We’ve been patiently waiting for the river and tributaries to shape up and signs of proper fishing conditions are coming into vision. The Salmon River is on its way down and the clarity is gradually improving which indicates that the summer season is just on the brink of excellent fishing in the area. If you’re looking to gear up for another summer of chasing fish, then there’s a few things that will help us all get ready for the busy fishing season.
Firstly, where is all the fishing gear? If you’re anything like me your fishing gear is stretched from the car to the kitchen so it will be nice to finally clean some of that stuff and get a picture of what you have or don’t have. Consider cleaning the fishing rig out completely. I do this on a regular basis but in the summer it’s easy for things to get away from you. I find myself jumping in and out of the rig in a hurry to get out and fish. This results in flies in cup holders and fast food cups on the passenger side floor. Getting a head start and having the car put back in order will make you feel better but also might save you a couple dollars from finding a spool of tippet that rolled into the depth of seats.
On the topic of tippet, make sure that your most used tippet sizes and leaders are stocked up. I find myself using 3x, 4x, and 5x nylon and fluorocarbon tippets frequently and it can be smart to keep an extra spool of the sizes you use the most. I like to use a tippet spool holder to keep all my tippet together and organized. I highly recommend the Fishpond Headgate Tippet Holder which we have here in the shop in a few sizes. Tippet degrades over time especially as it is frequently exposed to water and sun. If you’re pulling out old spools make sure to pull off a few feet, pull tension on a few areas with your hands, and check for degrading areas that break easily. Tippet is not worth using if it is breaking when setting hooks into fish so if you find that your tippet has gone bad don't feel too sorry about replacing it because it certainly will feel worse if you’re losing your fresh, new flies.
Fly collections are one of the most satisfying parts of fly fishing. Nothing feels better than having fly boxes neatly curated to your fishing needs. Over time you will accumulate flies that you may never use or some that need to go to the bone pile to be re-tied or scrapped for materials. Go back through the boxes and pick these flies out. Flies you likely will not use are good ones to give to newer anglers and fill their boxes. With space in your boxes you can visit the local fly shop to pick up the hot flies for the area you’re fishing. Right now in Salmon, Idaho we are seeing golden stones up and down the river. We have handpicked flies to fish our water so be sure to come in to see our selection of patterns and floatants to keep you fishing.
Floatants come in many brands and mediums which can make it hard to know exactly what you want without buying them all. Floatants help keep your dry fly hydrophobic and on top of the water. They come as liquids, dry powder, gel, or waxy substances and all are applied in slightly different ways and here at the shop we carry the ones we believe perform the best. For the most part, an angler can survive all summer using only one type of floatant. If I were constrained to one I would pick Gink or Loon Aquel. They’re gel floatants that are easy to apply and fit inside caddies that can be attached to a lanyard. Just remember to close that cap or you will end up with floatant all over your clothes and none left for your flies. As a quick note of miscellaneous things that would be useful to have are nippers and pliers which can accompany your floatant on your lanyard. These are more important to just have in order to clip off tag ends and crush barbs.
Fly fishing is a sport riddled with gear options and it can be hard to know exactly what you need. Luckily you can catch fish with a secondhand rod and reel, fishing line, and a few flies. If you find yourself needing guidance on what you need to fish or the difference between certain gear we are excited to help point you in the right direction. We are now open 7 days a week so stop on by and we can outfit you for your fishing season!