Where the River Starts


You can hear me saying “SSSHHHIIiiitttt…..”


My name is Chad. I am a classic Idaho boy, and as a young kid I did the classic Idaho things – I fished the Owyhee River and drank too much beer. This is the story of how my friends and I learned to love the Owyhee River and ALL that comes with it.

It all started at the age of 17 where Brad, Brock, Trey, and I decided to try out a craft beer. We knew we couldn’t obtain one until we were 21, so we decided to ‘borrow’ one from our parents. (In our minds, the advantage of being young meant we can get away with borrowing 1 drink.) Couldn’t hurt, right? With this conclusion, we “borrowed” one and headed off to fish the Owyhee.

We arrived at the river, cracking our warm beer, each taking a sip until it was gone. That day we learned there is a reason they usually sell them in 6 packs. A couple sips from a beer didn’t leave us with a buzz, just a terrible aftertaste. We began to pack our stuff to head home, upset that our day turned out to be very anticlimactic. But then we heard the laughs of drift boat fishermen. This brightens our mood as the “drifter” always seems to know exactly what the fish are biting on. If you can copy a drifter, you can probably catch a fish.

We stopped packing and ran to the bank to watch them float by in hopes of seeing what the “professionals” use on the river. As the drift boat floated down, a man on the boat slurred out the words “ ARrre YOU kids okay?”. It must have been the looks on our face as we were still trying to get used to the nasty taste of beer. “Did you run out of beer?”.

Brad, being the obnoxious brave soul of the group, saw the opportunity and took it. Screaming back “Yeah, my friend Trey drank it all”. This drunken sailor reached into the cooler and tossed a beer over to us saying back “Cheer up, this one is on me!”

I learned 2 things that day: fly-fishing the Owyhee River is the best thing in the world and if you want to fish, you must bring more than one beer. With the love and excitement for this river, I began to master the river. I started mastering the Owyhee by learning all the knots. Then, I learned how to read the river; what the brown trout eat, what time of day the browns eat, why they eat the Mayflies and PMD’s and what causes the PMD and Mayfly hatch. Not only did I study the river, I studied my gear. I travel from fly-fishing festival to festival, learning what gear is the best for certain parts of the river. That year I became an expert of the Owyhee River. I hope you have enjoyed my experiences and can learn the best way to fish the Owyhee River.

Izaak Walton. “O, Sir, doubt not that Angling is an art; is it not an art to deceive a trout with an artificial fly?


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