Saturday, July 8, 2017

Trip of a Lifetime---4 years ago--and procrastinating journal entries.. I keep a journal of all of our fishing adventures (or misadventures at times)... four years ago I went to the Henry's Fork for a "ladies trip" and life got so busy afterwards, that I never got a chance to "pen it out". It is so fun going through looking at the pictures to refresh my memory...and writing about it. What an amazing trip and an amazing place! This September I will finally be returning to that part of the world with Brian Davenport in tow---I can't wait till he see's it down there! He won't want to come home!! It's been almost four years since that trip, and I haven't gotten to see the ladies as much as I would like--due to distance and being in BF Idaho---but I will meet up with one of them this Fall and cannot wait! Two FULL weeks of vacation to fish our hearts out!
So here I am…world’s worst procrastinator when it comes to writing things down… 

4 years ago, I went on an amazing trip of a lifetime with a bunch of ladies that I had never met before!  I had met Michelle online through an Idaho fishing Facebook page.   A group of ladies was getting together for a long weekend on the Henry’s Fork---and I was invited.  Brian gave me the go ahead---even though this is a place he has always wanted to go---but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.   For a minimal price, we would share a cabin and Shelly (who worked for Adipose at the time, would get drift boats situated so we could float the river).   So I  decided to leave out from work on Thursday at noon.  Thinking I would “overnight” camp in my rig in Montana.   This is the first time I have ever “road tripped” by myself—it was so hard driving up the Lochsa and not fishing.

It was so hard driving up the Lochsa---and not getting to fish it---arrrghh! But I had a bigger goal in mind.  I was hoping to coyote out and get up early and make the rest of the drive to West Yellowstone in the AM to meet Emily.   So…. Campgrounds in Montana are friggen expensive… so I just kept driving…and driving… finally it was dark and I was extremely tired and decided I just wasn’t going to make it all the way to West Yellowstone that night.  I ended up getting a room in a Motel 6 somewhere in Montana. 

I got up super early the next morning to finish the drive.  I still had many miles to go—and I was to meet Emily at Bud Lily’s super early, so that we could fish in Yellowstone National Park some, before we met up with the other ladies.    I finally arrived in West Yellowstone—and got my fishing license.  Kerry was taking us out to a place and fishing with us for a bit.   When you go through the West Entrance…it is just up the road a ways.   It was literally 32* out---I didn’t know it was going to be that friggen cold—but we tough it out for fishing.   That morning, there was a fog all around--- for my first “taste” of Yellowstone---it sure was creepy.   I kept expecting to see a bear emerge from the fog…but we never did see one.  Kerry gave me some pointers on how to nymph fish (arrgggh—I’m used to dry flies and cutthroat!!).   I ended up hooking one (just a lil one) but damint it was my first fish in Yellowstone NP! And I was ecstatic!

Kerry had to leave (probably to go guide someone) so Emily and I moved farther into the park.  We stopped at a place suggested by Kerry- the backdrop was amazing!  There is something really special about YNP.  It is so pristine (well, other than the gobs of people)---and so much wildlife!  

We saw some elk grazing alongside the road.   We fished this spot and damnit if I didn’t think I hooked into a huge brown.  I finally got it in…turned out it was a huge whitey!!!  Which was a first for me—so that was pretty cool too!  

We decided to head back to the place we had fished that morning… but we missed the turn off and ended up outside the park.  When we tried to turn around and get back in, we weren’t able to due to a terrible head on collision.  

Trace?  is that you???  Traffic was backed up a ways--we thought it was due to wildlife "gawking" turns out it was a pretty bad accident....

Thankfully, Emily knew another spot north of there that we could fish.  We drove along the highway, and she pulled into a turn off alongside the Gallatin River.   It was very brushy so I was concerned about bear…and was really hoping we didn’t run into one.  We fished this for awhile—it was a nice small sized section, and I caught a beautiful cutthroat! 

Finally, it was time to head towards Island Park and locate the cabin that we had rented.  After a phone call or two to Aileen—we finally got the address and made our way there.  This is where I got to meet all of the ladies.  Most of them were familiar with each other and had fished together before, at some point.  I was probably the only “newbie”.  They were all such great women, and solid fly fishers.  It was great to be in their company.

