Yes, that’s right.
This week’s Dispatch from Canada is actually coming from Idaho.
Due to a brief delay thanks to an overzealous officer of the US Customs & Border Protection agency, I arrived in Idaho after a couple days of traveling for a few weeks of work (no, I’m not stealing an American’s job…trust me, nobody but Canadians are qualified to do this so…politely…).
It may have taken me two days to get here, but it took me all of 10 minutes to get from the airport to the nearest fly shop for a license, flies & local intel. They were extremely helpful, but that may have been brought on by me saying “just give me whatever you think I’ll need for flies.” As an occasional fly shop employee myself, this makes local intel a little easier to come by!
(Side note: it cost $96 for a license for the season, proving not everything in America is cheaper than Canada. Just beer, cars, gas, beef jerky, clothes, electronics, houses, books, fly fear, magazines, airfare, coffee…but not fishing licenses…)
When I accepted this assignment, semi-short notice, my buddy/project manager sent me a quick thanks via email, mentioning he already cleared it with the client for me to bring my fishing gear with me. A quick online search showed the town I’d be staying close to the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River.
A promising river name, to say the least.
Unfortunately, detailed river & fishing info for the area was a little harder to find.
I packed my waders, boots, jacket, flies and other necessities, and then set to work on determining which fly rods to bring. The 3wt, being a two-piece, was out of the question, as was my dad’s 30-year old 8wt fiberglass for the same reason. The 10wt is overkill for just about anything & everything in Idaho, so that went on the rack. So my 5wt & my 8wt made the trip, with floating lines for both, and an intermediate sink-tip for the 8wt.
Due to the glorious problem of waking up & driving to the job site before the sun rises, and finishing work & driving back to my room after the sun sets, it took me a few days to finally see the river.
When I did, my very first thought: I should have brought the 3wt.
Despite it’s regal sounding name, the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River is a mountain stream (where I am, at least). Fast-flowing and barely ankle-deep in places, its name is longer length than the river is wide in places.
That being said, there were rumours of fish. Cutthroat trout (Idaho’s state fish) and bull trout are around, and even salmon & steelhead apparently make the trek, depending on the time of year. Heck, they even had a sign for bull trout…shot full of holes…
A few more days go by, bringing cold, rain, colder, snow, then more rain…and finally sun!
Sunny days aren’t necessarily the best for fishing, but they’re good for one’s mental state, and a brief window of opportunity presented itself on a lunch break to investigate these rumours of fish.
Rumours were true, and the shot-up sign didn’t lie!