Monday, October 8, 2018

Streamer Junkies - Eastern Idaho 2018

Eastern Idaho is a fly fisherman's dream; miles and miles of rivers packed full of trout. There's never enough time to explore all the water available in the time the average angler has on a trip. Those angling possibilities grow even more if you have a boat; a sobering reality to 3 fly fishing junkies. Joining me would be my long time fishing and hunting buddies, Camron and Kevin. Both friends had to move to Utah for work after college so our adventures have thinned in the last several years. Our trip had been planned since May: fish for 4 days on 4 different pieces of water in Kevin's new drift boat. Kevin had not been on a fishing trip with Camron and I before, so he was in for a treat.
"What's everyone thinking for breakfast? I'm pretty traditional; eggs, bacon, hash browns and sausage." Kevin asked in our group text message prior to the trip.
"Traditional for Cam and me is Poptarts and yogurt, man. We fish hard from sun-up to sun-down." I replied.
"If you want to wake up before light and make it, we won't stop you." Camron added. 
"You guys are hardcore! No sleeping in on this trip!" Kevin responded.
Our 4 days didn't exactly mesh up perfectly. I would drive over a half day early and they would stay a day later. Noon the first day I found myself standing in the peaceful water of the Henry's Fork with a streamer rod in my hand. I fished hard until dark and landed numerous browns; a great start to the trip.

At dark, Camron and Kevin showed up. They were quite the sight in a diesel pickup pulling a 30 foot camp trailer with a drift boat behind that.  

These were deluxe accommodations for Cam and I, and we certainly weren't complaining! We fixed dinner and toasted to a great trip.
"We're now all working in our desired careers guys. It feels good to be adults! We have arrived!" I said while toasting, producing a laugh out of all.

The first day of fishing we floated a new stretch of the Henry's Fork. Streamers and hoppers were the game and a decent number of fish were caught. It's always fun to fish new water, even if nothing monstrous was caught.

We immediately followed up our float with a night float! It was too hard not to take advantage of the full moon. We moused our brains out until 11pm only to receive a couple "kisses" to our flies.

By 7 am the next morning we were launching the boat on another new section of water. This float was long but fun, fish were caught and more tests will be needed in the future. 
By the end of the second day our arms were starting to really tire.
"Man, I'm getting too old for this streamer stuff!" I said, shaking my arm out.
"Yep, this is a young man's game." Camron added.
"Ryan, you're about the most prepared for this stuff. Camron and I both work desk jobs!" Kevin exclaimed.
"Well, if I wasn't casting this old rod with a boat anchor for a reel up here, Kevin!" I said referring to the oversized Pflueger Medalist click and pawl reel attached to a custom made 7 weight rod.
"Hey those reels are classics!"
I didn't have room to complain since I could be using my Helios 2 rod that was also sitting in the boat, but it was only rigged with a floating line. 

Day 3 we decided to hit a lower section of the South Fork of the Snake. The old cottonwood bottoms were gorgeous with the leaves just starting to turn. In a couple weeks this place would be amazing with colors. Bald eagles and osprey flew about. I could see how this river was so well liked. We had already caught a couple cutthroats on streamers before we pulled over on a great looking nymphing riffle.
Camron and Kevin immediately starting picking up fish; both whitefish and trout, including one very large brown trout.
Strangely enough, this 20 inch brown was the largest trout we had caught yet, and it wasn't on a streamer but on a stonefly nymph. 

We continued down the river with the fishing only improving. Kevin was on the oars when we hit a very "fishy", but short bank.
"Oh guys this bank looks good." Kevin said as we approached.
Camron threw a cast next to the bank. BOOM! A fish grabbed his fly and he was hooked up. I made a quick cast to a likely pocket and a flash darted out from the depths but missed the fly. I looked in front of me to see Kevin practically day dreaming on the oars, the boat flying by all the good stuff.
"Pull Kevin, pull!" I said shaking my head. "It would be nice to get more than one cast into a spot."
"Sorry guys! Gosh Ryan, didn't know we had a boat Nazi aboard!"
I laughed, "That's just one of those things you do when your casters are hitting a good bank; you slow the boat down!"

We drifted along, swapping spots frequently. 
"I think I love this river." I said, after releasing another brown trout as we drifted along towards the next riffle.
"Yep, this river is pretty incredible." Kevin added as he casted to another "fishy" spot.
We caught fish all the way down. Just before the take-out, Camron stuck another big brown. 
We finished out the float, tired and sore but with big smiles on our faces. None of us are much for trying to count the number of fish we catch, so we couldn't give an exact number, but I'm sure we each landed about 20 fish in a 7 hour float.
"Man, being a streamer junkie for 3 days is hard." Camron said.
"I think I just want to stare at a bobber for while!" Kevin added.
"Gosh Cam, I think we wore the poor little bugger out!" I laughed.
I had to head back home, but Camron and Kevin stayed until the next day, fishing more streamers and catching more browns.
It's always fun making special trips with friends. During the trip we talked about all the other potential trips the 3 of us should make in the future. A repeat to Eastern Idaho will surely be in the future!