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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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hoppers - Really Big Hoppers!

Orthoptera - aka Fish Food
Phylum Arthropoda - Arthropods
     Subphylum Hexapoda - Hexapods

          Class Insecta - Insects
               Order Orthoptera - Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids
That's right, hoppers are back in Idaho after an almost 3 year lull and they are HUGE. Except for a few last summer, most had disappeared. I don't know whether it was the moisture (we got lots of rain), the temperature (it was mild) or the wolves (they'll eat anything and we love to blame them in Idaho for decreasing wildlife populations). Anyway, trout love them.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Big Horn Brown with a mouth full.

Fly fishermen don't generally like the wind. But if you like to catch fish, particularly large fish, the wind can be your ally. This time of year the fish like to lie deep or at the rocky edges of larger rivers to feed and hide from the birds of prey. As the day warms, the hoppers begin to move (fly) on the "hopper banks" (flat grassy land next to the water). As they fly, the wind catches them and they land often on the water's edge and float downstream. The hoppers naturally become trout food; really big morsels for sometimes really big fish.
Just watch and listen for the huge splashes as the fish chase, catch and eat those six-legged insect from their riverbank smorgasbord. It can make for a very exciting time for the Idaho Fly Fisher particularly this time of year. Oh what I wouldn't give to be fishing the Big Horn this time of year when the locust blow into the river from the wheat fields above. Oh yeah. That's right. I'll be there in 2 weeks. Hopefully the Orthoptera will be there as well.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Nice Big Horn Brown
during hopper season 2011.
On this occasion, try out the YSF Stinger. A simple fly to tie and a great pattern for these hopper days. Check out closely the color of your local grasshoppers and use permanent colored markers to change your YSF Stinger appropriately. When casting, splash them down hard; if tied correctly, they WILL NOT SINK. Twitch them frequently on top just like real live hoppers. At the end of the drift try stripping down just beneath the surface. I honestly believe the fish sometimes believe they are minnow and strike them very aggressively.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog

PS-Don't forget those Hopper/Hopper Tandem Secrets.  
Hard takes, tight lines, sore arms and exciting hopper takes to you all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alzheimer's Test for Idaho Fly Fishers

Just received this from one of my very sick, fly fishing friends. Thought everyone might appreciate. I completed it in way less than 15 seconds, but missed them ALL. Do not cheat.



. . . . It takes less than 15 seconds . . . .

If you are over 45 yrs. old, you SHOULD take this Alzheimer's Test.
See how fast can you guess these words and fill-in the blanks?
1.  _  _NDOM
2.  P_N_S
3.  HO_  _ERS
4.  S_X
5.  BOO_S

Hard takes and tight lines to all of our Idaho Fly Fishing followers.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Elk River - Fernie, BC, Canada

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Bull Moose at Michel Creek - Above Sparwood, BC, Canada

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
KP and nice Elk R. Bull Trout
Just returned from a great fly fishing trip in Fernie, BC, Canada on the Elk River; we also fished Michel Creek for a half day before our Elk float. Fished the Michel on Friday which is only a 30 km drive above Fernie and 10 km above Sparwood. Once at the creek and Corbin Road, it is at least another 20 km, but a beautiful drive, to the fishing grounds. Almost didn't drive up there though, for the hostesses at Elk River Guiding Company said it would be too crowded. I will admit, Idaho Fly Fishers Association member KP and I did see maybe 5 fly fishers the whole time we were up there, so "combat fishing" it was not.

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
What Canadians think of N. Idaho / Montana wolves.
Definitely worth the 45 minute drive! We fished a YSF Stinger and Adams most of the time and caught several really nice, feisty cutthroat in the 2+ hours we were there. Trout ranged from about 10 inches to 16 inches with great fight and color. The stream was narrow this time of year, but some fairly deep blue, green pools and nice runs made the fishing worthwhile. PS-The Michel is all wade fishing. We only left because a thunder/lightening storm arrived. Went down to the Elk for about an hour where KP caught a 24" bull and I a nice cuttie. The bull trout, by the way, was caught with an Assam Dragon at the bottom of a deep rapid run in a tail out. 
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Guide Louis "Louie" Cloutier and KP

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
McCool Creek running into the Elk R.
The next day on the Elk was totally different fishing. Our float guide Louis (aka Louie) Cloutier of the Elk River Guiding Company worked his you know what off trying multiple patterns in the morning and early afternoon scaring up what few fish we did catch. By the way the Elk is mostly a cutthroat and bull trout river. But then we noticed in a drink holder on the drift boat about a #18 green drake (which they call "Flav" short for genius/species "Drunella flavilinea"). I had no green drakes in that size, so we tied on an 18 BWO with a stacked hackle and off we went. For visibility, our flies had salmon colored foam wings. Our choice was good and from McCool Creek down, we slaughtered the fish. Cutties in the 18-20+ inch size were the rule. I quit because I lost a fly on a fish and my arm was toast. Hoping to do the Bow River near Calgary next year. Hear the cutties are even larger.

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Nice fat Elk R. Cuttie

Try the action for yourself. It was a great time and not that far from north Idaho, so it really was like Idaho fly fishing. Stay tuned. Planning another trip, close to Idaho, on the Gallatin and Big Horn Rivers within 3 weeks. This will be the annual meeting of the Idaho Fly Fishers Association. There will be 14 of us this year. Join us at IDFFA. Membership is FREE! I will warn you though, most of the members are over 50, so we are looking for some young blood to support the old farts and hold our canes while we wade. Just kidding! We can all still wade despite some fairly new titanium parts.

Hard takes, tight lines, broken tippets and sore shoulders and arms to you all.


Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Good Cutthroat!
Tags:  Big Horn River - MT
     Bitterroot River Valley Skwala
     Bull River Hogs - Montana * *
Bull River Montana Alps
     Cancun Rainbow?

