One of my favorite activities besides flying is fly fishing. Combine a gorgeous river full of hungry Idaho trout with a beautiful flight and you've got yourself some serious fun!
Note that these photos were taken from two different trips, one with a good fishing friend from work (day trip) and another with my five year old daughter (overnight).
Now you all have to promise that if you look at these photos you absolutely, positively, WILL NOT move to North Idaho. Do we have a deal?
I've been to quite a few parts of the U.S. and always ask myself why I think North Idaho is still the best. I think it boils down to the variety of terrain- there's just lots to see and do outdoors. This is a small lake next to Coeur d'Alene (CDA) called Hayden Lake.
And of course growing up in Idaho hasn't influenced me at all I'm sure :) See the grass field at the end of the bay below? That's where I first started flying (R/C) and that lake and all those mountains were my playground.
And we're off... I had a bug to take a camping trip with my daughter Alahna so one clear day after work we grabbed the gear, hopped in the plane, and started flying south.
I began flying with my kids when they were very young and for some crazy reason they just really seem to love it.
This is the Coeur d'Alene River and the chain lakes that feed into it at the south end. Because of the way the lake was formed these rivers are in drainages that all confluence downstream and between the drainages are major North Idaho mountain ranges (aka playgrounds). The Silver Valley (Pinehurst, Kellogg, Wallace, etc) is part of the CDA river drainage. Growing up I use to ogle over a shiny P-51 parked at the Kellogg Airport and the fascination I had with it was my first real introduction to powered flight.
And this is the next drainage... the shadowy St. Joe. I would tell you how good the fishing is there but then I really would have to worry about you moving out here :) The good news is that there's a whole section far upstream that is catch-and-release so I imagine it will stay good for quite some time. Below this photo is a short video showing a little bit of the action.
And the video (tip: click play and then pause to allow it to cache while you read further down)...
Elk River, ID is one of our favorite breakfast spots. You just have to love a town that has a grass airstrip running next to it.
And as we pass over into the Clearwater River drainage things start to get more rugged. A lot more rugged in fact. This is one place that you really don't want to have to worry about your engine.
Ah, a friendly grass strip. Actually it's an emergency use only strip but is fine for properly equipped aircraft. The field itself is plenty long but isn't always in the best condition (ruts, holes, etc) so a slow approach speed is important. A tailwheel comes in handy too if you can't miss one of those varmit holes. All in all a good thing though, this helps keeps the 172 crowd to a minimum.
You need to watch out for moose on the strip- they're everywhere around here.
Did I mention there's a blue ribbon trout stream right next to the strip? My daughter and I pulled about 20 fish out of that hole next to the log in less than 20 minutes before it got too dark to see. Talk about one excited kid (or make that two excited "kids"...).
And the video...
We had to set up the tent in the dark but the fishing was worth it. Alahna really likes helping set up camp and is a blessing to work with.
A typical Idaho backcountry morning, cold and frosty. And very beautiful.
Gotta keep the co-pilot comfortable. Of course about ten minutes after this photo she was asleep.
A light plane is about as perfect of place as any to watch a sunrise, especially over the wilderness.
We'll switch gears here and show you another nearby strip, this one MUCH more popular with Brand-C crowd. Moose Creek is probably second only to Johnson Creek in Idaho airstrip notoriety. And for good reason- it's like landing on a golf course.
Moose Creek has a rich history and the outbuildings and corrals are a big part of the nostalgia of visiting this wonderful place.
Downriver from the airstrip is more rugged country, here being a great example along the Selway River.
So that gives you a little taste of North-Central Idaho fishing and flying. Grab your rod, pump down your big tires, and fly on out for a visit. But please don't move here :)