Boise Valley Fly Fishers
Since 1971



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  • 03 Apr 2024 9:47 PM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    Dave’s Strategy Session

    The Flow of Fly Fishing

    By Dave Shuldes

    “The more I know, the less I understand. All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again.”

    Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter

    The other day I nearly lost out on a memorable fish by giving up too soon. I was standing in a familiar drift on the Boise in town, tight line nymphing with a reliable #18 midge pattern. The technique and fly I was using had results for me in this run at this time of year countless times. I worked the run hard, several dozen drifts, and my busy mind told me it was time to move on.

    Fortunately, I needed to add some tippet. While digging around in my sling,  a fly sitting on my foam pad stood out to me. It was a #14 caddis pupae pattern. Chartreuse and black “Houdini weave” abdomen with a green Ice Dub thorax.

    I paused and relaxed for a minute. My first thought was “March… it’s still too early for caddis”…. (Pick up the story here) But then my intuition drifted to the recent weather pattern – a lot warmer than normal for this time of year. Well, it seems futile but why not? The first drift through the exact some run was just as the previous dozen casts… BAM! A heavy fish took me deep into the reel, almost to the backing. A delightful battle on what would never have happened had I acted on my habitual thought.

    Whether it’s fly fishing, or nature in general, often what I think I know stands between an impatient move and allowing the flow of the situation – the river, the weather, the season, what I’m seeing and hearing – to guide the next decision. Being in a hurry to make things happen is all too frequently my frame of mind. I’m learning slowly in fishing (and in life) that slowing down can have good results.

    Regarding strategy, I’ll always start my plan with my past experience and instincts. But flexibility is paramount – especially in shoulder seasons where entomology cycles are evolving. Weather changes and transitions in time of day also can change the game. As I write, runoff time is almost here, and the river flows are coming up. Other than our freestone streams, it’s time to gear up for spring stillwater season. Hope you enjoy the warming weather and all the options that Southwest Idaho fishing has to offer!

  • 02 Apr 2024 12:58 PM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    That time of the year is coming. You know what I'm talking about. The fish are getting more active and eating regularly and often. So too are the anglers (well, at least the getting more active part).

    You arrived early at your favorite spot on the Owyhee and... someone else is already there. So you move on to your second choice and... same thing. Third choice... more of the same!

    What a conundrum. You've driven all this way to fish and the fish are rising everywhere you look. There's also an angler behind every rock and in every good drift. What do you do?

    The simple answer is to either fish less desirable water, wait for another angler to be done fishing, or head home with the plan to return another day (arrive at dark thirty to get your spot or wait until the afternoon/evening after others have gone home).

    Following is information from BVFF's Conservation mission:

    Boise Valley Fly Fishers Creed

    1. Take care of the fish.
    2. Respect other anglers.
    3. Leave it better than you found it.

    Find more information regarding Angling Etiquette and Ethics HERE.

    Be safe out there and please avoid confrontation with another angler. A fish isn't worth getting hurt over!

  • 04 Feb 2024 10:21 AM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    The Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo (WIFFE) was held on Friday, January 5th, and Saturday, January 6th. This is BVFF's largest fly fishing educational public event and is considered the kick-off expo of each new year. Fly fishing experts and fly tyers from the Rocky Mountain Northwest converge on Boise to educate, demonstrate, and present their knowledge, skills, and techniques.

    WIFFE is wholly supported by volunteers. All proceeds, less operating expenses, are used to fulfill our 3 core missions of fly fishing Education, Conservation, and Access. Without the dedication and generosity of our volunteers, this event wouldn’t have happened. We are so blessed and grateful for each of their efforts.

    The attendance was 2,582 outside attendees (paid adults, children, and VIP tickets) and an additional 270 each day counting presenters, exhibitors, volunteers, fly tyers, etc. Our net profit was $21,163, which is well above our goal and the highest on record! We know this would not be possible without the volunteer help we receive, so thank you again for being a part of our success.

    Planning for WIFFE 2025 has already begun and Bert Williams will chair the committee. As we reflect on the 2024 show and are planning for 2025, we’d welcome your suggestions, thoughts or comments. Also, please consider volunteering on the organizing committee.

    If you’d like to share comments or your talents with the Expo 2025 committee, contact Bert Williams at Collectively, we strive to improve each year, so feedback really helps.

