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, December 30, 2016

Ready to Rumble in 2017

Dust off the gear and let's go Idaho fly fishing.

My raft on December 30th!
My raft on January 11th! Notice any difference?

Spider Fly

Thanks to IDFFA member Larry (Professor), I am going to try a new pattern this summer. I say new but in fact it is not a new, but rather a very old, pattern. If you look up the history, this fly was apparently used during Roman times and soft hackle flies had a resurgence also in the late 1600's. Charles Cotton actually wrote about them in Compleat Angler 1676. And then, in 1816 G. C. Bainbridge wrote about them again in The Fly-fishers Guide. "Another 60 years were to pass before three more  valuable works featured soft hackled flies."

"W. C. Stewart wrote The Practical Angler; W. H. Aldham A Quaint Treatise on Flees and the Art of Artyfichall Flee Making in 1876; T. E. Pritt Yorkshire Trout Flies in 1886 (which was re-titled North-Country Flies in a later edition). All these books featured extensive writings on soft hackled flies. But in 1857 the greatest influence on using these patterns in England occurred. W. C. Stewart was a renowned fly fisherman from the Scottish Border area and it was Stewart that put 'spider' patterns in the fly box of all the north of England fly fishers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries" Above quotes from:

Actually, these patterns are not too commonly found in fly shops here, but outside the US they are sometimes the only flies fly fishers use. The current going name is the "Stewart Spider", but online, you may see multiple other imitations and names as well.
Fly tying instructions will follow in a future post and in fact this is a very simple fly to tie. By the way this "spider" does not mimic a spider, but rather, depending on colors and fishing methods, it does mimic many of the other emerging nymphs out there. How many times have I stood in a stream and said to myself while fishing "man, they are hitting emergers and not nymphs (or dries)"? Kind of makes me wonder if renowned Yellowstone fly fisher Charles Brooks in the 1970's wasn't right when he said "The best flies were those which look the same from EVERY angle."
I have fish soft hackles while Idaho fly fishing on numerous occasions and I now, after writing this post, wonder why I don't use them more often--and I may! Techniques are simple and many recommend a dropper as shown:
High sticking the fly is very important
but perhaps the most important thing is the drift and lift. How many times have you caught a fish on the "swing"? Swinging these soft hackles IS very effective as a nymph emerges.
Anyway, I'm going to stock up on soft hackles and use them more often. Hopefully, this will afford more hookups. More to come about my success. Hard takes and tight lines and huge, numerous trout to you all.
Tags:    Freshwater Scud
     Freshwater Shrimp
     Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
     Grey Wulff
     Grizzly Wulff


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Kootenai River in August

Since the IDFFA will be having one of the 2017 excursions on the Kootenai River this coming September, I thought I would share some research. This should be one of the best fly fishing times of the year on the Koot. Flows will be around a near perfect 6,000 cfs and color should be "gin clear". Water temperature should be around 55 degrees--again ideal. This will also be pre-spawn for big browns.

The Montana state record rainbow was caught on this massive river just below the Lake Koocanusa Dam located only about 20 minutes north of Libby, MT. "Koocanusa" per an IDFFA member Kevin "Shotgun" stands for "Kootenai-Canada-USA" since this lake is shared by the our two countries. There are some HUGE bull trout also just below the dam for which you cannot legally fish in the US but you can in Canada. The Kootenai receives little pressure year round because it is not easily accessible. The closest Airport is in Kalispell, MT and is 2 hours away. Missoula, MT and Spokane, WA are each about 3 1/2 hours out. So getting there is not that easy.

There are also few guide services but the two I have personally used are Kootenai Angler and Linehan. Both have excellent guides and know the river well. They will put you on fish. Also, the fall brings out very large caddies flies and usually there are some sporadic hoppers as well. Browns deep will be hitting Wooly Buggers and very large Streamers. Some will select droppers of chironomids, off of large dries since this is a tailwater just below the lake. Some nymphs will work as well depending on conditions. Another good reference site is Big Sky Fishing.com.

The locals recommend fishing the end of island where the flow is less and the large rock boulder fields which are common lateral to the deeper channels. Here is a list of fly suggestions for the early fall on the Kootenai (some spell it  "Kootenay"):
Orange/Tan Stimulator
Parachute Adams
BH (Bead Head) Hare's Ear
BH Prince
Wooly Bugger (Olive or Black) w or w/o BH
Assam Dragon
Golden or Yellow Stonefly (Also use Yellow Stimulator)

Enjoy the Kootenai this coming fall. Close enough for Idaho Fly Fishing. Hard takes and tight lines.


