Fly Fishing,    Planning,    Insider

Interesting and New Products at ICAST

By Reza Almaneih 7/22/2016 5 minutes

Last week I was in Florida for ICAST, the world’s largest sport fishing trade show, checking out the latest innovations in fishing gear and accessories. I was surprised how large the fishing industry as a whole seems to be compared with the niche of fly-fishing. There was a noticeable change in culture as I walked from the fly fishing area to the bass and saltwater sections.

ICAST gave me an opportunity to see many parts of the fishing industry, new trends and the evolution of the industry.  I wanted to share some of the interesting and new products that stood out.

Grayl – A portable water filter, and bottle

The day I learned about the number of plastic bottles in the ocean was the last day I bought bottled water. Those that know me will see me with Nalgene bottles whereever I go. When I am traveling, I just fill them with tap water---&*@# Yuk! The Grayl, solves the problem of drinkable water on the go.

They’ve designed a nifty water bottle that is also filter. You simply fill it at any stream, lake, tap, etc., press the filter through the bottle, and drink your water. It really is that easy. This is perfect for wade trips where you don’t want to carry water (at 7 pounds per gallon, who does), as well as packing trips where minimal weight is key, or for people like me who hate buying bottled water. I’m taking this to my South Fork of the Flathead trip this summer for a thorough test.

Jackson Mayfly – Fishing kayak built specifically for fly anglers (Yes, that is Jenn Ripple)

Releasing in the fall, this is one of the more intriguing new products for 2016. This kayak has been specifically designed for fly anglers.

It has been well designed with compartments for fly boxes and pockets to store two fly rods while protect the tips. Things are carefully put away and hardware is used to minimize catching your loose fly line. The coolest part is they say you can stand up with confidence. I see this as a superior alternative to pontoon boats for many situations. I only have one question, “How much does it cost to get that on the plane?

Sportsman Bumper – I have been asking for this for years!

Since I started fly-fishing, my mentor and friend has warned me of the disaster of leaning your fly rod on your car. One slip along with a door being closed and crunch! - your fly rod is in more pieces than you want. We have always placed them on the top of the car to keep them safe. A couple of times after a long day beating the water, we almost forgot them on the roof. Not good.

This clever magnetic device keeps your fly rod safe and easy to get to. And better yet, it only costs $20. I brought one home and will keep it with my gear for all of my trips. Perfect stocking stuffer too.

Korkers wading boots with interchangeable sole system – What a great idea

I have to admit, I have some run-of-the-mill Cabela boots that I have had forever. I have eye-balled some of the newer boots at the fly shop before but could never get myself to spend the money. This might change if everything the rep at Korkers said is true.

The concept is quite simple, they have a removable sole system that allows you to quickly change out the bottoms depending on the conditions. Very cool idea.  They have 9 different soles for your every need. Some can be quite pricey but it’s still cheaper than nine new pair of boots. The rep is planning on shipping a couple of pairs to some of our guides to try out this fall. I look forward to doing a review on them.

Souplefly Bug Visor – Great for the loose flies at the end of the day

I don’t know about you, but my wife does not appreciate flies on the roof of my car, my favorite spot for loose flies at the end of the day. Souplefly has a unique product. It’s a a pad you install on your sun visor or rear of your car that allows you to quickly place loose flies and other fly gear.

It velcros in and easily removes for a day on the water. Once removed, you can place it around your neck and use it for your ultra light days. Cool idea.

I am not sure I would actually use it for fishing but love the idea of having the pad on my visor and rear of car for loose gear. You may see a detailed review of this in the fly fishing vehicle blog I am going to do in the coming weeks.

Sunray International Floater LD Fly Line – You can really cast farther

I should mention first that I am not the guy who can empty his fly line. Every year in Ennis, I watch others at the fly fishing festival cast their entire line and backing. That is not me. Nor do I care that much.

But, I had the chance to try this line in the simulated ponds at ICAST and I was able to reach the entire length of the pond with a no-name rod. Very cool! He explained to me that the thinner line travels better especially in the wind. I can use help in that department. He also insists it floats just as well. I spoke with the rep and we are going to get a sample product for one of our outfitters to try and see what it can do. Don’t be surprised if we do a full review of this line.

Montana Fly Company Molded Fly Box – Super light fly box

Alex and I have been spending more and more time going ultra light. I think it might be mostly about age but there is also something about being one with the river when you are not hauling a bunch of gear.

This fly box really fits the bill. I am thinking of trying this on the South Fork of the Flathead Trip. It is light, hard to lose, floats, and holds a lot of flies.

I still can’t get over this market trend – The $100 snippers!

For years, we have used the cheap snippers or often, the famous cheap nail clippers for snipping our line. Recently, I have been seeing this trend of fancy snippers with crazy prices. I guess it is for the fly fishermen who has everything?

