Fly Fishing Idaho’s Salmon River

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Try to teach this guy (me) to fish on a storm day in Idaho and he’ll become a conspiracy theorist. . . .

It was April on Idaho’s Salmon River, the end of my first day ever learning how to fly fish. I was kind of miserable and only had a single, weird and recurring thought in my head: Those bumper stickers that read “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work” must be products of subterfuge via an underground fishing-lobby movement.

Idaho’s Salmon River in early spring

For every glimmer of fun that day, there was a lot of cold, a serious amount of work, and a lot of foul weather to deal with in the air. What started as a sunny day turned gray quickly and soon the sky was diluted by white when snow began falling and swirling in the wind.

Storm skiing? I love it. Storm fishing, not so much. When the sole object is to precisely cast a light fly into the water just a few feet in front of you, and it’s raging outside. . . well, you get the picture.

I had had zero bites that day so far, and was about finished with the sport.

My partners in angling, journalists Berne Broudy and Matt Furber, were still at it. But soon I had them on the line with the lure of warmer water up the road. There was a hot tub built next to the river, dubbed the Boat Box Hot Springs, and it was waiting to warm our bones after a chilly day of casting flies.

Berne Broudy and Matt Furber soak it up by the Salmon

In the tub, someone had the foresight to pack a few cans of hops and water, and after a nice soak and a can or two, I was looking through (literal) rose-colored glasses in the form of my Smith Optics polarized Touchstone sunglasses and getting ready to flip the script on my craptastic attitude. I was ready to take one more spin at flyfishing the next day.

continued on next page. . .