Tags:    Big Horn River - MT
     Bitterroot River Valley Skwala
     Bull River Hogs - Montana * *
Bull River Montana Alps
     Cancun Rainbow?
     Coeur d'Alene (NF-Revisited)
     Elk River - Fernie, BC, Canada

Friday, December 9, 2016

Caddis High Sierra II Float Tube

The Caddis High Sierra II Float Tube
Below you will find pertinent information regarding the High Sierra II (also known as the Caddis II) round float tube. If you read and researched my previous post "Outcast Stealth Pro" you have found that these devices are quite pricy. In my opinion, they are the absolute best one can buy for "big water", but the cost may be prohibitive. Consider the High Sierra II as a low cost alternative, particularly where you have to pack in. Why? The Caddis High Sierra II weighs about 6 pounds while the Outcast Pro is about 35 pounds. Simple. I have both.

You can get your Caddis High Sierra II for about $99 online + shipping. Oh and don't forget the "Fishmaster Paddle Pushers"--they are a MUST! Here is a link for the Caddis II: Caddis Sports, Inc.

Specifications are as follows:

High Sierra II:
  •           Fishmaster Paddle Pushers
Add some "Fishmaster Paddle Pushers" and you have the perfect float tube set up! You can now fly fish forward rather than backwards. Lightweight so you can easily carry on your back or on horseback. As opposed to conventional float tube fins where you HAVE to travel in reverse. Really a pain in a round float tube, but are nice if you are trying to slow down a pontoon style float tube on BIG water.
Conventional Fins

Hard takes, tight lines and a merry Christmas to all.


Tags:   Canon Elph 110 HS Camera
     Feed the Fisherman
     Float Tube Fins Forward
     Outcast Stealth Pro
     The Perfect Fishing Raft
     ZEN Outfitters Floating Furled Leaders
     ZEN Outfitters Sinking Furled Leaders

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Outcast Stealth Pro

The Perfect Christmas Gift for Your
Idaho Fly Fisher Person
Outcast Boats.com Slide Banner

I have owned a one person, personal pontoon boat for over 15 years. It has served me well. These are really great for fishing small lakes and streams in Idaho fly fishing country. Their downsides, in my opinion, are many. One, they are not designed really for fishing; they are designed to move. Where do you put your rod if you need to change a fly or take off a larger fish? Where do you set your oars while fishing? Why don't they maneuver better?

Two, they are difficult to inflate/deflate and carry around. The frame does come off, but they can be a pain to put back together and on to the inflatable pontoons.  The valves do work, but not very well--particularly after a few years. Why do they not carry any more load than they do? Where do I put my flies? Where do I put my anchor? Why do I always feel as though I am going to fall out? Three.....

Locked down oars.
Well, I am here to tell you the Outcast Stealth Pro is the best personal raft I have ever seen! A bit pricy, but in my opinion almost ALL of the major issues have been resolved. This personal pontoon (it really has a "V" shaped hull) is fast, durable (with its PVC material design), has only one piece of metal (the footrest which detaches easily), weighs only 35 pounds, has a fly bag built in and many accessories which are easy to mount and fairly inexpensive. Oh yeah, IT'S FRAMELESS. And get this; the oars quickly and easily lock down so you can move and fish at the same time. There are even arm and bow pads into which fit "Scotty" anchor and devices such as rod holders and anchors. These are also movable so you can place them where most convenient for you the Idaho fly fisher. The ONLY downside I see is it is difficult to lift "on fish" over the footrest bar, so I carry a small ORVIS "catch and release" net.

Inflation takes exactly 10 minutes. I would recommend a foot pump, for electrics just don't seem to have enough ump to inflate. Maybe there is a 12V out there which can do, but at least the  bellows style foot pump you can always take with you and takes up little space. Deflation takes about 5 minutes and the device folds up quickly into a 2 foot cube for easy storage. DON'T STORE WET.

This is the portable for those of us that fish a lot. Even with a PFD, I personally would not take it on BIG water, I have a KVI 12 footer for that purpose. But for most small rivers and lakes it is PERFECT! Try it out.

