Derek Darst is here to introduce us to the St. Joe River and some of his specialty fly patterns. We explore this lizard fly and some of his other unique flies as we look at his top flies for Idaho. We also learn where to look for Westslope cutthroat trout in his part of the world.

Fly Fishing the St. Joe River with Derek Darst. Hit play below!

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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st. joe river

Fly Fishing the St. Joe River Show Notes with Derek Darst

3:21 – Derek tells us how he got into fly fishing. He spent a lot of his time backcountry fly fishing with his father, and at the age of 10, he started learning how to tie flies. He now offers flies online through Saint Maries Flies.

5:33 – We dig into the St. Joe River and Saint Maries River which he says has a good Westslope cutthroat population.

9:10 – We find out where to look for Westslope cutthroat trout.

15:05 – He recommends some must-have fly patterns to catch some Westslope cutthroat trout, such as stimulator, elk hair, caddises, and royal wolf. One of his favorites is the Turks tarantula with a red body or burnt orange colored body.

18:28 – He takes us through the year through the St. Joe River.

21:12 – We talk about Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A lot of people visit this area for the lakes.

22:25 – He gives us the key to finding some bull trout. I mention our episode with Dave Blackburn where he talked a bit about the regulations on targeting bull trout.

29:21 – He sells Pat Cohen patterns on his website. Pat was one of his big influences in fly tying. He quit selling flies and dedicated his time to tattoo artistry through his Instagram @rusuperfly. We had him in the podcast on episode 107.

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30:20 – We dig into his fly tying. At first, he was self-taught, but then he bought some of Pat Cohen’s videos to learn about deer hair.

31:52 – The most common flies he ties are the poppers, divers, and frogs.

34:14 – He gets his deer hair from North American Trading in Strum, Wisconsin. He looks for the thickest and longest hair.

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38:48 – He also sells lizards for muskies and bass which are around nine to 10 inches long. He ties these for an hour at least.

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43:28 – We talk about Westslope cutthroats. There are also a few rainbows in St. Joe River.

46:27 – He recommends the Huckleberry Campground. People mostly camp during summer in around July and August.

47:08 – We do some random rapid-fire questions.

49:09 – He shares about that time when Luke Bryan visited their town to fish. He performed live in Spokane and at the 2:15 minute mark of the video, he signed a board with Derek’s flies on it and took the fly with him.

50:53 – He went to Florida, at Tampa Bay, a couple of months ago for a fishing trip.

53:06 – He did a video for Musky Town on tying deer hair diver and popper.

54:57 – He uses a lot of Kona Xtra Stong Stinger (XSS) hooks for his hair bugs.

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You can find Derek Darst on Instagram @SaintMariesFlies

Facebook at Saint Maries Flies

Visit his website at

Videos Noted in the Show

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 446 – Maine Fly Guys with Greg LaBonte – Musky, Brook Trout, In the Film Podcast


WFS 416 – Kootenai River Fly Fishing with Dave Blackburn – Montana, Bull Trout, Bluegrass


WFS 107 – Fly Tying with Pat Cohen – Deer Hair Poppers, RU Superfly, Smallmouth Bass, Tattoo Art


WFS 444 – Selecting Hooks for Fly Tying with Steve Potter – Daiichi, Deer Hair, Cigar Fly


WFS 468 – Driftless Fly Fishing with Geri Meyer – Driftless Angler, Caddis Flies, Crane Flies

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

st. joe river

Fly Fishing the St. Joe River Conclusion with Derek Darst

Overall, our episode with Derek Darst was a fascinating dive into the world of fly tying and fishing in Idaho. We got a firsthand look at his specialty fly patterns, including the impressive lizard fly, and gained valuable insights into where to find the elusive Westslope cutthroat trout.

If you’re a fly fishing enthusiast or just interested in the craft of fly tying, be sure to check out Derek’s work and explore the beautiful St. Joe River for yourself.