook-up success on about size 14. I suspect that is probably because the caddis pupa I see in western streams are quite large. True story! I was fishing with a guide on the middle portion of the Colorado River north of Dillon once, when I saw a really nice riffle off the main river. Reminded me of the small streams I used to fish in western North Carolina. After stripping, at his insistence, Wolly Buggers all morning, my arm was tired. Put on a little weight and a Hare's Ear and slayed over twenty really nice rainbow in a hour. We then had lunch and proceeded down the river again stripping Wolly B's again at his insistence. His only comment to me at lunch was, "Gee, I never seen anyone throw nymphs on the Colorado before!" Made me wonder if he knew how to fish anything other than streamers.
Alaskan Humpy

Enough rambling. Come fly fish Idaho and try out this remarkable fly. I have personally had success with this pattern from Georgia to Virginia to New Hampshire to Tennessee to Arkansas & Missouri to Idaho and Montana. Quite a range!

This is the Idaho fly fishing blog. Come back soon.


Tags: Multiple Fly Fishing Articles Here
          Idaho Fly Fishers Assoc. (IDFFA.com)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights
This is a must read: Just one of the things for which our servicemen have fought and died.

For all those Idaho fly fishers never having the opportunity to read or study the US Bill of Rights:

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III                                                                                                                                     No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Hard takes, tight lines and huge fish to you all. Brought to you by YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog.


Tags: God, Guns & Guts
           God's Final Inspection
           Memorial Day
           Worth Sharing

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

St. Regis River - Montana

Dear YellowStoneFly, 

After morning meeting with all afternoon to myself  (my better half was at work) I drove over to St.Regis, MT. With every intention of fishing the Clark Fork (quite stained and running hard), I decided instead on the St. Regis River.  I found myself on the St. Regis River, an old dirty and dusty gravel road about 7 Miles west of St. Regis which parallels I-90. This river, which I am sure you know, flows right next to I-90 beginning just below Lookout Pass down to where it dumps into the Clark Fork River in St. Regis, MT.

High water made river access tough. With a 33 foot long roll cast from shore,  I was able present a fluffy caddis to a waiting brown …a couple of tail walks and head shakes later I was just lucky enough to land a beautiful brown trout. (Photo Attached). Hole after fishing hole and couple of fish later I made my way closer to home.

I have a great nymph rig set up, the fish were really hot for it. I had to fight off the whitefish though in order to find the trout. I strongly suggest all eager Idaho FlyFishers watch the flows on the St. Regis River and any afternoon you have it to yourself, hit the upper stretches with your favorite wet fly and enjoy all the flora and fauna Montana has to offer!    

Tight Lines, 

Randy Dingman

Randy's contact information is:
Work at ROW Adventures
Personal email
Cell Phone: 208-755-4403
PS-The huge cutthroat (Photo Attached) was caught by a client last week ...cool photo for your blog.
Address comments to:
Tags: Clark Fork River - ID / MT
          Flathead River System - MT
          Kootenai River - ID / MT
          Missouri River - MT

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Hot Wing


"Hot Wings" designed and written by YellowStoneFly at Idaho Fly Fishers  blog. Here's a little trick. You can buy rather expensive materials for the wings of your terrestrial flies, but consider this. Go to any sewing shop or craft store. Then go to the lace section. You can buy a yard of 1" lace tape for next to nothing which will last you all season. Assorted colors are available. While you are out, go to your favorite hardware or building supply store and pick up a tube of clear bathroom silicone that you would use to seal grout and repair tile leaks. Once home, throughly coat your lace tape with the silicone. It is a little messy, but well worth the effort. Let dry; which usually takes several hours and I let sit overnight.

Now cut to any size and shape you like for your wings. It is almost indestructable and is very easy to cut and manage when tying onto your fly. Besides, it floats like a champ. It has a mottled look and makes very realistic appearing wings.

