KPAX Country: Fly fishing in St. Regis

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 18:36:44-04

ST. REGIS – We’re live in Superior, loving our time here, but now I’m going to take us just down the road in this next story to St. Regis, another small town on the Clark Fork River.

I sat down with a fly fishing guide that knows the river like the back of his hand and knows why this is such a special place.

“The main thing about the Clark, is, learning the river," said outfitter Joe Cantrell. "These fish really pot up, and there’s places you really need to fish the heck out of, and there’s places you need to roll right through.”

Rainbow, browns and bull trout make for great fishing, and Joe is willing to share his favorite spots with anyone who wants to try them out.

“I get them from Florida, New York, Virginia, Texas, Washington. Just everywhere, and we’re pretty small potatoes here so we really depend on return."

He says as long as you can get the fly out first, your level of expertise doesn’t matter.

“You can be an expert fly fisherman, or you can be a beginner. The most important thing in fly fishing, is getting that bug floating first. If you get the bug floating down the creek without your fly line or your leader or your tip in front of it, that’s 90 percent of the battle. If the fish look up and all they see is that fly he’s going to eat it.”

The Cantrell’s have built their life and family-run business in St. Regis. This lodge by the river hosts wedding and reunions, they own a restaurant and a fly shop as well. Joe offers his skill and the tranquility of their river-centered life to hundreds guests who come their way every summer. 

Joe is 78 right now, and he’s thinking he might retire around 92, so you’ve got a few years to get up here and let him take you fishing.