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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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Inexpensive Fly-fishing Gear

Interesting article. Items listed here are not necessarily the ones I would purchase, but the premise is correct. You don't have to spend a lot to have a great time on the water. Article from Adventure Journal. Come and fly fish Idaho now. Water is perfect!

Don’t Be Afraid of Inexpensive Fly-fishing Gear

A sub-$40 reel can catch just as many trout as a $500 reel.

By  -

I’ve been trout fishing for more than a decade but it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve begun taken on the never-ending obsession of fly fishing. Why’d I wait so long? Because I thought fly fishing was insanely expensive (it certainly can be) and a complicated bore to learn. I was already catching plenty of backcountry trout with spinning tackle, why bother to take on a costly new method? Made sense to me.

Then I borrowed a buddy’s fly rod and reel, miraculously landed a couple trout on my first time out and suddenly I understood. I often have more fun getting skunked while fly fishing than I do actually catching fish with lures. This is a cliche often spouted by longtime fly fishermen, but it’s totally true.

But even though I was hooked from the get go after trying fly fishing I was still completely intimidated by the cost and complication of entry. To work around that, I borrowed a page from my spincasting playbook—I bought a sturdy but inexpensive reel to go with a hand-me-down rod and boom, I was in business for less than $80, including fly line and a decent selection of flies.

My inexpensive setup has served me well for the past couple seasons and I couldn’t be happier. It’s landed me Montana trout from the Gallatin, plenty of cutthroat trout in the Sierra, and lots of panfish in Marin County lakes.

I bought the Okuma Sierra 5/6 reel for about $36, and for the couple years I’ve owned it, I couldn’t be happier. It sports a diecast aluminum frame with a one-way roller bearing and a stainless steel drag system. You can switch quite easily from right to left-handed retrieve in about two minutes. The drag is adjustable, but really you get only “very little drag” or “a whole ton of drag” but really, for a reel of this size, drag isn’t that important. It’s a got a faux-wood grain crank handle which looks pretty cool too. It’s a perfectly simple little reel with very little that can go wrong and I expect it to last many years with no problems.


For the most part, I use this reel on backcountry trips into the high Sierra. I carry it in a beer coozy and occasionally drop it onto granite, pavement, rivers. The trout I’m usually fishing are small—less than two pounds—so my reel is effectively just acting as a line holder. An expensive drag system is great when you’re trying to land eight-pound brownies, but for skittish stream trout, a bulletproof, reliable reel like the Sierra is ideal.

Does it feel as good in the hand or as smooth as a $500 reel? I really hope not for the sake of people who spend $500 on reels. I have fished with a few pricey reels and, boy, you sure could adjust the heck out of the drag, I guess. But I didn’t catch many fish with them.

I’ve also fished with people who were sporting shiny, fancy reels and brand new rods, and waders that cost more than my entire fishing kit combined. But they didn’t land any more fish than me and my sub-$80 setup.

That’s not a testament to my superb fishing ability—far from it. It’s merely an anecdote to point out that it’s not the cost of the gear that lands the fish. I waited way too long to dip a toe into fly fishing because I was worried about spending too much money. Turns out, cheapskate fly fishing is not only possible, but the best way to start a debilitating lifelong obsession.
$39 • BUY

Wanna get into fly fishing on the cheap? Could do worse than these bits of kit.

Redington makes some pretty compelling fly-fishing gear at great prices. Their Crosswater Combo comes set up with everything you need: reel, rod, and it’s pre-spooled with good line, all for around $115, depending on the size you choose. • BUY

The reel I borrowed for my first time fly fishing was made by Ross and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since. Their entry-level Eddy reel has a nice big arbor to help reel in line quickly. $75 BUY

My Okuma Sierra is becoming harder to find, but their SLV model is just as good and just as much a bargain at around $54 • BUY

Article provided through the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog.


Tags:  Chest Packs v. Fishing Vests
     Fishpond Gear
     Flies - Low Prices & GREAT Quality
     Float Tube Chronicles
     Float Tube Fins Forward
     Fly Casting Technique Book 



Friday, June 16, 2017

Oxymoron of the Day

Sign north Idaho--Requirement for burn permits established at state level.
Okay. Rivers are DOWN (at least in northern Idaho--snow melt gone)! Get out there and Idaho fly fish NOW!


Tags:  BUCKET LIST ( ... of Fly Fishing)
     Bull River - Montana * * * * * * *
     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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

South Dakota

From a recent trip in South Dakota by Idaho Fly Fishers Association member "Big Chief".

Looks like he had a really good, successful trip. All were caught near Rapid City, SD in the Black Hills. Thanks for sharing Ronnie!

Hard takes. Tight lines.


     Big Hole River - Montana
     Big Horn River - Montana
     Big Wood River - Idaho
     Bitterroot, MT - Spring - Skwala

Monday, June 5, 2017

Kootenai River, MT Ramps

The 3 equidistant ramps on the Upper Koot, MT -- Each a full day float.
The mighty Kootenai is an overlook stretch of GREAT trout tail water in Montana. It is rarely fished due to its difficult access. Airports are Spokane, WA and Kalispell, MT and Missoula, MT. Kalispell is probably the closest at 2 hours with the others being about 3 hours.

September and October tend to be the best month as the days shorten and water cools and flows decrease. After about mid-September there is said to be an "October moth" hatch which I believe to be a giant caddis or large "Aquatic Moth". Nymphing on the bottom produces about 50/50 whitefish.

Catches range from large Bulls below the dam (which you cannot keep in the USA) to gigantic Bows just about everywhere. Throw in some nice Browns and many 12"-14" fish and days can be quite memorable. My personal best on the Kootenai was a 24" Bull just below the Kootenai dam. A buddy caught a 24" rainbow that day as well. That was the first weekend in October 2006.

The Idaho Fly Fishers Association has a trip going September 13-15, 2017 with 14 participants. There is still time to join us. Simply go to the Idaho Fly Fishers Trip Page (or email me) and make your reservations today. We make NO profit. It is simply fun for all laced with cigars, Jack Daniels, good food, tall tales, poker and terrible jokes.

Hot takes and tight lines to all. The Idaho / Montana fly fishing season is upon us--FINALLY!


Tags:  Kootenai River - Idaho / Montana
     Kootenai River in August
     Kootenai River - No Hoot Owl
     Missouri River - Montana
     Moyie River - Idaho
     Moyie River Rainbow

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Memorial Day - 150,000 Pageview Milestone

Memorial Day 2017 was a very important day for this blog. Not only did it signify perhaps our most important national holiday, but we here at the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog crossed the 150,000 pageview threshold. This is a significant milestone for any blog. Below, please find listed:
Our Most Popular Posts

Nov 6, 2010, 2 comments
Jan 6, 2012
Oct 18, 2010, 1 comment

As you can see from above, we have been in existence for almost 8 years since October of 2010 and have 421 (now 422) published posts to our credit. Ironically our 5th most popular post was also our very 1st post as well.

This blog is a hobby and can sometimes be very cathartic. Come and be one of our followers and let us know about your favorite river, fly and rod. Unfortunately I still have a day job, so I will post when we can. Also, we love feedback, so let us know what you think about these grammatically poor posts as well.

Hard takes, tight lines, sore arms, screaming reels and come Idaho fly fish this summer. PS-our waters are finally beginning to drop and hatches are beginning as well.


Tags: The Bull River, Montana
     Moyie River - What, where, when?.
     Homemade Floatant
     Sandpoint Idaho Fly Fishing
     The Kootenai River, ID/MT