Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Best Flies for Idaho 4 - Parahopper - a Blackfoot River Must Have for July-September

  • Hook: 2x long dry fly hook like Tiemco 2312, size 6-14
  • Body & Thorax: Tan Superfine or other dry fly dubbing
  • Wing: Turkey Tail treated with flexible cement
  • Legs: Pheasant Tail fibers, knotted. (1 on each side)
  • Parachute Post: White Poly Yarn
  • Hackle: Grizzly Saddle Hackle
For the Blackfoot River, a gray body and thorax is the best - sizes 6 & 8. For smaller Idaho streams (Tincup, Stump Creek, Upper Warm River, Moose Creek, etc.) carry some size 14 hoppers during the summer months and you'll likley catch 40-50 fish (6-12") in a few hours. The larger hoppers rarely hook any of these smaller fish even though they will try like crazy to take the fly.

I am still working on a better thorax/body that will allow the fly to remain on the surface when fished with a dropper. This pattern after a few casts tends to sink when fished with a dropper even when floatant is used. Anybody have any ideas or success stories on keeping the hopper on the surface? Let me know if you do.

Enjoy the last few weeks of fishing - if you enjoy wading through 6 inches of snow and battling sub-freezing conditions!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Best Flies for Idaho 3 - Bead Head Hares Ear


Hook:# 8-18 heavy nymph
Bead: 1/8-5/64th gold bead depending on hook size
Thread: Red 6/0 uni thread
Tail: Guard hairs from Hares mask or ear
Rib: Small gold Ultra wire
Abdomen: Hares ear plus dubbing (natural Hares –ear)
Wing case: Turkey tail feather
Thorax: Hares ear plus dubbing (natural Hares-ear)

A bead head hare's ear is a must have for any Idaho fly box. It imitates most nymph patterns and works as a prime dropper pattern off a hopper, terrestrials, wooly worms, etc. Fish will often pass the top fly only to hit the dropper hare's ear as it passes. I recommend keeping at least 8 of these in your box with sizes between 12-18 (mostly in the 14-16 range).

Good luck with your fishing!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Best flies for Idaho 2 - Adams

Size #10-#20 (or any standard dry fly hook)
Thread: Grey or black 8/0
Wing: Grizzly hackle tips (hen)
Tail: Hackle fibers~grizzly/brown/grizzly
Abdomen: Muskrat underfur
Hackle: Grizzly and Brown (rooster/neck)

The Adams is great overall mayfly imitation that works just about any time of the year when there is a mayfly hatch. All trout varieties in Idaho will take the Adams. Sizes 16 and 18 seem to the most common sizes for most Idaho streams.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best Flies for Idaho - Muddler Minnow

Hook: Size 2-10
Bead: Brass bead head sized to fit (can be tied without a bead but the weight is nice)
Weight: 6-10 wraps of lead wire
Thread: Tan 8/0
Tail: Mottled turkey wing
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Under wing: Grey squirrel tail hair, orange Marabou, pearl Krystal Flash (in order)
Wing: Mottled turkey wing, paired
Head/Collar: Spun deer hair (natural color), trimmed cone head style)

The Muddler Minnow is a great all around streamer for most Idaho streams and rivers. The Muddler is especially effective in the Salmon River Drainage when fishing for trout (i.e. 24+ inch Bull Trout). I have also caught fish in the Snake River Drainage on Muddler Minnows.

Monday, September 07, 2009

September Diversions

Like just about every September, I have been diverted from fly fishing during a great fly fishing month to pursue the rocky mountain elk across the headwaters of the Blackfoot River. Since the rut had not started, the hunting was subpar, although I did see 10 cows/calves the two days I spent hunting. I did take a little diversion to test one of the small streams for fish - I snagged a hopper and threw it into a fish worthy hole - alas I did not see any activity and lost sight of the hopper quicker than I hoped. It was a beautiful weekend and I look forward to more September days in the woods and streams. Good luck with the fishing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

McTucker Ponds Pictures

Here are some pictures from our day fishing at McTucker Ponds:

Thomas and a monster bluegill

Thomas' First Cast

Sara and smallmouth bass

Maren proudly displaying yet another bluegill

Maren and another monster bluegill

McTucker Ponds

On Saturday I took my two children (5 and 2) to McTucker Ponds out by Springfield Idaho. At the first pond I caught a couple of fish - two bluegill - one was a whopping 4" and the other 6" inches. We then switched ponds and my 5 year old daughter was the star of the day. With her barbie fishing pole, a clear bubble, and a bead head prince nymph she started catching fish like crazy. She caught 20+ fish which was fun to see. They were all small bluegill (4-6") but it was a great time. Pretty much every cast she was reeling in another fish.