Fly fishing Idaho would not exist without our exciting stoneflies and hoppers which are prolific in the spring, summer and even into the fall. Either remember this little secret or I will refer back to this technique as we look into tying some of these patterns.

Hard takes, tight lines, huge fish and happy Idaho fly fishing to everyone,

Kootenai River, ID
Tags: Bull River Hogs
          Moyie River, Idaho
          Big Wood River, Idaho 
          Western Fly Hatches

Friday, June 7, 2013

The YSF Stinger

It's that time of year in the NW for stoneflies. Try this pattern out and see what you think. Also improve your techniques with: YSF Stinger Perfected. Also, see how to make the perfect, forever floating large fly wing at "Hot Wings".

The simple "YSF Stinger" is written and tied by YellowStoneFly for the Idaho Fly Fishers blog. The fly was designed because most hoppers and stoneflies are difficult to tie, primarily because of the addition of legs. The hackle here subs for the legs and looks very real to the trout. The YSF is very easy to tie and can be completed in only minutes. An array of colors can be used and I like sizes 6-10 on a long shank hook. The Krystal Flash adds to the visibility. This is a great Idaho fly fishing bug which should produce well for anyone particularly in the spring, summer and fall months.

Tie in Krystal Flash and cut to 1/2 hook bend length.

Now tie in some good hackle. Rust used here.

Add foam. This is roughly 1/4" wide with a tail section.

Wrap foam around hook. Evenly space.

Cut off excess in a round or square fashion.

Wrap hackle evenly in thread space.
Tie in wing behind head.
PS-Trim hackle below wing for better lay.

Add small clump of elk or caribou behind head.

Half hitch behind eye. Finished fly.

Finished fly!!!

Please feel free to send me comments. I am always looking for ways to improve my patterns.

Happy Idaho Fly Fishing,

          The Mighty Clark Fork
          The Kootenai River - Idaho's best kept secret!

PS - Check out related posts @ YSF Stinger Perfected (fishing techniques) and Hopper / Hopper Tandem Secrets (fishing techniques).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fly Shops or Guides

Fly Shops or Guides
 Idaho Angler - IdahoAngler@live.com
Sun 6/02/13 12:56 PM
RonV. (ronv717@.net)

Please tell me about fishing opportunities in the Sandpoint area which I might explore while visiting my daughter and her family this summer. I would also like to know about fly shops or guides’ services which might be available locally. Thanks, RonV.

Dear Ron,
I will assume you will be near or in Sandpoint, ID while on your vacation. For simplicity I will reference some blog articles about fishing opportunities near there for you: 

  Bull River - Montana (Float Only)
  Clark Fork River - ID/MT (Float/Wade)
  Flathead River System - Montana (Float/Wade)
  Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana (Mostly Float)
  Moyie River - Idaho (Mostly Wade in August)

  St. Joe River - ID (Wade Only in August)
  Vermilion River - Montana (Wade Only)

The Clark Fork, Bull and Kootenai are the CLOSEST big rivers and have the coolest (temperature) waters in August. In my opinion, the Kootenai (Idaho to Montana) and the Bull floats are two of the most breathtaking in the west. Hope these help. For guides would recommend Dave Blackburn at Kootenai Angler in Libby, MT for rivers north and east of Sandpoint or Randy Dingman from ROW Adventures for rivers east and south of Sandpoint. Both are great guys and really good guides.

For other great destinations try Idaho Fly Fishers BUCKET LIST article. If you want to fish over near Spokane, WA, approximately 2 hours west, email and I'll give to you guide suggestions for there as well. If interested, we have and Idaho Fly Fishers Association which was just recently started. You don't have to live in Idaho, just love to fly fish, and it's FREE. Guys from all over who get together for a 3 day trip out west somewhere. Ages range 41-65. This is a really great group! This year there are 8 of us going to The Big Horn in south central Montana (one of my personal favorites) and I met one member from Texas (formerly Kansas City, MO) in April and we fished the Green River in Utah. It really is a good group. Our trips include fly fishing stories (basically lying), cigars, sour mash, poker great food (we have our own chef from Philly who is a member) and just an overall great time.  Feel free to email any of the members on the list about whatever questions you might have. We all keep in touch and swap raunchy emails throughout the year.