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
"Drunella flavilinea"

Monday, August 18, 2014

Big Horn 9/10/2014-9/15/2014

Final list for the annual Big Horn trip 9/10-9/15 (Depart) - Idaho Fly Fishers Association Members (IDFFA)

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Michel Creek Bull (Moose)
Jack C.
Kevin Y.
Larry J.
Harold S.
Greg N.
William O.
Robert O.
Duane G.
Russ F.
Avery R.
Bob M.
Paul S.
Ron S. and Son

Total of 14. Ten with guides per Zoe (5 guides). Obviously we will all have to chip in and help Paul with the cooking load this year. We are therefore taking applications for a SOUS CHEF to work on a annual basis to help MASTER CHEF Paul S.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Kevin's 24" Bull (Trout) - Kind of Skinny
Just so everyone will know, Larry, Duane and I will be driving. Kevin will be riding over with me from Bozeman, MT where we are going to stop and fish the Gallatin River for a while on Tuesday afternoon. Kevin will however probably need a ride back to the airport on 9/14. By my count, the group will probably need at least 2 vehicles and perhaps 3 this year.
It appears, from itineraries I have received, everyone will be arriving between 12 noon and 1:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon. The latest arrival I remember seeing was Paul at about 1:30. We have to wait for him because he is doing the cooking. Please try and arrange arrivals appropriately if flight plans not already made. I will be in Billings by 12:30 pm to help everyone with arrival transition if need be.
PS - Paul, I am still having a senior moment regarding your email address. If you receive this please let me know.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Jack's 21" cutthroat (nice and fat)
Kevin and I had a couple of good days on the Elk in Fernie, BC, Canada this past weekend.
See you all soon, Hard takes and tight lines always,

To join the IDFFA and potentially be a member of this group, please email. To see photos of this and other trips go to IDFFA facebook page or to our blog photo page.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fish Fry Anyone?

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Big Fisher Lake, Boundary County, Idaho (elev. 7,380 feet)
The evolution of a fish: egg, larva, fry, fingerling and adult. This past Saturday, a new member of the Selkirk Valley Back Country Horsemen arrived at the Cabinet Gorge Hatchery in Clark Fork Idaho, and picked up hundreds of fry in a large cooler for transport to Trout and Big Fisher Lakes in Boundary County Idaho. The member then drove the 3 hours to the lake trailhead very near the Canadian border and then rode on a very short horse several hours up to the high mountain lakes.
Trusty Steed Walter (aka "Shorty")
Once there, the horsemen then went through the painstaking process of equalizing the temperature inside the bags of cutthroat trout fry and then released them while only losing a few in the process. Great job guys (and girls)!

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Snow Lake, Idaho
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Merle and Paul releasing fry into Big Fisher
Besides transporting fry to high country lakes for stocking (which, being an avid fly fisher, I fully support), the SVBC Horsemen also help to maintain bridges and trails in our National Forests by rebuilding & repairing the bridges and cutting down overhanging limbs on trails so even short horses can pass without difficulty. SVBC Horsemen is one of the 14 Idaho chapters of the Back Country Horsemen of Idaho and one of the 127 chapters of the Back Country Horsemen of America which has roughly 13,000 active members in 27 states.

Trout Lake, ID
Eat your heart out. We have pictured here views from Spruce Lake high in the Selkirk Mountain Range. There is Snow Lake, Trout Lake and Big Fisher Lake (elev.7,380 feet) all in Boundary County Idaho. Many are accessible only by horseback, so grab your fly rod and reel, and don't forget your float tube and fins, and go and do some real Idaho fly fishing at one of our numerous (stocked with huge cutties) high mountain lakes. Oxygen masks are optional, but the horse a must.

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Drive up to Spruce Lake, ID

Next week for me, will fly fish Michele Creek and the Elk River in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada on Friday and Saturday; then the following week on to Queen Lake b/w Bonners Ferry and Eastport, ID on my trusty and very short steed Walter the Norwegian Fjord (proudly pictured above). Posts and photos to follow.

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


Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Kootenai River Rainbow

Tags:  Sinclair Lake - Idaho
     Spar (Big) Lake - Montana
     Spar Lake MT Revisited

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
Selkirk Valley Back Country Horsemen
Click Here & Join Today

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hidden Gem River, ID

Idaho Fly Fishers Blog

Never heard of it. This river in north Idaho is a "Hidden Gem". If you believe the internet, there are no trout in this water this time of year because the water is too warm. Hog wash! They say the state record brookie is here and it may be. Supposedly, there are no rainbow above a certain point. I can personally assure you this is NOT true.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog
I have caught many a rainbow here even in July and August. Most are in the 10"-12" range, but in the spring and fall, I have caught some 18"ers. Down low, even in the heat of the summer, there are some "hog" size cutties. The secret is to fish early and late (fish the shadows) this time of year.

Idaho Fly Fishers BlogWet wade and use a float tube if you have one. The flies of choice are Adams and YSF Stingers on top. Black Crawlers, which you will not see in any fly shop, and Golden Stones also work very well. I literally saw dozens of stone shucks the other day after one cool night. The technique is simple, dead drift, twitch occasionally, swing across current at the end of drift, twitch occasionally, and let flies hang at drift's end, again twitching occasionally. Recast.
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog

If you want some decent action and no combat fishing, come and fish this river in the summer. If you would like to know the name of this north Idaho secret and the best places to fish, please email me.

Hard takes, tight lines, numerous trout and sore arms forever.


Tags:  Montana Grand Slam
     Montana Trifecta
     Moyie River - What, where, when - Idaho
     Moyie - Why Not?
Idaho Fly Fishers Blog