Where do you purchase your items?  Are you a one stop shopper?  Are you a local retail gold miner?  Like many in the fast paced world of today, I am a one stop shopper.  I try to stop as few times as possible between my beginning and final destination.  Much is the case with the current trend of anglers. 

After a long conversation with an outdoor buyer at ICAST I was left with the conclusion that within 10 years most neighborhood fly shops would close.  According to this buyer, people don’t take the time to stop off at institutions that have been around for decades and have limited selections of product.  They’ll head to “outdoor store A” for their waders, boots and then happen across the new “fly shop” they’ve started.  Shopper will then speak with a new face that claims to be an expert.  The flaw with this, they’re NOT! They may have experience guiding (even though the “shop” doesn’t provide guide services); they may tie a beautiful Green Highlander Fly, and can sell you on the major points of why LOOP Tackle is the last brand you’ll ever purchase in a new fly reel. 

What is missing; the person who started this neighborhood shop when they were a young buck because they wanted to fish for a living.  That lifelong love of fishing has translated into a breadth of knowledge and skill you can’t find at “outdoor store A.”  Don’t take my word for it.  Take it from Peter Brooks, guest columnist at The North Virginian Daily, in his article “Eye for Idaho Trout.”  When you experience service and knowledge like this, there will always be a place for the neighborhood fly shop.
 
 
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I’d like to claim that Fly Fishing is as American as apple pie and hamburgers, yet I can’t.  Just like I can’t claim the fireworks we use to celebrate our United States birthday with are home grown.  As with many other aspects to our American culture, we take what is good from other cultures; integrate and make them our own. 

Over the last 100 years fly fishing techniques have advanced and changed.  The differences in warm water and cold water techniques were developed in the US.  Watersheds are vastly different in the US, due to water temperature differences, than in the UK where modern fly fishing is attributed. 

So this 4th of July, go out, put those cold water techniques into use on our local waterways and Fly Fish! Enjoy the cultural melting pot that is America and celebrate. 

Happy 4th of July from everyone at Castaway Fly Fishing Shop!


Photo Credit: Project Healing Waters

 
 
As I savor the fresh strawberries from my garden, the ones the kids didn’t eat right after picking, I realized this is only one of many areas sweet about living in the Inland Northwest.  Yes we have wild huckleberries that abound during the summer months.  Yes we have beautiful scenery.  But what is truly sweet, the trout fishing. 

The berry many associate with this area is the Huckleberry.  Many have tried and failed to cultivate huckleberries for commercial/residential growth.  Some things are meant to stay wild and grow where they want.  This is true for our native black tail cutthroat trout.  These beautiful fish can’t be found anywhere other than the Coeur d’Alene River. 

These sweet fish are a great catch and a beauty to see.  The native huckleberries, while elusive to find are a beauty to eat. So plan to invest the time in both sweets this summer: huckleberries and black tail cutthroat trout. The river is currently fishing great.  We’re using smaller equipment; smaller flies and smaller tippet materials. 

Now if only I can get the small hands to stop eating my strawberries before I can get to them.
 
 
Fly Recipe 
Hook #6 - #8
Thread - Olive 6/0
Tail - Moose Hair
Egg Sack - Black 3MM Foam
Body - Joe's Olive U/V Dubbing
Wing - Deer Hair
Hackle - Black Saddle Hackle
Parachute - White Z-Lon
 
 
Those familiar with the Couer d’Alene area acknowledge the world class golf courses within a drive of downtown.  These courses only add to the many natural features North Idaho has to offer.  Dustin Ainsworth, Castaway guide and former Golf Professional, enjoys the natural wonders of Coeur d’Alene along with these man made beauties.

Over the years guiding he’s utilized his knowledge of both sports, Golf and Fly Fishing, to help instruct his fishing clients.  In his view, knowing how to golf has made him better at fishing.  In fact many famous golfers are also fly fisherman.  It only makes sense when you consider the origins of these two sports.

Dustin takes the time to instruct new anglers how to take their knowledge of golfing and apply it to their cast.  He has created analogies between the two sports: Tempo, Target, Shoulders, Takeaway, Extension, Hands.  

