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  • Writer's pictureBear River Tackle

Oregon Trail Lightning Trout

The Oregon trail in Idaho runs along the Snake River for approximately 100 miles, with large springs of ground water gushing out of the mountains to create ideal trout habitat.

The white streaks on the far mountain above the Snake River are from flowing springs of groundwater that remain open all winter long.

In early May I traveled to the spring fed trout streams in this area for a couple of days of fly fishing and found the situation was different than expected.

Because this was unfamiliar water it took the better part of the day to figure out what the trout wanted. This is what we observed:

  • The trout were willing to chase and strike a streamer fly. My friend was fishing an insect pattern with reasonable results; but I was killing it by fast stripping a Bear River Tackle streamer flies. This is unusual in a Spring Creek.


  • Various parts of the streams required quite different flies. In one pool the fish would readily strike a custom Gold-Ey trout fly, while the fish in the next pool preferred a different custom GST trout fly.


  • Lightning Trout aggressively took flies in the middle of the day while the Rainbows favored early, late, and shaded banks. Lightning Trout (Palomino) are a cross between Rainbow Trout and Golden Trout.


  • Because of the crystal-clear water the fish were very spooky.

Once we adjusted our fishing techniques to account for these observations, our results were exceptional. The specific changes we made were to:

  • Target Rainbows early, late and in the shadows.


  • Focus on Lightning Trout during the day and in open sunny water.


  • Adopt a stealthy approach and use long casts.


  • Change flies to find the best pattern and color for each group of fish even if they were in close proximity (within 100 yards).


 With these techniques and custom trout flies, I caught and released over 30 trout in a seven hour period. This group was kept for shore lunches and dinner.

The process described here is what you should do anytime your trip is on unfamiliar water. If you would like to learn more, read the Adventure Newsletter from June 5, 2021, titled “Breaking the Code” which contains additional fly-fishing tips that will improve your success.

You can have the custom trout flies used on this trip by selecting the “Your Design” option on the Shop Tab. Order the Base-Level and your shipping is free.

Bear River Tackle is dedicated to helping everyone (novice or advanced), have an outstanding fly-fishing experience.

We do this by providing knowledge, fly-fishing tips, and exceptional flies!


Glenn Personey

Founder and CEO

Bear River Tackle

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