    We are planning a volunteer thank you party in conjunction with the club’s July 11 member picnic, so put that on your calendar. In the meantime, we wish you a healthy and prosperous year, with many days on the water included!

    Kind Regards,

    2024 WIFFE Volunteer Committee

  • 27 Oct 2023 8:06 AM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    Our first casting clinic in quite a while was held in Ann Morrison park on Friday the 13th (what were we thinking?). Thankfully, it went very well. Joy and Don Knickrehm are leading our Education mission and this is the beginning of what we plan to be a benefit to our members as well as public educational opportunities regarding fly fishing. The weather was terrific aside from the slight breeze that was blowing leaves off of the trees.

    The clinic's purpose was to indetify individuals interested in helping others develop their fly casting skills. We are using a newly developed program by Fly Fishers International (FFI) that allows fly casters to test their skills at 4 different levels - Foundation, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each level gets progressively more challenging and the skills called for segue nicely onto the rivers and stillwaters.

    We had 19 individuals cast the Foundation and Bronze level courses. All did exceedingly well and their feedback was much welcomed and appreciated.

    Future casting clinics are in the works. Keep an eye on for upcoming dates. Aslo, our 2024 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo will have 2 FFI certified casting instructors presenting this program and demonstrating the casting skills. Go to the EXPO 2024 website at for more.


  • 03 Aug 2023 10:30 AM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    Joy and Don have proposed to the Board of Directors two areas of fly fishing education to begin our journey toward providing additional member benefits to you. As these are established, more will be added based on input from you as to what you would like to learn. The two areas are:

    1. Beginner Fly Casting Skills Development
    2. Fly Tying Techniques and Skills

    These two areas will add to our existing educational opportunities that include the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo; monthly member meeting guest speaker presentations and fly tying/fly fishing related demonstrations; the quarterly Hackle Bender; monthly Member Update; and seasonal classes such as nymph fishing techniques.

    Excerpts from Joy and Don to the board,

    “We are very excited to be leading the BVFF Education mission, and view this as a tremendous opportunity to give our knowledge and experience to the members of the club. Understand that we believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. To accomplish this endeavor, we will need help from others within and outside of the club, and it will take time.”

    “We have learned that BVFF has added many new members, many (if not most) of whom are enthusiastic, but inexperienced. Our proposal is to initially focus our BVFF education programs on those newer members, and their need for coaching (education).”

    “We are suggesting this focus as a first step. If we try to address all issues at once, we will fail. We must be focused on our purpose, and we must proceed with patience. There will be other programs for more experienced fly anglers as we develop the entire program.”

    The Beginner Fly Casting Skills Development will be based on the Fly Fishers International Fly Casting Skills Development Program (click Here to view the program). This program has four levels: Foundation, Bronze, Silver, and Gold and can be completed at your own pace; however, if you’d like to turbo charge your learning curve, our educational opportunity will help.

    To accomplish the fly casting education, Joy and Don will need help from members who would like to become casting coaches. In either August or September an event will be held to introduce you to the FFI casting skills program. We have a list from May of this year of members who are interested, and we will be reaching out to you. For all of our members, keep an eye out for an announcement for this event.

    The Fly Tying Techniques and Skills will likely begin this Fall/Winter and include beginner as well as advanced classes. Joy and Don will need volunteers to lead these classes.

    If you have an interest in helping with either casting or tying programs, please email

  • 31 May 2023 7:32 PM | Brian Martin (Administrator)

    Long-time BVFF members, Joy and Don Knickrehm, have decided to accept the role of leads in further developing and growing the educational opportunities available to BVFF members and the general public. We are excited and blessed to have them bring their decades of fly fishing knowledge, experience, mentoring, and teaching to BVFF.

    (Don and Joy pictured after an enjoyable day fly fishing the Owyhee River in Oregon)

    We asked Joy and Don to tell us a little about themselves and their deep connection to fly fishing. Following, they tell us in their own words:


    I learned to fly fish over 37 years ago. Since then, my husband Don and I have traveled many parts of the U.S. and the world in search of fly fishing adventures. In 1993 we founded the Idaho Anglers Fly Shop in Boise, Idaho with partner Ken Pursley. We are proud of the Shop’s support of fly fishing and conservation.

    I was FFF (Federation of Fly Fishermen) certified as a casting instructor by Doug Swisher in 1995 in Livingston, Montana. I was also certified as a casting instructor by the Joan Wulff School for fly casting instructors, by Joan herself in 1996.

