It is remarkable how long the deciduous trees held their verdant color this year, but in the past few days the green summer foliage has finally been replaced with golden yellows. Now that it not only feels like autumn, but looks like it too, the local fishing will undoubtedly become less productive for anglers. The good news is that there are still some excellent fishing opportunities on our local waters as November slowly approaches
Big Wood River
The Big Wood (294cfs) is fishing relatively well, especially on warmer days and overcast afternoons. The star of the show is the fall Baetis. This little olive mayfly (size 18-22) can be present in good numbers during warmer periods, during overcast afternoons and after the passing of a storm. Silver Creek Outfitters offers numerous patterns to match this hatch, including adult and nymph stages. In addition to the Baetis, there will be significant numbers of midges which are a certain indicator of the oncoming winter season. Fish will be hanging out in smooth water as well as on the edges of currents in the back eddies. If the fish are not rising, try double nymph setups. Patterns that will be productive are Zebra Midges, Brassies (size 18-22) and Pheasant Tails (size 16-20). It is still possible to bring fish to the surface with large attractor patterns like Parachute Adams, H and L Variants, Purple Hazes and Royal Trudes (sizes 12-18).
The Creek is fishing well as anglers move toward subsurface fishing techniques in lieu of surface patterns. The Baetis fishing can still be quite good, as windows will open for the persistent fisherman. It is a good time to be observant as fish may change their feeding selection randomly and often. Mahogany Duns will continue to remain in the system, perhaps even into November. Generally speaking, it is a Baetis and Midge event on our spring creek. Subsurface is where most of the action is happening as Brown Trout continue to spawn on the gravel beds and give the angler a great opportunity for “wall hangers” especially if using Woolly Buggers in black, brown and olive. Egg patterns, as well as nymphing, will also be productive. As always, make your approach to these trout quietly and use 12-15 foot leaders when dry fly fishing or nymphing. Shorter, thicker leaders will suffice for Woolly Bugger fishing, but take your time in approaching these larger fish â€“ there is a reason they have grown to a healthy old age.
Big Lost River
Right now, The Big Lost (75cfs) is a real hot spot for trout fishing. Baetis are present in excellent numbers from the late morning hours through the late afternoon. Anglers will notice that these mayflies arrive in waves, sometimes in very prolific numbers. In between the rushes of bugs, try Brassies and Zebra Midges underwater in sizes 18-22. The top water fishing can be very good and 5X is definitely the tippet of choice. Because the water level is at its lowest of the year, fly fishermen will want to approach feeding fish cautiously and use leaders in the 10 – 12 foot range. Don’t overlook the shallow gravel bars where Rainbows will be sipping off the surface or feeding just below it. Dredging deep holes with the aforementioned double dropper setup will also produce. Warmer days tend to be more productive but don’t hesitate to make the drive over the hill even on a cloudy day as overcast skies often contribute to significant Baetis emergences.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork of the Boise (304cfs) continues to offer good Baetis and nymph fishing. It is still possible to find the occasional Pale Morning Dun in size 18 on sunnier days but generally speaking, Baetis will be the most significant insect. The low water level allows for some very good access for walk and wade fishing and covering a lot of water will prove most effective. As always, streamer fishing provides the opportunity to hook some behemoth Rainbows and Bull Trout. Nymphing is best with Midge Pupae imitations (size 18-22) and brown mayfly nymphs in sizes of 16-18.
As many fall fishermen head north for the steelhead fishing, the Salmon River continues to offer superb Whitefish and trout fishing. Large nymphs will result in the highest catch rates as fish store up on food sources before the oncoming cold winter. Prince Nymphs, King Princes, Copper Johns and Caddis Pupae (sizes 12-14) will do the job, especially when fished in the deeper pockets and holes. Large streamers in white and gray with flashabou will entice Bull Trout to strike, some of which could be massive!