Fly fishing Washington State and Idaho

My wife and I had the chance to go to Washington state and Idaho. Visiting her sister and family, they were kind enough to kick me out of the house so I could Fly Fish!!! Now that’s what I call a great family!!!!

My first river was the Spokane river that literally flows thru downtown Spokane; you can find places to Fly Fish from the banks ask the locals, all very friendly. My first port of call was to the local fly shop Silver Bow Fly Shop. Very helpful fly guys turned me on to the streams and what flies worked well when I was there. I ended getting a guided trip down the Spokane River for the day with one of their guides, Gary.



Interestingly you start the float downtown, and off you go for about six hours, which was plenty of time due to the hot sun. He put me on so many Fish, chasing Red Banded wild Rainbows at the end of the drift my arm was aching so much casting. Caught plenty of fish and lost a few I should not have!!!



Next, I fished the Little North Fork Coeur d’Alene, wet wading, a mixture of dry flies and nymphs caught some very nice cutthroat trout, fished for about 4 hours. Easy drive, you can follow the stream via a dirt road that runs alongside it.



After that, we headed to Lake Pend Orielle, where we set up camp for a few days with my wife’s family. I could sneak off and fish some of the local streams catching cutthroat, browns, and rainbows.

Again, a mixture of dry flies and nymphs. I fly fished the Pack River, Grouse creek, Moyie River, and the mighty Kootenai River.



I spend one-day wet wading on the confluence of the Moyie river running into the Kootenai River. The Moyie is much smaller, but there were so many Cut Bows in the water about fifteen feet from me that they drove me crazy. I spent hours on them, tried every fly and technique in the book only caught two that morning, both on a big dry hopper.

IMG_4403They were holding there, giving me the finger!!! Funny enough, I did move over to the side of the Kootenai for an hour or so and caught a nice size Golden Sucker on my bottom nymph; he gave me a hell of a fight in the big, fast-moving water; great fun!!!!


After that, I waded up the Moyie catching some nice, wild rainbow, who took a black woolly bugger and a nice sized black stonefly. At the beginning of the day, I was lucky enough to bump into a local guide picking up a boat—Leeanna Young of the Last Resort Outfitters. We talked, and as it happened, she had just had a cancellation for the next day. Perfect, we set up to meet at ten the following day


We left her base camp for a short drive around ten in the morning, putting in on the river about twenty minutes later.



Leeanna knows the river well and is a very accomplished guide and Fly fisherwomen, we started with three rods set up to cover all angles for the day.


First off, we were casting tiny dry flies. In a river this big and fast-moving, it can be hard to see the flies in the different sunlight, so you have to be on top of your game. The hits came quickly, and with fly cast out quite a distance, you have to be quick on the strike. At the start, I missed quite a few, but over time I got better at seeing and quicker.


Leeanna has a well set up Willie aluminum drift boat with plenty of room for two Fly fishermen /women, Ideal for drifting this big, fast-moving river.

When we fished, the Kootenai River was flowing around ten thousand cubic feet per second, but it can get up to thirty-five thousand cubic feet per second, so it can be a swift ride for sure.


Leeanna knows all the back eddies and took me many times back for a rerun on missed fished to get a better angle. The second-rod set up was for swinging big streamers, casting into the fast-moving water let it swing down thru the current, then strip back. I did miss one big fish using this method. Next, we went to a smaller lightweight nymph rig set up high, sticking the current; we did catch a few fish, however Leeanna put the rod down and promptly sat on it, breaking the tip off. Funny we had just talked about breaking rods, and there you go Murphy’s law came to play!!

Leeanna is probably my number one pick for a guide; she put me on a ton of fish, knew the river backward and forwards, told me OutFront that we would fish till dark as she wanted to be able to cover any hatches that might emerge. Leeanna has great enthusiasm and professionalism as well as catering to all my dietary needs, I’m a vegan no easy matter!!!! She has a unique way of cutting up whole Mangos!!!


The Kootenai river starts in British Columbia, winds into Montana, then down thru Idaho, eventually turning back into Montana. We started below one of the dams about thirty-five miles south of the Canadian border, very scenic float about elven miles long for the day. We were on the river from ten-thirty in the morning until just before dark getting off around eight-thirty at night; what a day!!

Wild Rainbows, Cut bows, and cutthroat trout. I lost count on the number of fish landed. I really recommend Leeanna Young as a guide; if you ever get up to that part of the world, give her a call, you will have an exceptional experience.


The diversity of Fish for fly fishing in higher elevations of Arizona.


Marc and I headed off up into the higher elevations for a four-day fly fishing and exploration trip to find new waters for us! The Apache reservation is closed due to the Cov- 19 virus so we had to improvise.


We stayed in a small log cabin in Alpine AZ, elevation eight thousand feet, using this as a base. Rustic and costing only eighty-five dollars a night for two people, perfect! Originally, we had intended to fish some of the small trout streams that are in Arizona and then head East into New Mexico.


Unfortunately, the streams were running very low with little water so we decided to head into the higher elevation and rugged country of the white mountains that border the Apache reservation, truly breath-taking country!


We fished from approximately eighty-five hundred feet too as low as five thousand feet during the next days. Mostly streams with a lot of hiking into and a few small lakes just for the fun of it. The wind was blowing a gale the whole time, so we could not get out on Big Lake to chase cutthroat trout as we felt it would not be productive. Same with Becker lake. I have been to this lake four times now and have never been able to fish due to the strong winds blowing up white caps. Not to say you could not, but for us it seemed we had better options to catch fish elsewhere.


Many miles on the back roads all gravel that are well maintained we saw Elk, Deer, Wild turkey, Ospreys, rattle snakes the odd bear print to name a few.



 Caught on the fly between us, Brown trout, Gila Trout, Apache trout, Rainbow trout, Grayling, Round Tail chub, sun Fish and Blue gill also the odd sucker.


We missed out on cutthroat, brook trout and Tiger trout!!


The lower elevations you get into a whole other bunch of warmer water species to Fly fish for that we will not talk about today as that was not our goal for this trip.


Of course, we both have a fish tale to talk about! Marc was fishing the head waters of this stream when he hooked a big nice size trout only to lose as it shook out the fly after a brief tussle!!!


 I passed him at this point as I was going up river, he told me about this fish and he was staying until he caught it. Later that night he trudged back to the truck and I asked him if he ever caught that fish?


 You will not believe this! I fished that run hard and a little later on as it was getting darker and more shadow on the run a huge missile came out took his small fly bent his rod in half and was gone just like that, it was huge!!! Very big fish, he just shook his head in disbelieve. I told him the good news is you now know he lives in that run so he will have another chance at him next time!!


My story is not as good, but I did hook a very nice rainbow easy twenty inches plus fought him and eventually brought close to my net.

 The problem was I was in a position that I could not get low to the water and with my rod as high as I could go and my net as low as I could go, we just could not meet. I looked him in the eye, eye to eye he just gave one bigger shack of his head and my line snapped right at the knot on my brown woolly bugger and like that he was gone! Just two more fish tales to add to the memories!!