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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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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kelly Creek


Dear Idaho Anlger 

Have you heard any reports from Kelly Creek?  With low snow pack and low spring flows I am thinking about making a trip over to the St Joe and wondered about Kelly.  From what I've read, it sounds like the northern Idaho rivers are running more like June.  That's certainly true of our Washington rivers.  I may head over to the Joe on Monday. I'm assuming the fishing may be better lowered down.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.


Dear SC,

Sorry for the delay in reply but you know those day jobs. You are absolutely correct regarding the runoff levels. They are quite low and the rivers and streams are very clear. So July conditions are here except for the still very cold water.
Kelly Creek is a great summertime bet, but there is little out there about current catches. As you already know, “This is one of the most overlooked streams in the nation…..This beautiful stream provides anglers super clear water and a good population of native cutthroat trout…..Kelly Creek begins high in the Bitterroot Mountains of the panhandle of Idaho in a very remote area…..Kelly Creek has more than a normal population of caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. Blue-winged  Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Yellow Quills and other mayfly species are present.” (Courtesy of the “Perfect Fly”).  Terrestrials should begin as soon as the nights warm. I have seen varying regulations here, but for sure it is no bait / barbless and catch-n-release. Check with the state before fishing prior to Memorial Day.
The St. Joe is usually good with this type of water. Should be quite clear and still very cold. Try up high with large stones and add a zebra midge dropper. You can also get some very good select hatches much like on Kelly Creek. Remember, harvest no Bulls and to go barbless above Avery. If you don’t soon do well up high, try fishing below Avery. The water may be a little warmer the further down you go.
Have a great trip. Hard takes and screaming reels to you and all Idaho Fly Fishers.

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