I guess there is worse. Try the Bentley Bentayga—but I digress.

Umpqua Cooler Organizer – Tools for the trade

I thought some of our outfitters might find this interesting - a cooler organizer for the boat depending on where the cooler sits. I actually took this photo so I could get a pretty girl in a photo. :)

This is a small town with a big heart, a veritable fisherman’s paradise. Located near the fish-filled Madison River, and surrounded by the waters of Ennis Lake, the Ruby River, Hebgen ... moreLake, Quake Lake, Henry’s Lake, the Big Hole River and scores of smaller streams, the town boasts what many consider the best trout fishing in the world. As well known for its wranglers as its anglers, Ennis has succeeded in maintaining the look and feel of its original, gold town roots. Warm and hospitable, the area offers a wide variety of accommodations ranging from simple campsites, rustic motels and gracious hotels, to full-service, luxury resorts. Fly shops are numerous, stocked by local experts ready to advise and assist, while guides can be booked for trips throughout the area.

Boredom is the only thing unavailable in Ennis. Throughout the summer season the city hosts a series of events, including its renowned 4th of July Celebration Parade and a genuine, old-fashioned rodeo. In August, fly-fishing luminaries from around the US, flock to Montana to compete in the Madison Fly Fishing Festival. Athletes also find their way to Ennis to compete in the city’s Madison Trifecta, two shorter races followed by a full Marathon at 9000 feet, the highest elevation run in America. For the true sportsman, October falls in with the annual Hunter’s Feed. What’s caught, typically elk, moose deer, pheasant and bobcat, gets cooked on the streets and served up to hungry spectators.

Flanked by three grand mountain ranges, The Tobacco Root, Gravelly and Madison, Ennis is scenic and entertaining – truly an authentic, fly fisher’s haven.
Fishing Waters
Scenic, beautiful and rich in history, this northeasterly flowing river is thought to have acquired its name from the Minnetaree Indians whom were struck by the unique, yellow-colored ... moresandstone lining the river’s lower bluffs. Translated by early French trappers as Roche Jaune, {Yellow Rock} the river kept this moniker until Lewis and Clark recorded their translation into Yellow Stone, a name that took hold and remains today. The river may be better known in history as an escape route after General Custer and his 7thCalvary, were soundly defeated by the Lakota Indians at the Battle of Bighorn. The few remaining survivors were ferried down the Yellowstone to Fort Abraham Lincoln along the Missouri River.

Today, the awe-inspiring river is closely associated with the Wyoming based Yellowstone National Park and the other great recreational fishing rivers that cluster within the southwestern corner of Montana. The Yellowstone itself is officially classed as a Blue Ribbon stream in Montana, from the Park to its confluence with the Boulder River east of Livingston and from the Rosebud Creek to the North Dakota border, and is the longest undammed river in the lower 48. The absence of dams along the river results in favorable habitat for trout from high inside the Park, downstream to Gardiner, the Paradise Valley, Livingston and to Big Timber, a length of nearly 200 miles.

Many consider the area around Paradise Valley to be the most favorable in Montana, especially near Livingston. Here you can expect to lure brown trout, rainbow trout and native yellowstone cutthroat trout as well as rocky mountain whitefish. Further along, from Billings to the North Dakota border, burbot, channel catfish, paddlefish, sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and the occasional pallid sturgeon can be found. The section of the river from Mallard’s Rest to Carter’s Bridge is known both for its magnificent scenery and abundant fishing. Here you will find yourself in the midst of snow-capped mountains, the Absaroka to the east and the Gallatin to the west, and a landscape dotted with elk, fox and other wildlife. You’ll also discover meandering streams and creeks that flow into the Yellowstone. Many, such as the DePuy Spring Creek, are highly ranked, and like the main river, are full of rainbow and brown trout.
The Jefferson River is an important part of a system of rivers that combine to form the majestic Missouri. Starting at the confluence of the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers near Twin ... moreBridges, Montana, it winds 77 miles in a northeasterly fashion to Three Forks. Here, it meets with the Madison and Gallatin rivers that together converge into the Missouri River at the Missouri Headwaters State Park. Like so many other rivers in Montana, the Jefferson, named by Clark in honor of the U.S. President, runs deep with history. In fact, the Jefferson River is a segment of the larger Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, administered by our National Park Service.

When thinking about the Jefferson, a Class 1 river for recreational enjoyment, most observers view the river in three distinct sections. Characterized by slow, meandering flows, the upper third works its way through a broad, arid valley. Along this braided, 44 mile long floodplain, you will encounter working farms, dense cottonwood stands, flowered meadows and a variety of wildlife until you reach the town of Cardwell. Throughout the next 15 miles, its waters flow through a narrow, steep canyon where the water can be deep, slow and contained. As a result, the stretch from Cardwell to the Sappington Bridge has comparatively fewer trees, swamps, meadows and wildlife.

