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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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests

Ever tried to find anything in a fly vest. Fly fishing Idaho requires a lot of flies; therefore, multiple fly boxes; therefore, multiple vest pockets. Add to these leaders, sink, split shot, floatant, line, and tippet and you have a lot of gear confined into a very small area. Poof, along comes the fishing vest. Also used by some of the younger generation as an occasional fashion statement. But for others it is simply an Idaho fly fishing necessity.

Well here in lies the problem. Into which pocket did you put which fly, fly box, line, leader, tippet, tool, etc.?

With a chest pack, all of your gear fits into several pockets neatly stacked one in front of the other, directly in front of you. At least one or two of the pockets let down to 90 degrees and provide a neat little tray on which you can place things and tie on flies. Even if you drop a small fly, you don’t lose it—it falls onto the chest pack tray. There are usually even retractables for your hemostats, Catch-n-Release tools and the like.

The major downside is the chest pack can get into your way slightly when casting and it takes some getting used to. All things considered though, I love them! I have some really expensive vests, which I would gladly sell if I could just find a buyer. PS-These chest packs are all about the same, so I don’t think from where you purchase one makes much of a difference. Whatever floats your yacht? But I really wouldn’t spend a whole lot on one. The one pictured above is a William Joseph. They run about $50-$75.

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels, sore arms and great fish stories to all of our Idaho fly fishing enthusiasts. Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated.

Idaho fly fishing requires a lot of research. Go to our QuickView Blog Post Page for easy article reference.


Tags:  Flathead River System
      Grande Ronde River
Kelly Creek, ID
     Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana
     Missouri River - Montana
     Moyie River - Idaho

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wading Boots

Simms Wading Boots - Obviously Well Used.
Wading boots? Out west, summers are frequently very hot and dry. Algae in larger western Idaho fly fishing rivers is the rule. Point, they can get VERY slippery! Be careful, for even your chest high, breathable waders leak if you fall head first into a large western river. This is why I now use cleated wading boots and carry a wading staff. One thing to consider, although none of us like to admit we are getting older, balance does become a consideration as we age as well as loss of flexibility.
Sorry cleats are a bit rusty from usage.

How much money you got? Well, if your budget is limited and you are fairly young, less than 50 and still flexible, go with felt covered wading boots like Hodgeman. They are inexpensive and work great over the breathable, chest high waders discussed in our previous post. They are available from numerous shops and vendors so search online at your leisure. Pricing should be less than $50-60. Remember size wading boots one size larger than your shoe size. Also, wash them off well after each usage (vinegar works great), for they can carry diseases like the whirling.

Once you get to the point of staying with Idaho fly fishing because you truly have the bug, get some nice wading boot early on. These are more important than the expensive chest high waders and more practical. I personally chose Simms wading boots for comfort. The ankle high ones work perfectly. These will cost between $150-250. The main item though is those little titanium cleats which will set you back $75 or so. There are about 10-12 in each boot, but they really do keep you from slipping. Oh, and make sure the spikes are the small (about the size of a #8 hex sheet metal screw).
My horse drinking coffee before
a day of Idaho fly fishing.

Orvis, Cabelas and others make these spiked wading boots, so shop around for the ones you like. Lastly, do tell the guides with whom you fish that your boots are spiked. Some will ask you not to wear them for they can damage their expensive drift boat bottoms, so some back up inexpensive Hodgeman felt wading boots are not a bad idea. Spiked boots are becoming very popular though, so most guides have begun placing rubber mats in their drift boats to accommodate the fishers preferring spikes. But out of courtesy, when you book a trip, check with them.
Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels, sore arms and great fish stories to all of our Idaho fly fishing enthusiasts. Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated. Come soon and fly fish Idaho.


Discount Flies @ Big Y
Tags: Furled Leaders by Zen
     Lanyard - Poor Man's *
Outcast Stealth Pro
RL Winston Company     

     Rod Weights - 101
Travel Rods 2014


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Waders (aka Keep Your Stuff Dry Coveralls)

Give me a pair of wading sandals with spikes on the bottom and jean shorts and a fly rod any time. But it’s just way too cold in February in Idaho to do this—great in July/August though. With the cold shrinkage that would occur in February, bodily functions might just be impossible. This is called “wet wading”. So what to do when you can’t “wet wade”? 
Michelin Man

There are a gazillion different types of waders out there. Hip, chest, neoprene, rubber, synthetic waterproof, breathables, with or without built in boots or neoprene booties. What does one do? How much do I spend? What’s the best for me and what I would use them for? Well, the very first question to answer is how much money do I have?