"Home" for the weekend

Now this is where the timeline starts to get shaky—as I remember what we did—just not exactly the order…since it was  4 years ago…

I believe the next morning, we stopped at Trout Hunter to meet up with all of the drift boats and get any last minute supplies.   Our first stop of the day was the Harriman Ranch.   I imagine the folks that were already fishing there, thought holy hell what the heck are all these women doing here!  We spread out and got to fishing.  If memory serves correct, the only one that hooked into one was Heidi.   I had a bump on a Black Betty fly… but that was it.  The gentleman that was down from me hooked one—and he was nice enough to share the knowledge that once you wade out—to be sure and look behind you, as they “fill in” and start feeding between you and the shore sometimes.  We also saw some Pelicans—which was just neat.  It was a really windy rainy day though—I look forward to fishing it in some nicer weather.

Photo credit to Michelle Babcock (if memory serves correct)

From there, we headed towards Warm River, as we were doing the Warm River to Ashton Float.  We stopped at this one spot that had a ton of huge football shaped fish!  You could wade or fish there, but it was really neat seeing them.

Photo by Aileen Lane

Photo credit to JB McCollum
So fishing from a drift boat is completely different than anything I have ever done before!!  I got to ride in Ginger, with Shelly on the oars, and Heidi.   They were both great, knowing that I had never fished from a drift boat before.  The float was pretty uneventful as far as fish go—at least in our boat.  Emily brought a huge brown to hand.  It was gigantic!  At the very end of the float, by the Bridge before the take out…we finally had our moment!  We were both hooked up on a couple of nice rainbows!   It was so exciting!

Photo credit to JB McCollum
Photo credit to JB McCollum

The next day, some of the crew was going to put in and float the Box Canyon section, but there wasn’t enough boats for everyone.  Holly offered to take me someplace else, that we could catch fish… so I said what the heck—I’m game.     Holly took me to just below the Island Park dam.  I never would have thought that one could wade out there, but she assured me that it was okay—some deep spots, but if you were careful, it was okay.  Nymphing was the choice at that location.  She hooked and landed a really good one…and I hooked a small one and got him to net.   Then I hooked one that was most likely a personal best—I’m not sure how big he was, because he came off before we could net him.   I have a date with that fish when we return in September ;)

That night, I believe is the night Ms. Patti made gin and tonics for everyone---whew!  I don’t drink often (especially back then) and after a couple of them, well, we were all pretty much crawling up stairs to our bunks.

The next morning, a group of us went down below the dam again to fish for a bit, before we all had to head home.  I ended up leaving pretty soon, as I had a looong drive back to Lewiston.   We said our goodbyes and off I went.  I did stop at the Grubstake and pick up a few things before heading out of town.

On the way home, I just had to stop a few places along the Lochsa and try my hand at “nymphing”.  I stopped at two places and caught cutthroats and a whitey at both… I also learned that some bushes that I curse during the summer months, have a massive load of blackberries on them in the fall!

It was such a quick trip, and such a long ways to go---but it was one that I will never forget—even though 4 years now,  the timelines are a little fuzzy---but the memories will never leave!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Top 3 Innovations in 20 Years-Fly Tying

I recently saw an article on Facebook from the Billings Gazette by Bob Krumm called "Fly Tyers name greatest innovations in craft". In this article he spoke with some "Contemporary" fly Tier's at the Western Rocky Mountain Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers Expo, which included folks such as Frank Johnson, Bob Jacklin, Al & Gretchen Beatty, Lee Sieckmann, John Newberry, John Kimura and Jim Ferguson.

The question Mr. Krumm posed to the tiers was “What do you consider the three greatest innovations in fly tying in your lifetime?”

Here is a link to the article so that you can see their answers.

I am not even close to the level of this group of people, but I have been fly tying for a little over 20 years and this article got me to thinking about what I thought was in my opinion, the top three innovations. Here are my thoughts and why I think they are the 3 greatest innovations.


My first thought on the greatest innovation is thread. It has come a long way in the last 20 years it is thinner but yet stronger and a lot more colors.

My 2nd thought is materials. Metz was the big name when I started and the hackles were good but the ones out today are longer, stiffer hackles and again more colors. There are also a lot more choices for dubbing, and synthetics are by far more available.

Picture by 
And finally the 3rd and quite possible the greatest innovation, is the Internet.  When I first started to tie flies you could get a book with patterns, or one with how to tie a fly and if you looked real hard you could find a few video cassette's that were good at showing how it was done.  Now if you want to learn to tie a fly you can find all kinds of instructions on the Internet-- be it a particular pattern or just a new technique.

