Arts October 9, 2023

Snake River Nets

The quality could not be better

In the realm of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, few experiences are as gratifying as a successful day of fishing. For avid fishermen looking for quality, unique products, Snake River Net Company’s handcrafted nets and fly boxes are made with care and attention to detail that only a lifelong fisherman could instill. Mike Avery and his wife Bonita own and are the sole creators at Snake River Net Company. Mike is lucky to design, hand carve the nets and maintain the company warehouse. Bonita does “all the computer stuff” and juries for shows. Between the two of them, everything that the company sells is created in-house, even the screen-printed T-shirts!  

The Averys are sticklers for quality. Mike wants his customers to come directly to him for concerns and lives by the mentality that constantly improving and learning is part of life. With nets taking up to three days to make and made of hand-chosen wood, these products are the epitome of intentional. The company creates six styles of nets named after “places I like to fish,” says Mike. The length of the handle, depth of the bag, bag material, color, and design are all hand tailored to the area and fish they’re meant for. Each net has a way to measure fish to find the actual length of the fish instead of the “fisherman’s length.”   

Mike’s net bags are made of PVC, a fish-friendly material, which is better for catching and releasing fish and keeping hooks from being caught. Another important distinction of these nets is the finish. Mike had the idea to use tung oil after other nets he owned would chip or wear down. Since sometimes the finish is unknown, he had to sand the entire net down to match. Mike also makes the hoop small enough to not get caught on the brush when carrying, large and flat enough to get under fish, and deep enough that fish won’t flop out of designs specific to each river the nets are made for. Each net is made from either maple, walnut, or cherry; Mike also inlays some nets with exotic woods like Lacewood, Chechen, and Bubinga. Like most elements of these nets, he prioritizes function and style. The wood is inlaid to be as strong as possible while still visually appealing. “What my stuff is, in my opinion, is functional art. It’s a nice tool with a lot of thought behind it that looks nice, and I hope people are proud of using,” he says.  

Every Snake River net is a testament to this remarkable company’s passion, dedication, and craftsmanship, inviting anglers to embark on unforgettable journeys with the utmost confidence in their gear.


  • Hang your net up after a trip. 
  • Keep the net out of direct sunlight when storing it. UV breaks down the net bags. 
  • Once or twice a year, oil a rag, wipe the net down with tung oil, and then wipe it off to restore the finish.


  • Take a kid out fishing. Someone took time to take you fishing, so you need to “pay it forward” and do the same. 
  • If you’re going to carry a fishing net, you need to make it easily accessible and tethered to you. If you need both hands, that net is still tethered. 
  • Don’t ever take your waders and stuff them in a bag with your net.
  • Don’t forget your net! (Yes, it even happens to net craftsmen). 


  • Don’t drag a fish on the bank. 
  • Use barbless hooks for catch and release. 
  • If you are going to handle the fish, make sure to wet your hands first. 
  • If taking a “grip and grin” picture, hold your breath from when you take the fish out of the water and put the fish back in when you need to breathe.
This article appears in the Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.