Fishing Bamboo on the Salmon River, Idaho

It’s interesting how quickly trout respond to changes in river conditions.  For the past several days, the Salmon River here in Stanley, Idaho has been blown out from flash floods that resulted in serious mud being dumped into the river.  The normal crystal clear Salmon River had become a water system of chocolate milk, with visibility being reduced to nearly zero.  But, a few days ago the river started to clear and Mary Ann and I were able to get out on the drift boat with one of my 8′  3″  5 wt. bamboo fly rods.  We weren’t really expecting much out of the day but the fishing gods smiled on us.  We managed to raise several fish on tan hoppers, and large streamers stripped through the deep runs worked also.  Here are a couple of fat fish that came to the boat:

The Salmon River after clearing from a muddy mess.

The Salmon River after clearing from a muddy mess.

A fat Westslope Cutthroat that took a large JJ Special streamer pattern.

A fat Westslope Cutthroat that took a large JJ Special streamer pattern.

A beautifully colored up Westslope Cutthroat that took a hopper.

A beautifully colored up Westslope Cutthroat that took a hopper.

 

 

First Fish On Bamboo

I recently built a new bamboo fly rod, 8′  3″  medium action 5 wt, for Noel from Australia.  On a visit to the states, I got the chance to present the rod to him and take him fishing with his new rod.  On one of my favorite creeks here in central Idaho, Noel was able to hook this great cutthroat on a #14 tan ant pattern.

First Fish on Bamboo

First Fish on Bamboo

Fishing Bamboo on Bear Valley Creek, Idaho

I’ve had the opportunity to fish one of my favorite stretches of water on Bear Valley Creek near Stanley, Idaho over the past week.  Bear Valley Creek offers spring creek like water for sizable cutthroats, smaller feisty brookies, a few rainbows, and whitefish.  But, fishing there is not always beginner fishing 101….it often can be graduate level and very technical if you want to tempt the larger fish.  Sometimes, you can’t seem to raise a fish, other times, you opportunistically catch a few isolated fish on a variety of dry fly patterns.  But, occasionally the stars all align properly and you slay a big cutthroat like the one pictured below.  But, its really all about getting out with a bamboo fly rod, an old Hardy reel, and experiencing a beautiful piece of water in total solitude…it’s not about the numbers of fish you catch.

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

A Big Cutthroat That Rose to a Little Yellow Sally Dry Pattern.

Visit with Rick Robbins

Rick Robbins, bamboo rod maker extraordinaire from Lexington, Virginia, spent a couple of days with Mary Ann and I here in Stanley, Idaho this week. Wow, what a wealth of knowledge around taper designs and rod making.  He also sure showed me a thing-or-two about fishing ant patterns.  We got to fish yesterday at my favorite creek, and while we didn’t land too many fish, we sure had a terrific time.  Here are the two rod makers:

Rick Robbins and Dave Dozer, Bamboo Rod Makers, Hunting For Trout In Idaho

Rick Robbins and Dave Dozer, Bamboo Rod Makers, Hunting For Trout In Idaho

 

My Summer Bamboo Rod Shop

While I’m here in Stanley, Idaho with Mary Ann for the summer, I wasn’t able to bring along my entire rod building shop.  But, with a little planning, I was able to bring enough tools/supplies to continue building bamboo rods…when I’m not on the river fishing!  I prepared bamboo strips for 5 rods ahead of time and brought them with me, along with a planning form and my gluing binder.  So, I can plane bamboo and glue up blanks while I’m here.  In a little corner of our cabin, I’ve set up a planning table and a small plane sharpening station….works pretty well.  I’m currently planning strips for an 8′  0″  6 wt. rod.  Here is a look:

My Stanley Bamboo Rod Shop

My Stanley Bamboo Rod Shop

My Planing Set-Up

My Planing Set-Up

My Plane Sharpening Set-Up

My Plane Sharpening Set-Up, Sharing Space With My Fly Reels

 

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