    I have served on the Board of Directors of the Boise Valley Fly Fisher’s Club and was their first woman President; and served on the Board of Directors of the industry organization American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA).

    Over the years, with the help of my gracious fly fishing women friends and generous business and club support, I have conducted many shop sponsored “Women Only” programs, including beginning fly fishing and casting seminars; fly fishing outings and a “Tying Bee” (twice-monthly fly tying sessions which continued through the winter months every year for over 25 years).


    Don graduated from Idaho State University in 1967 with a B.A. degree, and then attended and graduated from the University of California, Berkley Law School in 1970 with a Juris Doctor degree. He returned to Idaho and worked as a law clerk for the Idaho Supreme Court and then a Deputy District Attorney General for the State of Idaho, before entering into private practice. He continued to practice until he retired at the end of 2015, specializing in real estate, finance, and business law.

    Early on, Don met John F. Croner (an avid and skilled fly fisher and tier, now deceased), who some of you knew. John taught Don to cast and tie, and a life-long friendship and passion for fly fishing began.

    Don has taught fly casting (beginning to advanced) and fly fishing classes since his 1995 FFF certification. He also led the effort (ably assisted by Rick Williams and Tim Mansell), to bring the Fly Fishing International (formerly FFF) annual “conclave” to Boise, Idaho in 2018 (for the first and only time it was held in Boise).

    Don continues to support many conservation organizations and efforts, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Henry’s Fork Foundation. He has also served as Counsel for AFFTA.

    THANK YOU! Joy and Don for your dedication to the art of fly fishing and to BVFF.

  • 14 Apr 2023 10:43 AM | Jim Kazakoff (Administrator)

    Jon's presentation (in PDF format) from April 2023 meeting is posted HERE

  • 29 Mar 2023 11:12 AM | Jim Kazakoff (Administrator)

    Attention to water temperature is both important to your angling success, and to the health and safety of the fish you are catching.  Trout and the insects they are eating, are both responsive to the water temperature of their environment.

    Fly Fishing Magazine has published a nice temperature chart that gives some guidance on water temperatures and strategies for fishing those conditions.

    The chart can be found HERE

  • 04 Mar 2023 2:34 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Tailwaters are rivers below dams that release water from the bottom of the reservoir. Releasing water from the bottom vs the top helps keep the outflows cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—this is called the Tailwater Effect. But not all Tailwater Dams are built and managed the same which can impact the Tailwater Effect and influence outflow water temperatures. Lucky Peak Dam, which feeds the Lower Boise River is built and managed differently than the Anderson Ranch Dam, which feeds the S.F. of the Boise River. Understanding how tailwater-dams impact water temperature will help you find more productive water and improve your fishing throughout the year


    Do you know why ice floats, or why ice forms on the top of a lake, and not on the bottom? It is because water has a unique property that makes the solid form less dense than the liquid. This is important to fisherman because 39 degree (F) water is the most dense, which means it sinks to the bottom of the reservoir where water is released.


    Anderson Ranch Dam

    On the S.F. of the Boise the Tailwater Effect is your friend in late fall and early winter because that large blanket of water results in water temps staying 40 – 50 degrees in November and December compared to the freestone section above dropping down into the 30’s. The warmer water coming out of Anderson Ranch dam results in longer hatches, active fish, and awesome fishing! Figure-1 shows how water temperatures coming out of the dam stay elevated into December while water temperatures drop into the 30’s on the freestone section of river above the dam at Featherville. But the warming from the Tailwater Effect is limited to the first 5-10 miles of the river, after that the influence of cold days, freezing nights and side streams drop water temperatures, as shown by the temperature at Neal Bridge 26 miles below the dam.

    Lucky Peak Dam

    The Lower Boise River doesn’t experience the same winter Tailwater Effect as the South Fork because Lucky Peak is drawn down for irrigation each year and the outflows from Lucky Peak come from a higher elevation in the reservoir. This draw-down and outflow location means the water released is influenced by the surface water temperature which causes water temperatures to drop quicker and get colder on the Lower Boise River in the winter than the S.F. of the Boise. Figure 2 shows water temperatures released from Lucky Peak Dam from fall through winter and Figure-3 shows Lucky Peak winter water elevation and where outflows originate. You can see that the reservoir level drops into the outflow-zone starting in October and stays there through February, driving outflow water temperatures down into the mid 30’s all winter. Winter water temperatures on the Lower Boise River will warm a bit on sunny days as you go downstream which can make fishing better in the afternoon between Glenwood and Star.