And there you have it my two cents on the three greatest innovations in fly tying in the last twenty years.

What do you think is the greatest innovation we would love to hear what you think so let us know?

Until next time tight lines and Screaming drags.

Brian D.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fly Tiers the Unsung Heroes of Fly Fishing Shows

There are a lot that go into putting on a fly fishing show.  The venue, the vendors, the programs, the workshops and the fly tiers and more.  All are very important to the success of the show. The big names and the programs and workshops are what draws the crowds, and everyone want to see the great new products that the vendors have.

            But there is a group of folks that are, in my opinion, the heart of any fly fishing show-- the demonstration fly tiers. Don't get me wrong- every one of these groups are very important to a good show. You have to have the Programs and Workshops to draw in the crowds- these are usually folks that are local heroes or folks that are paid for their time (“star” of the show”/etc.), or vendors that are already there with a booth.  Many are local, but some come from a ways away to sell their wares.  The vendors pay for booth space and/or donate to the clubs in exchange for their space. 

            Then there are the demonstration fly tiers. Britt has been in charge of getting tiers and organizing that portion of the show here in Lewiston for three years now.  The first time she organized the tiers, we were amazed that these folks come all the way to a show and did their demo tying without compensation!  That’s right-- these folks travel to different shows and are not paid for doing it. We have had folks come from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Canada and Utah to tie here in Lewiston. Some do sell their flies, some sell DVD's or some other items to help offset the cost but these folks are not paid travel expenses or lodging or for their time, so why in the hell do they do it?

            These folks drive from their homes, stay for two days to tie flies for two to four hours or more, with their own materials and don't get any pay for it (and often donate their flies to interested show-goers!).  So why do they do it?  The answer is simple- for the love of what they do and the chance to teach someone about fly tying, or to get someone interested in this part of the sport of fly fishing.

            These folks, I say folks because it is not just men, there are some damn fine women tiers. They take time away from their day jobs, travel for hours to get to a show just so they can set up their vice and tie flies- hoping that there will be lots of people come thru and sit down in front of them and ask "What are you tying" or "That looks good , how do you do that". Believe it or not that, is the reward these folks are looking for- just someone to sit down in front of them and ask questions, someone to show interest in what they are doing.
            This year Britt and I were invited to tie at the Western Rocky Mountain Council of the International Fly Fishing Federation show in Coeur d'Alene. We packed up our vices and materials and went up on Saturday to tie. Britt and I have tied at a couple of shows this year really just getting started in the Demo tying. We saw some of our fly tying friends there, and had a great time!  That is one other thing I have learned about this group of folks "the demo fly tiers"- they are like a big family.
It was a good show! I had a few people sit down to watch, but Britt was in 7th heaven when a young man of about 15 and his mother sat down and started asking questions about what she was tying and how to do this and that at the tying bench. After the show, as we were driving home, she looked at me and said "I finally get it! It was amazing to have someone sit down that was egger to learn about the sport and what we do!" I see us going to a lot more shows as demo tiers in our future.
            So the next time you attend a fly fishing show and your walking around and you see the folks at the tables tying up flies, take a few minutes to sit down and ask questions.  That is why these folks are there, and believe me you won’t be bothering them! That’s what they came to the show to do, is to tie flies and share what they are doing. If you do you might be rewarded with a fly or two of your very own--you never know.

Till next time tight lines and screaming drags,
Brian D.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Well so far this year, man what a start to the year.
Brittany has been busy with being president for the fly fishing club. All sorts of things happening there. Me getting healed up from surgery for a broken wrist.

We bought a new house. Boy is it ever perfect for us, a 2 car garage turned into a family room our fly tying room, a big shop in the back yard we love it.

Brittany and I are both learning to Spey cast so we will be ready for the next steelhead run can't wait to feel the first tug.
We attended the Ellensburg IFFF show with our friend Tom and Jennifer, we got to see a lot of our friend at the show and the four of us had a great time it was an absolute blast. Can't wait to do it again.

We have been out fishing only a few times so far once to Lake Winchester for a club outing it snowed in the morning but we did catch a few fish, we used a drift boat in the morning and float tubes in the afternoon. Britt and I took turns on the sticks. Doesn't look like we will get near the trips we had last year but got to go for quality not quantity.

Made a trip to the St. Joe tough fishing during the run off but we did catch a few fish each, Britt hooked in to a nice little 12 inch Cutthroat and had a big old Bull Trout take a swipe at it.  Was a great day trip.