At Sappington Bridge the river once again becomes a circuitous, rambling river, rich in swamp life, colorful fields, large cottonwood groves and productive agricultural land. The presence of significant agriculture has resulted in competition for water use. During dry years, the river was tapped generously for irrigation, dropping water levels to the point where fish populations were adversely affected. Recent improvement in riparian management has tended to alleviate these issues. Primarily known as a brown trout river, rainbows, mountain whitefish, burbot and northern pike can also be found here. Less well known and less discovered, the Jefferson offers the opportunity to catch large fish in a scenic, un-crowded environment.
The Madison River is arguably one of the best trout fishing rivers in all of southwest Montana, if not the entire world! It’s certainly the most talked over, written up and frequented ... morein the state of Montana – which is considered by some the capital of fly fishing. Anglers will find plenty of great access sites to wade or float along the Madison’s banks and reservoirs (including Hebgen Lake and Ennis Lake). Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, and more abound in this majestic fishing stream.

The Madison begins its course almost twenty miles into Yellowstone National Park. Within the Park, fishing rules apply: no live bait and catch and release only. Once outside the Park the river meanders past working ranches, stately conifer forests and cottonwood lined banks, interrupted by riffles and quiet runs that contain large rainbow and trophy brown trout. Flowing alongside Yellowstone’s West entrance road, the river enters Hebgen Lake, created by Hebgen dam, until it reaches Quake Lake, a bit downstream from the dam. At this point the river is commonly called either the Upper Madison or the Lower Madison, although in fact, they are one and the same.

Upper Madison – Quake Lake to Ennis Lake
Directly below Quake Lake the river roars into 5 long miles of Class V whitewater with steep gradients and large boulders along the way. As the rapids decline, the magic begins. For the next 53 miles, often referred to as the 50 Mile Riffle, the cold river runs north and the fish jump high. Annual runs of spawning trout make their way from Hebgen Lake, rainbows in the spring and browns in the fall. Known the world over for its “hard fighting” trout, it’s not unusual to pull a 25” brown from these upper waters. In deference to the purists and fly-fishing enthusiasts, it’s wading only from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Boats may be used to access the river, but if you’re going to fish, your feet must be on the riverbed. Fortunately, the Hebgen Dam releases water throughout the year, leveling its flows and relieving it of spring runoff issues and summer shrinkage.

Lower Madison – Ennis Lakes to Three Forks
A short section of the river between Ennis Dam and the power station maintains relatively low water levels and provides wonderful opportunities for wading. Past the power station the river regains its muscle and for 7 miles winds through Bear Trap Canyon. Hiking trails offer the only entry, great for those that like to walk and seek the solitude of a designated wilderness area. Floating is permitted but requires a lengthy shuttle and the ability to work through Class III-IV whitewater. Once out of the canyon the river flows in shallow riffles until it reaches Three Forks and joins the Missouri. From Warm Springs to Greycliff, the river is easily accessible for drifters and wading.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
1 day
Join us on the Yellowstone for a great day of fishing. With over 20 years experience floating the Yellowstone, Water's Edge Outfitting knows every riffle and pocket of water to help ... moretailor your trip to meet your expecations and skill level. Whether a first time angler or and expert, we will help you create great moments for a lifetime of memories. We are located near Livington, Montana and have extensive knowledge of nearby rivers.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
3 days
Experience the Madison River Like Never Before Learn the best spots on the Madison River with 3 great fishing days with Red Mountain Adventures. Eric Shores, with over 35 years of ... moreexperiencing guiding on the Madison River will take you down a journey of the best places to fish.

The journey starts on the Upper Madison River on a guided float trip covering about 8-11 miles of premier fly fishing water. The following day includes a recipe (location flies, and technique) on a do it yourself wade location near the fly fishing town of Ennis. The third day moves you on to where the Madison River dumps into Ennis Lake for a full float day stalking the giants.

Note: The order or location may change based on where the best spots are at the time.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
1 day
Formed in Twin Bridges, Montana by the confluence of the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Ruby Rivers, the Jefferson flows northbound over eighty miles to the confluence of the Madison and ... moreGallatin Rivers to form the Missouri. Receiving less pressure than any of the others, this is one of those fisheries that you have to see to believe.

What the Jefferson offers:

80 miles of floatable water, with good wading opportunities

Early stonefly hatches

Great streamer fishing

Unparallelled wildlife and scenery

Larger than average trout

Low angler pressure

Did we mention BIG brown trout?


Reza Almaneih

As a fly fishing enthusiast for over a decade, Reza sees Yobi Adventures as a way to bring the the fly fishing community together and experience the thrill of fly fishing across North America.


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