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.

Blog Usage and Invitation to Join




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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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Winter Fly Fishing

And you wonder why there are not as many fish photos here in January v. June. Well June is coming soon, so come Idaho fly fishing. Actually, this is a great time to go skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Area. (Prices have increased a little since this 2012 post). Actually, we have received 36" in 36 hours at my house. Makes it really difficult to get to the river which is only a few hundred yards away.

Hard takes, tight lines and bring your snow shovels.

Idaho Fly Fishers Association Link

Tags: Bragging Rights - Schweitzer Mountain
     Buy Your Fish!
     Check Out The Heavens 
     Coeur d'Alene River Spring Fling 
     Cold Water Haunts (Part 1)
     Cold Water Haunts (Part 2)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Most Economical Floatant Reply


The very first floatant that I ever used, and made for about the first 15-20 years of my 48 year fly fishing career was the exact recipe. And it worked great! The only problem was when the temperature cooled down, and it would begin to solidify. the only thing that I could do when I was on the river was to put my little bottle under my armpit. If it got really cold, you were Sh** out of luck! On: "Most Economical Floatant".

Dear David,

You are absolutely correct. But all floatants I have found get very thin in summer and thick in winter. I have now converted exclusively though to Albolene--gets less thin and less thick. Go to "Most Economical Floatant" on my blog. Just found 12 oz on Walmart's site for $9.74. I have been using the same 12 ounce jar for at least 5 years and still have more than half left. I personally believe Albolene is exactly the same as "Gink" (< 1/2 oz for $5.99 @ Bass Pro) plus it is not flammable.

If you have been fly fishing for as long as you say, you should consider joining all of us more mature guys at the Idaho Fly Fishers Association (hover tabs at top below header) for one of our summer trips. Great fun!.

Thanks for your interest in our blog.

 Hard takes and happy New Year!

     Nano Fly Rods - NEW!
     Old Crow Sour Mash Whiskey
     Outcast Stealth Pro - Personal Pontoon
     Perfect Vision 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fly Fishing iPhone & Obsolescence

Great watercolor, but unfortunately I do not know the artist. Sorry!

I am not usually one to complain, but I am going to here. My kid brother and IDFFA member Glen (Falls From Boats) recently told me that Apple has admitted to updating there phones in order to make them obsolete. Now I do not know if this is true or false, but I, and I'm sure you, have noticed the changes in phone speed. Actually I have also noticed that my device "hangs up" much more often and I have to "reboot" in order for it to work properly again. An accident or purposeful? 
iPhone photo on the NF of the Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho

Here are a couple of quotes from a search engine investigation:

"First things first: when you first install any iOS update on your iPhone, iOS 11 included, your phone may slow down and you may experience faster battery drain at first. It’s just the nature of the beast. Part of it has to do with Spotlight re-indexing and other shuffling that takes place in behind the scenes, and part of it has to do with the simple fact that you use the phone more while you’re exploring all the new features.

So the good news is that for most people, battery life will improve....." - Courtesy of BGR.com

iPhone photo on the St. Joe River, Idaho
"..... a story claiming that Apple is intentionally slowing down older iPhone models went viral, backing up the endless conjecture that has surrounded this topic for years." - Courtesy of BGR.com. 

I have noticed now for several years that it seems to me that when my contract period is up, my iPhone almost quits working all together. How about you? Who and what do YOU believe? And what about the Cloud? Who owns the Cloud anyway--Google, Facebook, Amazon, our government? Who? Who has access to all those great Idaho fly fishing photos? Do you think Google knows where your secret fishing hole is located? Privacy--there no longer is any! So get out there today and buy your Idaho fly fisher a new iPhone for Christmas this year. It might be obsolete in a year or two anyway. Oh! And don't forget to sign up for Cloud storage.

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and happy Idaho fly fishing!
iPhone photo on the Big Horn River, MT


Tags:  Inexpensive Lanyard - Perfect Gift!
     Lanyard - Poor Man's *
     "Longer Fly Casting" by Lefty Kreh
     Most Economical Floatant
     Nano Fly Rods - NEW!
     Old Crow Sour Mash Whiskey

Friday, December 22, 2017

Fly Fisher's Christmas Wish

Looks Cold!
We live in northern Idaho. It snowed again last night. Luckily only about 2-3", so I shouldn't have to get out my Yanmar 324 tractor and plow. Do we ever have a "brown" Christmas?--well yeah, but rarely. Living in the 2nd greatest snowfall area of the state (second only to Sun Valley) it is almost always white at Christmas around here. Coming from the southeast, we love "white" Christmases.
A lot to plow!

One of the nice thing about blog writing is that one is allowed to "ramble". This blog is no exception. With more than 25,000 miles of creeks and rivers within her borders, Idaho can lay claim to some of the most challenging whitewater in North America and the best blue-ribbon trout fishing. Looks like this winter will be no exception and, except for the hardy, there will be little fishing again until April or May. If I had one wish, it would be to fish all 25,000 miles of stream before I pass on to that great fishing hole in heaven. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time. 