If resources are unlimited, in my opinion, the very best waders are Dan Bailey’s chest high, breathables and neoprene stocking feet without a doubt. Add a pair of Simm’s wading boots with those expensive little titanium spikes and some Undrearmour long johns if necessary and you have the very best and most expensive. Do you live and sport in a cold or hot climate? Well I had much rather be able to move in my long johns under some breathable waders where I fly fish in Idaho than feel and look like the Michelin Man and not be able to bend over to tie my wading boots in a pair of 3-5 mm neoprenes.

Absolutely, for sure, chest high waders are a MUST! Simply ask newbie Steve S. whom I recently took fishing on his first large western river. Those little thigh highs do look sexy on a man or woman, like a pair of biker chaps, but the waters quickly seep into them and then you have to deal with chaffing the rest of the trip, and for some days to come. So chest high breathables are definitely the way to go. Many stores carry these including Cabelas, Bass Pro and even Walmart. The better ones are in the $100 range and last a long time with care given and can be easily patched should a mishap occur.

South Platte Rainbow

I would personally suggest neoprene feet on your waders, for if you do wade in the cold, your feet won’t have to suffer. Jeans and long johns are usually enough to keep your legs warm and body temperature up. Put some wading boots over the neoprene booties and you are ready to go. Wading boots are the subject of another post soon to come.

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels, sore arms and great fishing stories to all of our Idaho fly fishing enthusiasts. Your comments and thoughts are always appreciated.
Tags:   Clark Fork River - Idaho / Montana
     Coeur d'Alene - Idaho's Year Round Fishery
Coeur d'Alene (North Fork)
     Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana            Teepee Creek, ID
     St. Joe River - Idaho 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fly Fishing Equipment

Before we get started, I want to thank all readers and I do want you to realize, I am not an expert. I have been fly fishing off an on for over a half century and have formulated the opinions I forward to readers here. By all means read all you can and formulate your own methods and fly fishing techniques. If you disagree (or agree) with any of our posts, please express your self. You will be heard.

Thanks to recent blog reader PW from Washington state, I have revisited posts written in the past. When one writes many posts, and to date there have been 288, you forget about many of the things which you have discussed. At least I forget. One easy way to access previous posts is by going to our "Quick View Blog Post Retrieval"

The subject today is  Fly Fishing Equipment. PW is new to fly fishing and curious about what to purchase. You can spend a ton (of $) trying to enjoy the sport and I am here to tell you it is not necessary. If you want to buy Orvis and Simms, knock yourself out, but it is not necessary. They do make really good stuff though. Discussed are easy ways to save a bundle and have a really great time fly fishing your favorite Idaho river/stream/lake.

Go to "Quick View" or simply click here to view subjects covered in the past:
     Big Y Flies - Discount Flies/Equipment
     Caddis Sports High Sierra II Float Tube
     Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests
     Float Tube Fins
     Fly Line Basics
     Fly Reel Basics
     Fly Rod Basics
     Furled Leaders by Zen
     Lanyard - Poor Man's *
     Outcast Stealth Pro - Personal Pontoon
     RL Winston Company - Twin Bridges, MT
     Rod Weights - 101
     Travel Rods 2014
     Wading Boots
As you can see, there are a few subjects which I should have covered but haven't yet done so. There are also some which I am sure I haven't even yet thought of. If I live long enough, I can even save you more by showing you how to build your own fly rod and leaders. Knots, now there is a fine subject. You can also save a bundle by using Albolene for floatant and by tying your own flies.

All of these are only a click away at our "Post Rapid Retrieve Page". Use it often to reference those subjects in which you have an interest. Also consult our "Tags" below and at the end of each post for really cool references. Hey, if you think of a subject not yet covered, let me know.

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels, sore arms and great Idaho Fly Fishing to all. Try out our "Poor Man's Lanyard". This is all I have personally used for many years.


Tags: Approved Fly Fishing Sites
     Great 2013 NW River Catches
     Popularity of Idaho Fly Fishing
Time Saving Fly Fishing Links