If you are close to Sandpoint, email me before you come and maybe I can take you fishing.

Thanks and good luck!

Idaho Fly Fishers.com

If you have any Idaho fly fishing questions, simply drop us a note and we’ll answer to the best of our ability and just as soon as possible.

Hard takes, tight lines and huge trout to you all forever.

Tags: Epoxy Streamer
         Freshwater Scud
         Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
         Hot Wings

Monday, June 3, 2013

Big Hole, Montana

Just had a great trip to the Big Hole, MT--I will fill you in on the trip.

Started out Wednesday left about 8 am and went to Idaho Falls to pick up a new guide boat forNick Slomski head guide at ROW. The Clackacraft factory was our destination. We needed to get there by 5 pm closing time. Made it fine, traded out boats and headed north to Dillon, MT (Madison county the fly fishing capital). Heavy rain for days sent every river in the region into heavy flows.

Aimless as to which of the many rivers in the area to fish, we ran into a guide with a day off. We asked if he would like to try out our new boat out on the Big Hole. He said yes, so we headed north to Melrose, MT where they have more drift boats then people. WOW one of the most iconic stretches of river in the USA--Bucket List for sure

Our new guide friend had another guide buddy with day off so off we went on a 17 mile float with 2 drift boats and 4 guides. Thank god we had them to navigate that water! Great numbers of fish all day on bright yellow streamer patterns. We caught all browns that day nothing over twenty inches but many close to that mark.

After sleeping outside in my little one man bivy tent in driving rain and 38 degrees with hail at 7000 feet up on the Continental Divide, we ate in Melrose and were asked to join one of the local guides on the top part of the Big Hole the next day for an early season float in the walk wade section about 40 minutes north of Melrose (please do it float it early in the year without a guide who knows the river). We had a mind blowing day with 3 guides, one boat and an amazing river. I am so Blessed to have been able do this I know.......
At the end of day two, with no camp site in mind, the owner of fly shop in Melrose said we could pitch our tent in front yard of his fly shop. We had a fun night fell asleep in front of shop ..like kids haha the full moon beams in my face all night and sooo cold.....34 degrees and hard winds. The night was full of dreams of the preceding day's given beauty.

Day two fish count ...roughly? Brooke trout by the dozens, 14 inches was the largest--these were beauties! We caught also many really big rainbow in the 17 inch range. Maybe even a little bigger I guess. The local guide said I caught the biggest cuttbow he had ever seen at 19 inches. We had several browns in the 12 to 15 inch range.....with six fish over 17 one or two at 19 and one really big male measuring 22 inches caught by Nick Slomski. He won the BIG fish of the trip award.....
14 miles later we took out with full of memories of the brotherhood of fly fishing guides that will last a lifetime. We really had a couple of great days on 30 miles of river.....I do have some photos for you my friend. Now for you a trip on the Hole, I would definitely suggest a guide shop in Melrose, MT--please use Sunrise Fly Shop. Eric is the owner, a great guy and full of knowledge. He guides every day with about a 70 percent return client rate.....he's been in business about 8 years there. A really good group of people at that shop.....the owner also guides in Patagonia in the winters.....tell him I sent you when you go?

Cutting it off now. Tight Lines,

Randy Dingman

Randy's contact information is:
Work at ROW Adventures
Personal email
Cell Phone: 208-755-4403

For comments or suggestions or story submissions, do so at:


Tags:Big Horn River - Montana
         Big Wood River - Idaho
         Bitterroot River Valley Skwala
         BUCKET LIST - Of Idaho Fly Fishing