Wednesday, January 12, 2011

W. Idaho Fly Fishing Expo offers great opportunity to learn about fly fishing

Wendy catches a native cutthroat

The stuff you need (courtesy A.B. Herndon Rod Co.)

Nice brown trout (courtesy My Fly Fishing Blog)

Look at the angler's concentration ... gotta keep an eye on the fly ...

Fly fishing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon (courtesy Visit Idaho)

Hi all,

The Boise Valley Fly Fishermen are hosting the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo this weekend at the fairgrounds, and the program is geared toward teaching newbies about fly fishing. There are plenty of things going on that are of interest to the experienced angler as well.

I'd really encourage anyone who wants to get into the sport of fly fishing to attend the two-hour intro session on Friday afternoon, starting at 3:30 p.m., or the Ladies session beginning at noon on Saturday. More on that in a moment.

I've been fly fishing since the mid-1980s, and I love it. I'm not a die-hard angler, but I love to fly fish when I'm floating many of Idaho's wonderful trout streams such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, or the South Fork of the Snake River. I also like to wade fish in the Boise River or wade fish when I'm camping on the Middle Fork of the Boise River. Fly fishing can be a great way to catch trout at high mountain lakes as well.

There's something poetic about the sport of fly fishing. Watch video. It's incredibly relaxing to just hang out in the river, cast your line, listen to the sweet sound of your fly line peeling out of the reel and whizzing by your ear, and enjoy the natural environment around you. The sport requires a fair bit of concentration, so it's easy to forget about work or extraneous issues that may be causing stress in your life.

Susan Bernatas, a member of the Boise Valley Fly Fishermen who organized the Ladies program this year, agrees. "I love being on the river, watching the colors on the water, and the meditation of casting and just being out there on the water," she says.

The other benefit is that sometimes, it's easier to catch fish on a fly than using a lure or even a worm (don't mention worm fishing to a serious fly fisher :) ). Dry flies and sub-surface nymphs are replicas of real flies and nymphs. These are the food sources that fish eat to survive. When a big insect hatch occurs on a river or a high mountain lake, the fish come to the surface to feed, and it's really exciting to cast a dry fly on the water and wait for a nice fish to come up and take it.

In many cases, because our trout rivers and lakes are so clean and pure, you can actually see the fish rise from below to take your fly, and then you set the hook and watch the fish jump and dive into deep water while you patiently play it and bring it to your net.

"That's definitely a magical moment when you can see the fish come up to take the fly," Bernatas says.

Fly fishing with a single barbless hook is also a very humane way to fish because it's easy to remove the hook and release the fish back into the water. Some rivers in Idaho allow only single barbless hooks as a method of take to preserve the fishery.

Attending the clinics at the Fly Fishing Expo will teach you the basics about what equipment you'll need, tips on fly casting, what kinds of flies and nymphs to use, and during the Ladies session, there even will be a fashion show. Gotta look the part! Please pre-register if you'd like to attend the Ladies program by emailing Susan at

There are no costs to attend the clinics - just pay the nominal entrance fee of $3 per person, or $5 for two.

A large casting pond will be created for the show. Free casting clinics will allow people to get a feeling for fly casting, and you can learn a lot by watching the pros, too. But practice makes perfect ... well, sort of, depending on the wind :)
The expo will be a great opportunity for newbies to learn from the pros. Remember, it costs more than $100 for a fly fishing lesson. Check out the event and see if fly fishing is for you.
Have fun!
- SS

1 comment:

Dustin's Fly Box said...

Great blog! You got a new follower