Fly Fishing in Idaho – Is it worth it? This was our trip

So my parents just sold their home in Tucson, AZ – my childhood home (middle/high school years) – and moved to … of all places to retire … Rigby, Idaho. I’ve heard great stories of all the fly fishing water in Idaho – so for the 4th of July holiday we took the opportunity to go visit the parent’s new abode and throw some fly line and bugs at the fishies.

fishing in idaho

Day 1 – Wednesday July 3rd

  • Pick up hubs from work and drive with 4yr old and dog 10+ hours from Denver to Rigby.

Day 2 – Thursday July 4th

  • Dressed the little man in his special The Fly Trout American Trout T-Shirt. Gma and Gpa take him to see a parade.
  • Hubs and I drove to Ashton, ID  to explore fishing water. We stopped in on a fly shop that was honestly a little lackluster. Won’t be going there again.
  • We fished the North Fork outside of town – Zach immediately caught a brownie so we thought it was going to be a good day – but actually turned into driving to a few different locations and absolutely NO more fish. It was HOT.
  • Went home for lunch with the family.
  • We all got into the truck to take a scenic drive to check out more fishing spots on the North Fork.
  • Ran into Mark Crapo (couldn’t miss his big beard and Loop truck from the hwy) feeding fish with Meow Mix – stopped to say hello and look at the monster fish.
  • Continued to our scenic fishing spots and didn’t catch a thing. Rising fish, PMDs everywhere and picky trout! GORGEOUS SCENERY.
  • Afternoon storms rolled in – even hailed on us for a minute. Fished again. Few misses. No luck.
  • Grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Idaho Falls for the HUGE 4th of July fireworks show.
  • My little man was so tired he fell asleep in my arms 1/2 way through the show. Haha.
  • What a day.

Day 3 – Friday July 5th

yellowstone family trip

  • Slept in.
  • Family trip to Yellowstone!
  • Stopped on our way up into the TroutHunter Lodge Fly Shop – just missed seeing my friend Bryan Gregson at the shop, but Zach and I enjoyed stocking up on local flies. Fine looking shop – beautiful artwork everywhere. Did I mention TroutHunter tippet is one of our favorite brands to use? Love that they have 1/2 sizes – and the stuff is STRONG! It was great to be able to stop in the shop.
  • Got our fishing licenses for Yellowstone Park at Bob Jacklin’s Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, MT right outside the West entrance gate to the park. What a great shop and helpful guys in there. Met Bob himself.  Very pleasant experience!
  • Guided Geological tour of the park courtesy of my husband (his first geek degree was Geophysics with emphasis on Seismology/Volcanology – official rock hound)
  • Fished the Gibbon River in the park – caught brown trout and brookies on Yellow Sallies! – My favorite part of this experience was being with my little man, Merich. He was my right hand man (see his Spider man fishing pics) – he helped me unhook the fishes and safely release them back into the water. He walked along beside me patiently catching grasshoppers and finding feathers and ‘gems’ as I fished. He also rode on my back a few times as I waded across the river. So much fun!
  • Another afternoon storm rolled in.
  • We waited it out and then fished the Madison. Shallow water, hungry fish rising in boils right in front of us. AND WE COULDN’T CATCH THEM. Tried so many different flies to no avail. Grrr. We to a different location and I actually slipped onto my butt and fell in for a few seconds. Luckily the water never went past my chest and into my waders. I wasn’t wearing my boots with my Goat Head Sole Spikes in them – big mistake.
  • Went home.

Day 4 – Saturday July 6th

Family lunch at Red Robin

  • Zach woke us up stupid early to fish the morning hatch. I managed to get dressed but then fell back into the comfort of the bed and let him go with his dog. He came home skunked. Glad I didn’t go and slept in instead. Haha.
  • Family lunch at Red Robin.
  • Gma and Gpa take the kid to the movies.
  • Zach and I head to Swan Valley.
  • Hail storm again. Stopped in on the Natural Retreats – South Fork Lodge Outfitters Fly Shop for a little bit while the storm passed. Nice shop. I’d stop there again. Gorgeous secenic views. Got a great picture of the falls. Looked like families and their kids were having tons of fun on the Falls. It was hard to find river/wading access with the water so high. Lesson Learned: Next time we aren’t going anywhere without a drift boat. I caught ONE fish – thankfully a pretty cutthroat.
  • Got gas at this gas station that scooped square ice cream cones. Had myself some ‘Moose Tracks’ ice cream – delicious!
  • Went home a$$ kicked.

Day 5 – Sunday July 7th

  • Woke up and headed to fish the South Fork at Twin Bridges outside of Rigby.
  • Caught several white fish.
  • Hiked up the river, waded around with no trout luck.
  • SUPER HOT
  • Saw another afternoon storm rolling in, so we packed it up and headed home.

Basically that was the end of the fishing trip.

Day 6 – Monday July 8th

  • Who knew that my favorite candy (which is hard to find), Chewy Gobstoppers – would be at the gas station in Idaho – I totally stocked up on several boxes for future candy highs!
  • Drove 10+ hours home.

Lessons Learned in Idaho: The fishing was at the South Fork, but we didn’t have a drift boat and it was too hard to wade. Henry’s fork has some beautiful jaw dropping spots to fish, but the wide river and shallow water made the fish a little spookie and trying to figure out what they were keying in on (as far as which phase of the bug’s life cycle, emerger, fly, spinner, etc.. ) was hard. Making very long casts and mending dry flies was also a bit difficult – that was the hardest water I have ever fished. All in all I had a wonderful family trip visiting my parent’s new stomping grounds and we WILL be back to kick some fish a$$ with a drift boat next time!