Tied and True

Story and Photos by Les Tanner

Just so you’ll know who’s writing this, I caught my first trout on a fly in the summer of 1945. I still have the fly (gray pillow feathers tied to a long-shanked #8 bait hook with pink sewing thread). So I’m not a fly-fishing newbie.

I’m not a purist, either. On a windy and up-to-that-point fishless trip a few years back, I completely surprised my buddy by abandoning flies in favor of a grasshopper on a #10 Eagle Claw. Caught a nice brown right away, too.

Most of my fishing is done on smaller streams, but I’ve fished the South Fork of the Snake River a few times with a limited amount of success. However, the size of the river and the scarcity of access to wading fishermen such as I restricts most of the fishing there to float-boaters.

After reading Snake River Flies (WestWind Press, 2014) by Boots Allen, I’m eager to do a lot more fishing there. I want to take another shot or two—or many—at the river, this time using flies that were created, tested, and popularized by expert fly-fishers and fly-tyers from the area. One of these is the author, a third generation Snake River fly-fisherman. Others are folks like Bob Carmichael, Marcella Oswald, and Bob Bean, none of whom I’d heard of before I read the book. My loss.

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Les Tanner

About Les Tanner

Les Tanner is shown here with his late wife, Ruby, to whom he was married for more than sixty years, and who also was on the staff of IDAHO magazine. When Les, a retired teacher, isn’t working on the magazine's calendar, proofreading, fishing, writing, playing pickleball, or pulling weeds, he’s out looking for Jimmy the cat.