We sold our camper and got a new tent to get us thru until we get a new camper probably in the next year or two.

Took a long weekend trip to the North Fork of the Clearwater / Kelly Creek that turned out to be a different kind of weekend not what I would call great, water was high and cold did catch a few fish some nice ones but managed to lock my keys in the truck while we were there so Brittany can now cross busting out a window of a rig off of her bucket list.
Thing is if you are out in the middle of nowhere often enough you will lock your keys in the rig sooner or later it's just the way it is. If you have never had it happen count yourself lucky so far but trust me it will. 

And if you follow Britt on Facebook you know she has won a lot of stuff on there, me not so, well I Would like to thank High Mountain Angler Magazine and Otter net company I was contacted that I have won their giveaway and my silver creek net is on its way from Otter Nets can't wait to land some big old trout with it.

And then to top off I was just promoted to Detention Supervisor. Its going to be an interesting summer for sure. Don't know how much fishing we will get in, not enough, never get enough time fishing. But we will make the best of what time we do get. I promise you that.

Until next time, and it won't be such a long time in between.

Bent rods and Screaming Drags

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Long time no post

Folks we are truly sorry it's been since November since we last posted. 
But it has been a very busy winter. It started off with me ( Brian) having surgery to fix a broken wrist, I fished on it broken all summer. 
Then our landlord told us we had to move so she could move in, so the hunt was on and we found and bought our own house. 
Also my dear wife was made Kelly creeck flycasters very first woman president and we have been busy working on the North Idaho Fly Fishing Expo that will take place in March. 
As for fishing Britt did make it out 3 times to try her hand at steelhead fishing after a lesson from our friend Craig. She had to no takes but was out there, while I stood by on the bank arm in a cast.
 Just wanted to give everyone a quick update, sorry no pics working off of my phone.
 So we are still around more to come soon we promise. Until next time we meet bent rods and screaming drags

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hustle and Bustle of September

As I sit here gazing out the window, the snow continues to fall and I contemplate that 
our first snow here in the Valley is today, only the 5th day of November.  To many this may seem late, but here in the Valley, we may go all year without snowfall (well at least in those years we are lucky!) With the obvious signs of winter setting in, I think back to the past few months---

Summer fishing was so-so…with rather high water temperatures and relatively low water levels, we were able to seal the deal on a good number of native cutthroats, but far less than what we came to expect from our exploits last fall. 

As September set in, we hit the ground running as mentors for the annual KCF Women’s Clinic.   As always, this was a great time and a great experience!  With just over a year fishing under my belt, I made the leap and decided to be a mentor this year rather than a participant.  It was during this trip, that I realized actual amount of knowledge I had gained over the past year.

We returned that Monday from the Women’s Clinic outing, in a rush to get my gear repacked for the very first Trout Chicks trip.  A group of 10 of us women, that have met through various blogs, emails and FB pages decided to meet up for a weekend of fishing and fun on the legendary Henry’s Fork!

(Photo by JB McCollum

 This weekend provided me some amazing opportunities to fish with some new friends, experience fishing from an Adipose drift boat, and even some new culinary adventures for us sheltered type folk.  It was truly a once in a lifetime trip for me, and I thank those individuals that made it possible, both Michelle and Shelley.  These two ladies busted their a$$es to make this a simply epic (yes, epic! Because that is the cool fly fishing lingo) trip!  Again, I returned home that Monday and Brian had already started getting our gear together for our annual trip to the North Fork of the Clearwater.  As much as I enjoyed the first two trips in September, I was dearly looking forward to this trip.  Brian and I have made it a sort of annual outing towards the end of September, to fish the North Fork and camp.  This year, our annual trip was expected to be more enjoyable as we had our camper to retire to for those chilly September nights.  The forecast was not looking good, the days prior to the trip---a forecast full of rain and cold weather was not what I was hoping for, but that is exactly what was delivered!  The fishing was more what we expected for the area this time.  The hoppers were still out in force, and the typical caddis and BWO activity made for some nice dry fly fishing.  Brian was even able to hook up and bring to hand a fish we had been targeting since early in the month at the Women’s Clinic. 