The rivers I still need to fish include, but is not limited to, the Lochsa, the Clearwater, the Salmon, Kelly Creek, the south fork of the Snake, the Boise, the Henry's Fork of the Snake and so many more. I'm getting there. More to come.

Big critters everywhere!
Make your Christmas wish to come and visit and fish Idaho next summer. We at the Idaho Fly Fishers Association embrace anyone with the desire to fish our streams with us. We really do have some "great trips". They are a lot of fun for all. PS-they also make a GREAT Christmas gift for your fly fisher. You will meet some really interesting people from all over North America who share the passion. By the way, we do eat, drink, smoke cigars and lie frequently when we get together. 

My wife literally just read to me an article saying that Idaho is the fastest growing state in the US. We are growing at 2.2% per year. Now, we do not want you to move here, only come and visit and fly fish. As a matter of fact, only the hardy can survive the winters. We are welcoming new residents, however we locals know that they will probably be gone in 2-3 years. They simply can't tolerate the cold, snowy and short winter days and nights. Average highs in the Dec/Jan is 32 with lows around 15-20. Daylight is about maybe 7 hours. That means 17 hours of darkness. Now who would want to live in those conditions? That also equates to little winter fly fishing. 

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and longer days soon. 


Tags:  Bull River Montana Means HOGS
     Clark Fork River - Idaho / Montana
     Coeur d'Alene - Idaho's Year Round Fishery
     Coeur d'Alene (North Fork)
     Cutthroat Byway  
     Elk River - Fernie, BC, Canada
     Flathead River System - Montana
     Get Ready to Rumble - Fernie, BC, Canada

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Jack Daniels Fishing Story Revisited

This was a gift from one of my email buddies listed below. He knew JD was my flavor of choice.

"I went fishing this morning, but after a short time I ran out of worms. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth. "Frogs are good bass bait," I thought to myself.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth, I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog and snake, and put them in my bait bucket. Just then, I realized I had a problem: how was I going to release the snake without getting bit? So, I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth. The snake's eyes rolled back and he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge at my foot. There was that same snake with two more frogs in its mouth. Life is good in the South."

My thanks to my friend Tom in Tampa, FL for this tall, southern tale and his southern charm. Thanks buddy and may you enjoy many Miller Lites in paradise.

The following is not a tall tale. My younger brother and I were once fishing near Columbus, Georgia and had caught a whole stringer of bluegill. You should have seen his expression when he grabbed the stringer to take home to our mom and found a large cottonmouth attached to the bottom fish. The point is; there are other creatures than humans that like sushi. So, be careful.

Come fly fish northern Idaho and I guarantee you there will be no poisonous snakes with which you have to deal. Come to think of it, fly fishing in northern Idaho also has the advantage of fewer mosquito bites as well. Now there are bear, moose, mountain lion and other critters occasionally, but you only have to be able to run fast. 

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and you always be fleet of foot. 


         Christmas Gift Idea
         Christmas is Coming Soon
         Flies - Low Prices & Quality
         Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests
         Fishpond Gear
         Float Tube Chronicles
         Float Tube Fins
         Fly Casting Technique Book - Best Ever Written 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sierra UV StoneWorm by Richard

Looks like a stonefly--maybe even a wooly worm with legs. Who knows? I couldn't find this one anywhere. Therefore the name "StoneWorm". Hopefully this is okay. Richard, if you don't like name, let me know and I will change.

#6 or #8 hook; 10" rubber leg.

Rubber leg into quarters.

Tie in rear tail using quartered leg folded in half.
Add lead wire half-way from eye.

Now add side legs just below lead wire.

Wrap forward legs half way up lead. 
Wrap thread back to tail, secure chenille 
and wrap forward and secure behind eye.

Tie in another folded quarter rubber behind eye. 
Tie off, clip excess and add head cement if desired.

Finished chenille wooly worm with legs.
If stonefly desired add micro tubing at start. After chenille,
wrap forward and secure b/w lateral legs.

Now shorten legs, antennae and tail as above. Now guess what?
We have a stonefly. 

I have a confession, these were tied with Krystal Flash Chenille and NOT the UV product. Look almost the same though. Just don't know about the glow, but they will "flash".

Richard swears by this fly. I personally have never used but you can bet I will during and after snow melt. Idaho fly fishing should be pretty good, but remember it is winter so fish slowly and deep. By the way, we are at least planning a horseback riding & fly fishing trip to Fish Creek, MT this next summer. No dates yet so check the IDFFA Trip Page often.

Hard takes, screaming reels, tight lines and happy fly tying to ALL. And by the way, Merry Christmas as well.


Tags:  Get Ready to Rumble - Fernie, BC, Canada
     Grande Ronde River - Idaho
     Idaho River Report 2017 
     Kelly Creek, ID
     Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana

Monday, December 11, 2017

Bait Sold Here.....

