Siciliano's Market News, August 19 Edition

This week's list of new and returning products follows a few words about a fly fishing trip to Idaho


Barb with a nice cutthroat

Preamble by Steve Siciliano


The late Pete Hamlin once told me that you always remember the big ones that get away and while I never heeded my good buddy's unsolicited advice about women (he was married six times) and we didn't quite see eye to eye on politics (he was a die hard Libertarian), when it came to the subject of fly fishing I have to admit that the old codger's philosophical pontifications were always on point.


The sinking feeling of losing a trophy trout at the boat on the Madison last summer haunts me to this day and Barb still talks about that huge brown that she lost on the Beaverhead three years ago after a forty-five-minute fight. And for the past three weeks or so I’ve been dissecting and analyzing an all too brief tussle with a lunker rainbow that broke me off on the Snake River in Idaho.


The Snake is a big river. It rises in western Wyoming and flows through Idaho's Snake River Plain before turning north and emptying into the Columbia River in Washington. There are twenty-two dams on the upper and middle stretches Six are used for the generation of electricity, the rest provide water for irrigation. During periods of scarce rainfall more water is released from the reservoirs which is good for the potato farmers, not so good for fly anglers. During our visit the river was running at18,000 cubic feet per second, about double the average for that time of year, which made for some pretty challenging fishing.

A big one that didn't get away

Despite the high water flows Barb and I had a productive four days on the river. We caught and released our fair share of trout--a scattering of browns and a good number of acrobatic rainbows, but the majority were beautiful native cutthroats. I tied into the aforementioned rainbow seconds after Barb latched onto a hard fighting cuttie--a rare double hookup. Barb landed her fish but after mine went airborne it bee-lined upriver and rather than letting the brute run I reefed down on the fly line, snapping the leader and eliciting a mild scolding from the guide. I can only imagine the brutal tongue lashing I would have gotten from Pete.


Our base of operations for our five day visit was the Teton Valley Lodge. The rustic but well maintained operation sits in a wide valley on the banks of the Teton River with the majestic Tetons to the east and the Big Hole Range to the west. Guests have their own well appointed cabin, each with a porch where you can relax with a cigar and a tumbler of bourbon after a long day on the river.


The view from the porch of our cabin

When you're casting large flies all day you need to keep your strength up and the lodge provides excellent meals to ensure that no angler goes hungry. It also offers all the complimentary craft beer and fine wine you can handle.


On our last day we fished the stretch of the Teton River right in front of the lodge then spent the afternoon floating a gorgeous section of the South Fork. My last fish of the trip was a diminutive six inch brown that I hooked just before the takeout. Landing the pipsqueak was a bit anticlimactic but as I released the little aquatic jewel I remembered what old Pete used to tell me. "If it's a trout, it damn well counts."


Featured Wines of the Week


Due Torri, 2020, Pinot Grigio, Italy, $12.49/750ml- DueTorri Pinot Grigio is an exquisite dry white, fragrant on the nose bursting with citrus fruit aromas. It is fresh on the palate with an excellent balance of acidity and minerality. Vinified entirely in stainless steel, enjoy this wine in its youth for maximum fruit expression. (Source)

Donati, Sisters Forever, 2019, un-oaked Chardonnay, California, $12.49/750ml- TASTING NOTES - AROMA – LEMON FRESHNESS, LIME MERENGUE, BANANA CREAM PIE. PALATE – STONE FRUIT AND MARSHMALLOW FLUFF, BALANCED ACIDS. FINISH – TANGERINE AND LIME LINGER ON PALATE, RICH FULLNESS. (Source)

Prisma, 2020, Sauvignon Bl