Catching Onto a New Hobby

Through my years as an avid fisherman, I have caught some real record breakers. Perch the size of my pinky and smallmouth bass that can pass of as an actual fishing lure. If my wife and I survived off my fishing, we wouldn’t last long. A day, maybe.

Regardless of my lack of skill and success as a fisherman, I love to go out and cast a few flies out with my buddy, Kody. He’s a legend on the river. I call him the fish whisperer because he has a true skill for all types of freshwater fishing. Lakes, rivers, streams—you name it, Kody fishes it. And you can bet he’s caught some big mommas over the years.

I wanted to catch a big momma myself. So with a trophy fish in mind, Kody and a few of us ventured up to the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, just 40 minutes from town.

We drove down a windy two-lane road, kicking up dust in our Subaru’s wake. Sunlight trickled through the trees above us as we paralleled the river. This is God’s country.

Kody eyed the river from the passenger’s side. He knows this river like the back of his mother’s hand. Within minutes of passing the Bumblebee Bridge, the Montana native pointed out a good fishing hole near a big bend in the river.

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Here’s Kody putting on his super nice waders. He’s about to catch a fish.

We pulled the Subi over and unloaded our gear. We brought three fly poles, dozens of flies, waders, felt-bottomed boots (non-slip), fishing licenses, fingernail clippers (to cut the fishing line), vests and hats. Oh, and sunflower seeds.

After pulling on our waders and grabbing our fishing gear, we bushwhacked through the brush to the water’s edge. We crossed the river and set up behind the huge downed tree near the shore. For the next half hour, Trisha and I watched Kody cast like a pro and  we attempted to imitate his fluid movements.

The trick with fly fishing is to control your fly line. When you cast it back to the 2 o’clock position, ensure your fly makes it back the whole way before carrying it back to the 10 o’clock position. When you hear your fly “snap” in your back cast, it means you’re snapping your line too fast. It’s all about smooth, fluid motions. But what do I know?

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Kody is a good fly fisherman. He actually catches fish.

As we journeyed from one fishing hole to the next, Kody pointed out the areas that attracted fish. He explained that areas immediately after quick currents and places near the river’s edge are hot spots for lazy trout looking for a bite to eat. He taught us to cast upriver so our top floating fly could drift down and over the fish below.

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This is actually a photo from last year, but it’s the only evidence that I have of catching a fish.

We moved our way up the Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene, stopping on the side of the dirt road and hitting a hole every few miles. We finished off the day at a fish filled hole at the farthest point on our day trip. This thing was so stocked, I even caught a few. It was a fantastic end to a great day of fishing.

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Here’s another photo of Kody. He’s probably about to catch another fish.

I may not be an expert at fly fishing (or fishing in general), but I love being out in the middle of nature with my best friends, Trisha and Kody, and my dad, John. It’s a great disconnect from the daily hustle . To close, I’d like to give a few fly fishing tips I learned from Kody:

  • Buy the right flies. If you’re not sure what to get, ask the guy behind the counter at North 40. His name is Stan, and he’s a super nice dude.
  • Watch your backcast. With the river being so narrow in some spots, there’s a good chance you’ll will get hung up from time to time.
  • Watch fly fishing how-to videos on YouTube. There’s tons of ’em.
  • Cast your fly close to shore as a general rule and target the spots just after a quick current. Fish like the slower moving water that comes directly after the quick stuff.
  • Fish early in the morning or late evening. Your odds are better during these times.
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This photo is from another fishing trip, but it features my dad and I crossing the river.
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Kody caught a fish.

Have you fly fished? We want to know! Let us know where you’ve gone or give us some tips in the comments below. Thanks for reading, MTN Talkers!


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