Mfg. Specs:
Bellows Style Foot Pump

1.      Length x Width x Height: 8' x 57"
2.      Tube Diameter: 16.25"
3.      Weight: 35 lbs.
4.      Load Capacity: 450 lbs.
5.      Aire Chambers: 2
6.      AIREcell Material: Urethane
7.      Fabric Denier x Material Weight: 500 pvc / 30 oz.
8.      Seam Construction: Welded
9.      Valve: Summit II
10.   Warranty: 5 Years

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and sore arms from paddling your Outcast Stealth Pro.


Tags:  Canon Elph 110 HS Camera
     Outcast Stealth Pro
     The Perfect Fishing Raft
     ZEN Outfitters Floating Furled Leaders
     ZEN Outfitters Sinking Furled Leaders

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Remember Pearl Harbor - 10:48 am PST December 7, 1941

75 Years Ago Today!

Supposedly these photos were found in an old foot locker in a "Brownie" camera. Amazing! The photographer is unknown or I would gladly give him/her the proper credit. Click on them and enlarge for effect. In the third photo, you can actually see a Japanese fighter plane as it attacks.

These young men fought and died for this great nation. Why should we allow our system and way of life to be destroyed by those who don't give two cents for the United States? Why should we even financially support countries that don't care anything about the United States?


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

IDFFA News Part 2016.1

Congratulations to our 4 new IDFFA Members. Go to our Idaho Fly Fishers Association header tab for an update. And while there check out our upcoming 2017 planned trips. Dates and locations for two are set, but specifics for accommodations and guide services are not. ALL of our members are great people. They have been vetted by our proactive membership committee and would really love to Idaho Fly Fish with you--or wherever. Idaho Fly Fishing is really a philosophy and not a place.

Some other REALLY EXCITING news:

One of our charter members Paul (Hopper) S. is developing a group from PA. Let's simply call it the "PAFFA" for now. Paul is proudly branching out and taking his own group to the Big Horn this coming July. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky IDFFA members to be invited to join him. I would go were it not for the fact I will be having family visiting for some Idaho fly fishing at that time.

Hard takes, tight lines and Idaho fly fish whenever and wherever you like.


Tags:  Coeur d'Alene (North Fork)
     Cutthroat Byway
     Flathead River System - Montana
     Get Ready to Rumble - Fernie, BC, Canada
     Grande Ronde River - Idaho
     Kelly Creek, ID 

New IDFFA Member Jay F.

Kodiac, AK Humpy 2004
We welcome new IDFFA member Jay F. to our "Merry Band of Anglers". First my reply to his email follows:
"Nice note Jay. We (IDFFA members) have been called a lot of things. But "merry band" is a first. Maybe we should convert from sour mash to mead. Stay in touch. Add those names I gave to you to your email list. They'll fish with you. So will I if you ever make it to ID/MT. I live in the ID panhandle 15 miles to MT, 30 miles from WA and 60 miles from Canada, BC. PS-Welcome to the IDFFA (Idaho Fly Fishers Association). You will not regret it." 

Now Jay's email:

"I am thrilled to be invited to join your Merry Band of Anglers!"

Fernie Canada, BC Bull 2014
< I do not have permission to post his exact email, so let me paraphrase. > Jay is in his mid-50's, retired from the Air Force and was stationed all over including Germany x 2 and Oklahoma. He received his college degree while on active duty. He now works as a quality engineer in Indianapolis, IN. Jay has also fished, not only for trout all over this country and Europe, but he likes other species as well. The retired Master Sergeant is looking for others to join him in his fly fishing adventures.
Kenora Canada, Ontario Small Mouth 2002 

His mom sounded to be quite the hoot and she was very proud of her family. One funny thing she would tell people about Jay was "he's so conservative he didn't know DamnDemocrats was two words until he was 14 years old." Sort of describes other IDFFA members as well. Jay, welcome to YOUR Idaho Fly Fishing Association.

Nantahala River, NC Rainbow 1996
Jay's response to the "nonrefundable" application fee one of our smart ass members tried to impose: "I hope you will waive that fee - just like it being non-refundable I just found out my wife ran off with a Transvestite Midget from Prague (after the Kolache Festival I knew something wasn't quite right). He's (or is it "she's") threatening to return the wife so I have to pay to keep that from happening and am short on funds. I am sure you understand? Right?"

Hard takes, tight lines and many new fly fishing adventures with the IDFFA.

White River, AR Rainbow 1992
Tags: Fly Tying
Fly Fishing Lakes     
Great Fly Fishing Rivers     
HOTTEST Techniques 
IDFFA Annual Meetings
Just for Fun