On Friday I arrived at Ellis, Idaho and met up with Tom to try and nail my first steelie right off the bat. It was outrageously warm (near 70 degrees) and the fish were making a huge push upstream. That day, the hatchery numbers of steelhead on the Pahsimeroi River ( a major trib of the salmon), had more than doubled with over 400 fish entering the hatchery in one day. This was pretty impressive to me and it explained why we were not getting into fish. Later that evening, Tom talked to a few of his friends who guide on the Salmon. They explained to him that they had not touched a fish all day. I was not in any way deterred by the day and I went to bed ready to wake up early to get out on the water again.
Big Horned sheep
Tom working a nice run
Saturday morning Tom had to do some work around the ranch so Kate and I met up with Toms good friend Ryan. I had the opportunity to meet Ryan this past fall when I visited Kate and Tom and I must say, he knows what he's doing when it comes to fly fishing. "Beatty" as we call him, is as technical as they come and I have learned so much from just the one time that I fished with him. I was ready to learn more.
We headed to a nice stretch of river and got to fishing before 9:30. The day was slow again. I swung flies most of the time and I became pretty frustrated. It was weird being so confident on every single swing and then having your hopes crushed as your fly tails out into the slack water downstream of you and there is no take from a fish. I was very patient, but after 6 hours of swinging through multiple runs with multiple colored flies, my spirits were down. I did manage one grab on the day which I wasn't prepared for. We returned to the ranch and I wondered if I would ever even hook one of these elusive fish.
On Sunday we decided that we really wanted to just catch some fish so Kate, Tom, Beatty and I headed over to the Big Lost River to target some nice bows. We were not disappointed as we all got into the fish quickly. The amount of fish in the shallow creek was pretty amazing. They were very picky to start and it was hard to decipher the dry fly fishing, despite there being almost every single fish sipping midges.
An average Big Lost bow
A nice bow landed by Tom
Beatty was the man on Sunday with more than 20 fish. He had the pattern dialed in with a special still-water pattern that he invented. The fish just seemed to kill it. It was interesting to see such a unique fly pattern catching so many fish. I had a pretty great day but the best part what watching my sister Kate fight a nice bow that smacked her copper john. She had experienced a pretty rough day up until then but her patience was rewarded with the feisty fish. She fought the fish like a pro. I must say though, she was lucky to have Tom there to walk her through the fight.
Beatty, the fly fishing master
Kate fighting a feisty bow
We all managed double digits of fish and had a great time on the sunny, 70 degree day. The Big Lost is a pretty beautiful river, surrounded by peaks greater than 10,000 feet and we couldn't of asked for a better setting. Overall we all had a great day of fishing. We returned home and had some pizza and BBQ chicken at Beatty's.
The prestigious Big Lost
On Monday I decided that it would be best for me to get back to Missoula. Had some trouble getting back over Lost Trail pass which was covered with snow and ice. I eventually made it safely into Montana. Driving along the Bitterroot, I couldn't help myself. I fished for about an hour and a half on the upper root and managed close to 10 fish, most of them being cutties and one nice colored up cuttbow. The water was a little off colored but the fish still found the flies.
Overall it was an awesome trip to Idaho. I had a great time fishing new water and seeing Kate, Tom and Beatty. I didn't get the steelie that I wanted, but I'm sure I'll be back to Idaho soon to complete that goal. Thanks to Tom for everything and Beatty for giving me the knowledge that sometimes, one must think outside the fly box to catch fish. I look forward to returning to Idaho to fish again soon!