The hot flies for these "monster" gills were black bead head woolly worms and bead head prince nymphs.

McTucker Ponds is a great place for little children to fish especially if you actually want to catch fish. They may not be huge but it will be fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blackfoot River - August 6, 2009

The fishing was a little slow on the Blackfoot mostly because the wind was ripping and it was difficult to set the hook when the wind was dragging your fly line across the water. We still caught caught a few fish but only netted one 19" cutthroat. I had about 10 18+ inch trout on momentarily but ended up losing most of them. Keeping my fly line with enough tension to set the hook properly was difficult with the wind. Still a great day of fishing!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Blackfoot River - Fox Hills Ranch

Here are two maps for the Fox Hills Ranch, opened for fishing access by Monsanto. For more info visit the Idaho Fish and Game website, Access Yes program at

Blackfoot River access - Monsanto Opens Fox Hills Ranch to Public Fishing

I emailed Monsanto regarding the Blackfoot River access at what is called the Fox Hills Ranch. Here is the information that I was provided by Bob Pierce:

Monsanto Opens Fox Hills Ranch to Public Fishing
Once Closed Eight Mile Section of Upper Blackfoot Now Open to Anglers

Soda Springs, ID (August 5, 2009) - The public may now fish over eight
miles of the upper Blackfoot River that has been closed for nearly a
decade. The opening was announced by Monsanto Company in Soda Springs.
The company recently purchased the Fox Hills Ranch, a 2200-acre property
bounding the Blackfoot River both to the north and south as it leaves
the highlands and empties toward the Blackfoot Reservoir.

"Keeping this property from subdivision and high-end real estate
development was our primary reason in purchasing it," noted Dave
Farnsworth, Minerals Lead for Monsanto. "But we're pleased to be able
to increase the public's access for recreational fishing opportunities."
Access to the Blackfoot River through Monsanto's Fox Hills Ranch is
limited to foot traffic and drift boats, but those boating or floating
should be cautious about cross-stream fences.

Farnsworth credited the Idaho Fish and Game Department for a
program that makes this opening possible. "Fish and Game's 'Access
Yes!' program provides a much needed framework for granting the public
access to private property. We are very grateful to them for approving
our application so as to make fishing opportunities available this

Access Yes! is an Idaho Fish and Game program designed to
improve sportsmen's access to private land. Cooperating land owners can
be compensated under the program, although Monsanto has declined to
receive any money. "The fact that Fish and Game will provide oversight
and enforcement of their own rules through this stretch of the river is
payment enough," said Farnsworth.

He concluded, "We merely ask the public to respect the
property so that other anglers can enjoy it as well."

Road directions from Soda Springs:

Travel north out of the City of Soda Springs, Idaho, on US Highway 34
going toward Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for 7.8 miles to the intersection
with the "Blackfoot River Road." Turn right onto the Blackfoot River
Road. The first bridge will cross the Blackfoot River. Continue
traveling 2 miles. The ranch property on the right will be the Fox
Hills Ranch, with the Blackfoot River running through it and clearly
visible from the road.

