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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