The day of my birthday, I chose to head up river to Kelly Creek.  We have fished Kelly Creek a number of times; never seeming to have much luck…and this day was no different.  It was pouring out, so we decided to call it a day and head back to camp.  Being as determined as we are, and having an extremely leaky camper to return to, we decided to hit the water right in front of Flat Camp.  It is usually good for at least a few fish.  By now, it was literally pouring out.  I expected the thunder and lightning to start any time, which would officially put an end to the day…but it never did come, just rain and more rain.  I waded out fairly far, casting some larger bugs but having no luck.  I then noticed some fish rising to the surface not 15 feet away.  Try as I might I could not see what they were hitting on.  I tried various flies…cast after cast, it seemed as though they were pushing mine out of the way for this unseen treat!  It was about 7 different flies in, that a tiny BWO flitted by amongst the rain drops.  I never would have imagined that they would be hitting BWOs in such a downpour, but alas…that is exactly what they were doing!  I tied on a tiny BWO with my frozen hands.  First cast…nothing… second cast...FISH ON!  It was a nice size cutty that at least took the skunking out of my birthday!  Fish continued to rise all around me-in front of the large submerged boulders.  I hollered to Brian to tie on a BWO—and shortly he was catching fish left and right.  At one point, we both had a fish on.  Usually, when we have a double hook up, it always results in one of us losing the fish…we had up until this point, never had two in hand at the same time!  Today was the day though!  We were both able to net our quarry and get them together for a rough photo shot.

This was the best birthday present I could have asked for!  Being in the pouring rain, with my fishing partner, a double hook up to net and more fish on the way!  Eventually the fishing died down and we headed back to our leaky accommodations.

My fishing buddies! Love them!

All three of them! For "city" dogs-they sure adapted to fly dogs fairly well! Even Muzzy was trying to wade the river this trip!

One of the beauties from the trip! It jumped clear out of the water when it took my stimulator!  Not even a second after the fly landed in the water!  It was the most amazing "take" so far!

Oh....and I have come to LOVE bugs!  Never never ever thought I would say that!  Just love them! They are so damn cool!

Oh, and one last cool Pic I snapped of the Clearwater at Pink House----just like the pic :)

And one of my fly doggies...Beman Jethro brave for a dog that wouldn't jump 6" of water 2 ft wide in the spring! We have come a long ways in just a few trips!

This one just makes me giggle... old age and treachery will outdo youth and enthusiasm every time!  I can just see that is what Muzzy is thinking at this point!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The St. Joe … A love, Hate relationship

If you follow our blog, we are glad that you do; if you don’t we would sure like it if you did!

   You can see from past blogs April (Elk hunt 2011) and (Stonefly’s, BWO's and lessons learned---spring fishing on The Joe), what I mean by I have a love hate relationship with the St. Joe. There are a couple other things that make the St. Joe hard to love and that is the fact that after the spring runoff you are never alone on the weekends and the St. Joe has one of the largest “tube hatches” around.

   Well in July it worked out that I had a long weekend after the 4th so I figured that as I had Monday the 8th of July off and most everyone else would have to be back to work I decided that it was time that the Joe and I have another go at it.

   I was up and out the door and 3hrs later rigged up and on the water above the town of Avery, with no one else in sight. The first place I stopped I notice several Stoneflies fluttering about and hooked into a few decent fish and after a little bit I move on up the river to the next likely looking place to fish. It had a nice little gravel beach and a deep run between two riffles.

  I decided to start just above the lower riffle and work my way up to the next one.  With a Stimulator tied on, I had a very slow start.  With only 3 fish landed, I waded out as far as I dared into belly deep water so that I could cast over the current to the other side of a great looking seam.  A beautiful drag free drift of my fly and a huge mouth swam from the depths to engulf my fly.  I raised my rod and set the hook; gave a war cry and the fight was on. There is nothing in this world like the sound when a fish is peeling drag. The fish first ran for cover behind a large rock down below, I put right side pressure on it and began moving myself to shallower water. The fish decided he wanted to go below the large riffle to the next pool so with left side pressure and me in hot pursuit (I don’t run for most things, but this I ran for); I finally convinced the fish he needed to stay in this pool.
So with his mind changed the fish decided that he would charge me, reeling as fast as I could and some more fast foot work, he took off for the other side of the river again. More screaming reel and more side pressure finally with this beast in shallower and slower water I got him in the net.

   With a quick set up of the camera I did manage to get a few pictures of this, my biggest fish to date an 18” beauty that I caught on my new 4 weight rod.

I saw a total of 6 other fisherman on the water and no “tube hatch.” I landed and released a great fish and was headed home to tell Britt all about the day I had on the Joe. Might even say I got myself a little payback for April.

Until next time;

 Bent rods and screaming drags.