I am not kidding. I was doing some research on UV chenille for a fly Richard "Sierra" turned me on to when my Google search revealed: <Richard's Sierra UV StoneWorm featured in next post>

Hareline UV Polar Chenille
Orvis UV Polar Chenille

Hareline Dubbing Polar Chenille

Bass Pro Ultraviolet Polar Chenille

Fly Shack Glow Chenille
<---"This chenille (supposedly) glows in the dark which can give your streamers an edge in those deep dark holes that hold monstrous fish. It can also be helpful in murky conditions as well. Or you can get creative and tie a dry which you can still see as twilight dwindles. Use a flashlight or even a UV light to supercharge the glow characteristics of the material just before you cast."
Fly Shack UV2 Speckled Chenille

There are many, many more. Sellers names precede the type of chenille. Prices range from $2 to $6 per package. Each should tie many flies depending on the type. This is a great material and Richard claims slays the fish. Don't know personally yet, but the flies look good. Try it and see.

Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and may your fly tying be rewarding and most of all relaxing. Come and fly fish Idaho this coming summer. 


Tags:  YSF Assam
     YSF Black Caddis
     YSF Humpy
     YSF Nuclear Ant 
     YSF Salmon Slayer
     YSF Stinger

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Crane Fly Larvae

In reviewing posts the other day, I noticed this post was "gone'. It should have been "Crane Fly" (2 words) anyway. So here is another. Easy summer fly to tie.

Start with large hook & bead head (or ostrich herl)

Next red (or whatever) thread behind.

Then body/thorax color of choice to bend/

Add dubbing.

Then ribbing (I like wire).

All the way forward.

Tie off.

Then coat liberally with epoxy. DONE!

Once finished, fish. Sinks like a rock. Who has ever seen a crane fly flying over or on top of a river? Great fly in the summer when nothing else is working.

Hard takes, tight lines and our best to ALL!


Tags: Epoxy Streamer
     Freshwater Scud
     Freshwater Shrimp
     Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
     Grey Wulff
     Grizzly Wulff

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The "Perfect" Fly

This was one of my first posts. As I read through and made few corrections, what I originally stated here in 2011 still very much holds true. By the way, your closest fly shop probably now offers tying work shops. They are worth it. Maybe your flies will be more "perfect" than mine. - YellowStoneFly (aka Idaho Angler).

There is no such thing as a "perfect" fly. Almost all companies dealing in the sale of flies will tell you that their customers decide on the purchase of flies based on their appearance. The more visually appealing and "clean" looking a fly is, the more apt the consumer is to purchase it. If you have fly fished for a number of years, you will now see what are known as "spent" flies being sold. These flies have aberrations which make them float differently and look unlike conventional flies. They are supposed to look DEAD. Just look into the water when a prolific hatch is occurring and you will see a multitude of flies of contorted shapes floating around. These are "spent" flies which have just a much protein as their living counterparts and are much easier pickings for the trout.

Cascade Crest Tying Kit
Living in the northwest, winters are not very conducive to fly fishing, so I pass a lot of my time tying flies. Some flies I tie well and some not so well. But you know what; even my ugly flies will catch fish. Sometimes they don't even float correctly, but they still work. As long as they are the correct size and color they'll work. Point being, if you can tie a half-hitch, you can tie flies. The initial investment is small and you can save a bundle. A few hooks, yarn, thread, feathers, some head cement and an inexpensive vise is all you need to start.

The following are a few suggestions for the starter fly tier. Go with an inexpensive, basic fly tying kit like the Cascade Crest - A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT. This kit has basically everything you need to get started depending on the specific flies you want to begin tying. Most of the basic feathers are included and usually delivery is quick. Here is a recent customer review: "I didn't buy this product for myself I purchased it as a gift for my brother who LOVES it. It gave me the most (very complete kit) for the money and arrived 3 days after I ordered it." As you progress, visit your local fly shop and add different feathers, thread colors and yarns. 

Now the important part of this discussion. Get yourself a really good basic fly tying book like "Fly Tying for Beginners" and learn the basics. The internet is full of tying instructions if you like, but a basic book is always a good idea. Start with easy flies like San Juan worms and scud patterns. These are really easy patterns to tie and are very effective in most rivers and streams. Realize colors and sizes may vary, so go to your local fly shop and check out what they are selling. Once you get simple patterns like these down, you can easily advance to the more complicated flies with parachute hackles and wings. Each time you tie a particular pattern, you will get faster and faster so don't give up. I promise you, if your fly doesn't look exactly like the one in the fly shop, it will still work. There is no greater thrill in this sport than catching your first fish on a fly you tied with the fly rod you built (discussion coming later on this blog).

Spring is just around the corner bringing long runs, deep pools and great fly fishing possibilities. What better way to begin the season than with a box full of flies you tied yourself. Try it and you will obtain great personal satisfaction and have some great stories to tell. Happy fishing and don't forget, Idaho fly fishing is the best!

Hard takes and happy tying to all!

Idaho Angler (IdahoAngler@live.com)