    As winter turns into spring and the sun gets higher in the sky, water starts warming. The greater the sun exposure and the more solar cycles, the more it warms which results in water getting warmer the further downstream you go. This pre-runoff time can be some of the best fishing of the year as the warmer water gets the hatches going and makes the fish HUNGRY! However, while water is warming downstream the water temperature being released from Anderson Ranch and Lucky Peak dams gets stuck in the upper 30’s, which makes it advantageous in the spring to fish further downstream where water has time to warm up. Figure 4 shows how the water temperature increases as you go downstream on the Lower Boise River. While water temperatures at Lucky Peak stay cold all day the river below warms up enough to see some hatches and more active trout.


    In the heat of summer, freestone rivers can get too warm for good trout fishing, but the temperature of water below a tailwater dam is usually cooler because of the deep blanket of water insulating outflows from the summer heat. On a tailwater river you can often escape higher water temperatures by fishing closer to the dam that is releasing cooler waters. On a freestone river one way to combat the heat of summer is to fish further upstream where the river has seen fewer “solar cycles” of warming.

    Anderson Ranch Dam outflows into the S.F. of the Boise remain cool all summer long running around 55 degrees. However, water temperatures on the Main Boise River are again impacted by the irrigation draw-down of Lucky Peak, causing outflow temperatures to rise into the mid 60’s by the end of August, and even higher in low-water years. Trout have a range of preferred water temperatures and stop biting when the temperatures get into the upper 60s, so it is best to seek out cooler waters when these conditions exist. Fishing in overly warm water also increases the mortality rate of trout caught and released.

    A recent Idaho Fish and Game study on water temperatures found that:

    The study found that mortality was 69% higher for trout landed at 73°F water temperatures than for those landed when waters were less than 66°F. These results suggest that higher water temperatures were indeed decreasing the survival of caught-and-released trout. However, catch rates were much lower (77% lower!) at the higher water temperatures above 73°F, and much better when temperatures were below 66°F. So while mortality was higher at the hottest temperatures, the number of trout caught was much lower because it was much harder to catch fish at those warmer temperatures. This phenomenon is well known to trout anglers, who often stop fishing in the heat of the day because catch rates are poor compared to cooler times of the day.


    Checking water temperatures can help you find the most productive water and anticipate what bugs will hatch. Checking water temperatures online using BVFF’s Local Waters web page can help you plan your trip and carrying a quality stream thermometer (FishPond and Orvis have good ones) can help you adjust your fishing plans on the river. For more information on how to use a thermometer to improve your fishing, see my article Using A Thermometer To Improve Your Fishing.


    BVFF’s Local Waters web page. 

    • Water flow and temperature information can be found on USGS and BofR Hydromet websites .

    • Water temperatures on the Main Boise River were obtained from the City of Boise through a public records request of water quality data.

    • BVFF Conservation Blog

    Using A Thermometer To Improve Your Fishing

    Idaho Fish and Game Water Temperature Study

  • 07 Feb 2023 11:08 AM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    It's February, and time to chase some mountain whitefish!  Mountain Whitefish are native to our local rivers and an indicator of water quality. The Boise River in town has a healthy population of Whitefish and the S. F. of the Boise has some of the biggest whitefish in the area.

    Whitefish are more tolerant of the cold winter water and are more eager to take a fly than their trout cousins.  One key to catching whitefish and trout in the winter is to get the fly down to the bottom where fish are holding.  A drop-shot rig is a great way to do this and can be fished with or without an indicator.  Here is how to build a drop-shot leader.  Additional information on Euro-Nymphing rods and techniques can be found on the BVFF Euro-Nymphing page.

    Whitefish have small mouths so it helps to use smaller nymphs. Some good patterns to try are:

    1. #16 Black or Red Zebra Midge
    2. #16 Olive Thread Frenchie
    3. #18 Rainbow Warrior
    4. #16 Frenchie
    5. #18 Red Brassie
    6. #14 Blowtorch
    7. #12 Prince Nymph

    Additional Information.

    BVFF Whitefish Derby (VIRTUAL) and (IN-PERSON)

    1. Whitefish Ed
    2. Idaho Fish and Game Whitefish Information
    3. The Mighty Whitey
    4. Chasing Mr Whitey
    5. A Native Friend
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