Southeast Idaho is known to have some of the best fly fishing in the world and students at Idaho State University don’t have far to go to experience that world-class fly fishing.
The Portneuf River, a 124-mile-long tributary of the Snake River, is only an hour away from Pocatello. Another spot students can fish is the tail water just below the American Falls Dam, which is also less than an hour’s drive from campus.
Here, students can find sturgeon, carp, smallmouth bass and abnormally large trout, making these areas some of the top fishing spots in the Pocatello area.
According to Larry Larsen, owner Snake River Fly, a local fly shop in Old Town Pocatello, students don’t need too much gear to fly fish.
“All you’ll need is a rod, reel, line, flies and some waders if you are fishing in the fall,” Larsen said.
Fly fishing in the fall months does have its differences compared to fly fishing in June or July.
The weather is a lot different which is why students will need waders, which are long, waterproof overall pants that project against the colder waters.
The colder weather lessens the crowds, creating a much more relaxed atmosphere. Each season has its good parts and its bad parts, but students can catch a good amount of fish in either season.
“Fly fishing in June or July compared to September and October is about the same because each season has its perks,” Larsen said.
In fall fly fishing, different types of flies have to be used because the fish react differently to various types of flies.
What students are fishing for will determine what type of fly should be used.
Both extreme cold and warm weather will make the fish sluggish.
In colder weather, the fish stay lower and will eat different flies. Fishermen will have to adjust which flies are used because a fish will not be fooled if they see a warm-weather fly in the colder season.
In the fall, students will need subsurface flies, or nymph flies, the same type of flies that are currently on the river.
The university provides multiple classes for students who are beginning or experienced fly fishermen looking to better their skills.
ISU offers a beginning and intermediate class in fly fishing, and also an advanced fly fishing skills class which offers a course on fly rod building and beginning and intermediate courses in fly tying.
“I’ve fly fished a couple times in my life,” said sophomore Octavio Vasquez. “I’m really excited to be able to learn more about tying flies.”
ISU also has fly fishing club that meets at Snake River Fly. Students who want to learn more can contact the Outdoor Adventure Center, located in the bottom floor of the SUB.