 
 
Joe has a long history with the Gonzaga Bulldogs Men's Basketball team.  Weather he's seen sitting in the stands at the McCarthey Athletic Center or on a skiff with any number of atheltics employees or boosters, he is a true fan.  In honor of this relationship he's created an honorary Bulldog Streamer.  
Recipe:
Uncle Sam clousar minnow
Hook #4 34007 or eq
Thread blue flat waxed nylon
Bottom wing white buck tail
Under wing red bucktail
Mid wing silver Kflash
Over wing blue buck tail
Sliver barbell eyes
This streamer is great for Small Mouth Bass, Red Fish, Silver Salmon. I use this fly locally on Hayden lake, deep water starting in June.   

A package of materials available upon request. 
 
 
My Golden Stone Fly is one of the standard tools in my toolbox.  It’s weighted perfect for high stick nymphing and serves as an anchor fly for winter and spring conditions. 
Golden Stone Fly

Hook – 200 or 200R equivalent #6
Thread – Tan 3/0
Tail – Tan Luma Leggs
Rib- Copper wire
Body – Joe UV Shaggy – Golden Stone
Wing Case – Orange black – JR Flash back
Wtd - .30 lead – 7 wraps
Head – Black 1/8 cone
Thorax – Joe UV Shaggy – Golden Stone
Legs – Tan Luma Leggs

A package of materials is available upon request.


 
 
Welcome to the age of technology!  Technology, is not what Joe does best.  A recent "Field and Stream" article entitled, Three ways to determine if a guide or lodge is worthy of your money, tells Fly Fishermen to look for Social Media presence, Website look and feel, and to ask questions directly to the guide or in our case the Shop.  If “Field and Stream” validates us then we must be okay.  Well not Castaway Fly Fishing Shop directly, but the changes being made for 2015 have been validated. 

An increased web presence we’re working on.  However, what makes Castaway Fly Fishing Shop the place to go is Joe’s direct communication with his customers.  Only so much of Joe’s depth of knowledge can be portrayed online.  He can give river updates, tell you the type of equipment you’ll need for the environment you’re in, explain why LOOP Tackle kicks the pants off other equipment for sale; but you’ll miss a great deal of information if you limit your total interaction to looking at a screen. 

Information is something Joe has in abundance.  As a long time guide and customer once said about him, “You need a white board to follow along.”  As the world of Fly Fishing continues to merge with the age of digital interaction and global presence, the balance between deep love and connection to the sport and keeping customers "updated" will have to be maintained.  So be patient as Joe gets back into the swing of posting photos to Instagram or Tweeting (@looparmy).   Never hesitate to call him so he can convince you there is no greater interaction with the beauty of nature than casting a line to a hungry fish.

 
 
Thanks CRO Flies for this video and online love!
 
 
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My guide-sandal tan lines have almost completely faded.  My feet are turning the same pasty white as the rest of my now pigment-free body. It was just a couple months ago that it seemed like the sandals and the flipflops, and the linear burn marks crisscrossing my feet, would stay with me forever, like a 2:00 a.m. tattoo. As has been the case for the last 19 years, September arrived, and Keens were replaced by dress socks and lace-up, leather shoes.  It was time to move back to the front of the classroom.

“How was your summer vacation?”  Whether it’s a teaching colleague or a curious student asking from the back of the room, the answer always is about the same. Something like, “Summer was good, but it wasn’t exactly a vacation. I actually have a summer job.”  When I tell them that I guide 30-40 days between mid-June and Labor Day, the usual response is, “Oh, it must be tough, getting paid to fish.” Depending on my mood, I might respond with a chuckle, a shoulder shrug, and a look like, “Hey, it’s tough, but someone has to do it” kind of mime; or I might take them through all that a day of guiding entails. Probably it’s somewhere in between the two.

During the frantic hustle of the guide season, it seems that the daily routine can be a bit overwhelming at times.  Now, when I look outside at the 3:30 January light quickly fading to frozen darkness, I think about those summer days and how much I miss not just summer, but also the ever-changing schedule of guiding a fishing trip.

Here’s what a typical day (is there such a thing in this line of work?) might look like:

6:30        Roll out of bed. The earlier in the season, the earlier the roll out. Early season roll out is 5:30; that puts me at the shop almost an hour ahead of client pickup at 8:00; 6:30 must be mid-August. Make coffee, read sports page, shower, brush teeth, convince myself that I can still roll through Starbuck’s and not be late.