Thank you to Bob Peirce ( for this information and to Monsanto to allowing access to this property. Remember to respect the property, don't leave trash, and enjoy the fishing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Beadhead Hare's Ear

This is the pattern that was killer on the Blackfoot River earlier this year. All the 14"+ fish were taking this fly like crazy. They were hitting the fly at the end of the run when the fly hit the end of the fly line and there was tension on the line - essentially when the fly was floating in the whole for a few seconds. Here's the detailed info:

HOOK: 5262 or 3761, sizes 8-18 (Size 14-16 was tops on the Blackfoot)
THREAD: Brown or black
TAIL: Hares mask guard hairs or fibers clipped from a squirrel or rabbit Zonker Strip
RIB: Gold mylar tinsel or copper wire
ABDOMEN: Blended hares ear; keep it thin
WINGCASE: Turkey tail coated with Flexament
THORAX: Same as abdomen. After tying, pick out a few hairs so they look like legs


The Hares Ear can be tied weighted or unweighted. Dark brown is the most productive body color; dark olive and tan can also work well, but be sure to compare the color of wet dubbing to the natural (and wet) insect.

Monsanto Opens Section of Blackfoot River

Here is a little news tidbit for the Blackfoot River:

Monsanto opens Blackfoot River in Idaho to anglers

by The Associated Press
Tuesday July 21, 2009, 7:30 AM

SODA SPRINGS, Idaho -- Eight miles of the upper Blackfoot River will be opened to anglers after nearly a decade.

The Monsanto Co. in Soda Springs recently purchased the Fox Hills Ranch, a 2,200-acre property bounding the river, and announced it would increase public access for fishing. Dave Farnsworth with Monsanto said the company primarily wanted to keep the land from being subdivided. Access will be limited to foot traffic and drift boats.

-- The Associated Press

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blackfoot River, July 23, 2009

Fishing on the upper Blackfoot River was amazing this last week! We had four fisherman in our party and netted 50+ fish, with the majority being in the 12-18" range. I lost a couple 20+ inchers and my brother landed a beautiful 24" cutthroat. My dad also caught a couple 20+ inchers. Overall, it was an amazing day. One for the memories!

Flies of the Day: Bead Headed Hares Ear (Sizes 14-18); Parahopper - cream colored hopper (Sizes 10-14).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bead Head Prince Nymph


The bead head Prince nymph is an effective attractor or searching nymph. Especially effective as a dropper off a terrestrial fly. The para hopper/bead head Prince nymph is an especially effective combo in Southeast Idaho streams and rivers. The hopper dropper combo listed above is especially effective on the Blackfoot River.


Hook: Nymph Hook (Sizes 10-18) - any brand

Weight: Tungsten bead and lead wire

Thread: Brown

Tail: Tan goose biots (rubber hackle is a neat alternative)

Ribbing: fine gold oval tinsel and fine monofilament

Body: Peacock

Wing: White goose biots

Throat: Brown Pullet (optional)

Collar: Fox Squirrel Dubbing (Optional)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Parahopper - Fly pattern for the summer months

Para Hopper

Hook: 3x long, sizes 10, 12, 14, 16
Parachute post: white poly yarn (alternate = white calf tail)
Body: Tan antron/hare’s ear blend (grey also works well)
Wing: Turkey Tail fibers
Legs: Pheasant Tail fibers, knotted
Parachute Hackle: Grizzly

This pattern is a cutthroat magnet in the summer months. Body color variations include tan, brown, gray (my favorite), and yellow. Afternoon fishing is outstanding with this pattern. Use a bead headed prince nymph/hares ear for extra action. You may even hook two at a time!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Upper Blackfoot River - July 2, 2009

The upper Blackfoot is still high and off color. With the recent thunderstorms, expect the river to start clearing this week and into next week. There were no fly hatches of note, except a few dragon flies were beginning to hatch. There were a few caddis flies but with the water off color and unusually high there was no dry fly activity. We caught 12-15 fish. All the fish we caught were cutthroats, and mine were all > 12", with one 16" and one 20". My father landed a 20". All the bigger fish were caught on bead headed brown woolly worms; Size 4-6.

In a few weeks the hoppers will be hot and with a lot of water in the Upper Blackfoot, the big fish may hold in the river. Good luck.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stump Creek - June 26-27, 2009

Stump Creek was high and off color still. The fishing was very slow. I caught three cutthroats on a bead headed woolly worm (black and red) but other than that it was slow. The water started to clear on Saturday. If the weather clears, Stump Creek will be fishable in a week. Good Luck