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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Boise, Idaho
    Blog Entries

    Default Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    Against my better judgement, we took my buddies Jeep into the Idaho Mountains… Reason I was skeptical… No AC, no windows, lots of dust and not much packing space. We had to load our packed back-packs onto a game hauler. The packs were wrapped in large black trash-bags… Bungie corded and rachet strapped to the metal rack. The many holes, bumps, wash-outs and large rocks were too much for our straps… It turns out we dragged one back-pack about two miles down a dirt road. Because, we knew the bags were getting bounced around a bit, we stopped to check them often. On one such stop, I found my sons back-pack dragging behind the jeep. One of the large pockets was open. We turned the jeep back around, headed back in the direction we came, and began a game of lost and found. About every 50 feet, we would find a new item in the middle of the road. First a boot, then a knife, a bottle of bear-spray, some clothes, etc, etc.

    When we did finally make it to our parking area to start the hike, all of our gear was coated in a layer of dust. My sons pack was barely recognizable. Torn straps, torn pockets, missing gear and dust, lots of dust.
    After the couple mile hike to our camp, we dropped our bags, rigged our rods and hit the water. I will admit that the first hole we hit (typically an amazing run of very fishy water), was not so great. I was a little defeated. We talked this trip up the boys the whole ride here. And then drift after drift, not a fish in sight.

    My son and I were both fishing the same hole. I hooked into a small cutty… about 13” in length. My son, without knowing cast his line over my line and created a bit of a tangle. This affected how the hooked cutty moved in the water. The fish was being dragged in multiple directions… indicating an injured fish…
    SLAM, a bull trout darts from the depths and hits the cutty on the end of my line. My son is yelling in excitement, I am still trying to figure out what is happening… After watching the cutthroat flail about for a second, I see a light colored fish again attack the cutthroat. We are finally able to get the trout into us, remove the hook and safely release the trout back into the waters. It was at that time that I switched out my reel to a reel spooled with heavier line and a 5’-0” sinking leader. Using a none-slip loop knot, I tied on a big white streamer… about 6” long. I was casting a Sage One 5wt at the time. Not exactly a streamer rig, but it got the job done. The very first cast, the bull trout attacked my fly. Not the biggest Bullie I have caught, but this was an experience my son and I will never forget.

    We hiked out of the river and back on to the trail. We moved down the trail about ¼ mile. We found some great looking water, but it was a climb down to the water. Nothing dangerous, but it was deep and steep. We caught a few fish from the run, but not huge numbers of fish were netted. As we are discussing hiking out of the canyon, we proceeded to move up river just a bit. The Bright orange sun, because of the numerous fires out west was starting to drop in the evening sky. We reach a bend in the river and see very long mellow pool just beneath a significant drop-off. Lots of oxygen being pushed into the run.
    We start at the end of the run first. Casting upstream. We catch a few fish and then move our position upstream a few feet. We would hook a few more fish and continue this scenario until we were fishing the best holding water. The fish got bigger and bigger with each movement we made towards the head of the run. This is how it is supposed to work. The sun was now dropping fast behind the mountains. No head lamp was needed, but it was time to get out of the moving water for the night.

    Night time came quick on our first night in the mountains. The boys were hungry and wanted to eat as soon as possible. My plans were to cook the steaks on a smooth flat rook heated by the fire, but because our stomachs were empty, we cooked the steaks on the open fire. A little more charred than I had hoped, but this made for a great meal after hiking into the wilderness.

    If you have previously read about my back country excursions, you know I am a fan of packing two reels and one rod. This trip, I packed my SageOne 5wt, a Bozeman Reel and an extra spool with line that was up-lined to 6wt. The 5wt Monic Floating line was used most of the trip. Casting large and small dry's on a Thread Furled leader most of the trip. Only when casting big articulated streamers, did I reach for my 6wt line spool. This heavier line, and sinking leader generated enough power to cast large articulated streamers. The time it takes to change out my entire setup is very quick. Cut the fly off, reel in the line, change out the spool to the desired one. After years of doing this, I can make a reel change faster than many guys can tie on a new fly... It eliminates packing two rods, or worse, leaving one behind by accident.
    If you find yourself preparing for a full day of fishing, give this idea some serious thought. It may just change the way you approach day long walk and wade trips.

    The Bullie above was the last fish of the trip. She actually ate an Elk Hair Caddis.... Great way to end the trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    This thread reminded me of one of my old 'fav's.'

    Idaho High Country Trip with son, picture heavy.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.


    Thanks for sharing that great trip report and photos. I loved that photo with the boys laying on the trail taking a break with their packs still on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    D'Iberville Ms

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    When I bought my 7 wt One I used your philosophy. The primary reel is a Nautilus spooled with a bonefish line for the salt in warm weather. For winter speckled trout fishing I bought 2 sage 2280 reels on sale, one spooled with a rio gold and one with a sink tip.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    Sounds like a fun trip, especially since you got to share it with kids. Those smaller bullies can be a fun surprise.

    I am surprised you were allowed to, or even considered, cooking with a fire considering the tinderbox condition of much of the west. Of course some areas farther north got a lot more snowpack than we did here in Oregon and farther south. Breathing smoke and watching bright orange sunsets for a couple months every summer is becoming pretty normal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Northern Virginia

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    What a great trip, thanks for sharing. Great photos. Sounds like your son will never forget that trip.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Idaho Back Country trip with the BOY's.... Cutty's and Bullies.

    I always enjoy your trips Mike, this one had a few twists but we've all had things happen that we didn't count on.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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