We are looking forward to another wonderful week of fishing here in the Wood River Valley. Our 8th annual Fly Fishing Film Festival and Product Fair are on the 19th and 20th. So whether you wake up early to hit the Tricos on the Creek, head over the hill to search for large Cutthroat, or just stay in town and wet wade around the Wood, be sure to come celebrate the fly fishing lifestyle by attending our Film Fest and visit with the different Reps at the Product Fair. See our website or drop by the store for more information.
This last week, the Creek really began to shape up into its consistent summer pattern of hatches. The morning has a complex array of bugs beginning with Callibaetis spinners and Trico Duns on the water. As the morning progresses, Baetis might make an appearance as well as PMD spinners and Duns. The Trico spinner fall has begun and should continue to build steam over the next few weeks. When the morning activity subsides the Blue Damsels take the stage as well as Callibaetis Duns and Spinners. Of course, beetles and ants are also good midday. In the evening, Caddis and PMDs, both 16 and 18 can be abundant. As you can tell, you need to have your box ready with all the usual suspects and bring your “A” game to the creek this time of year. Be sure to also have plenty of Frogs Fanny to help keep your size 20 to 24 flies floating high and dry as well as enough Trouthunter 6.5X tippet. Keep in mind, with the onset of the Trico hatch, the number of anglers increase as well, especially in the Preserve. Please use common sense and courtesy when fishing around other anglers.
The Big Wood
The Drakes may be done, but the Wood continues to fish well. At 250 CFS the river is at a good level for freely moving about and with the air temps in the 80s and 90s, it is a perfect time to wet wade. The action is good from mid morning into the early afternoon, but it will slow down until the evening caddis action. If you do see bugs, it will be a mixed bag of some Pink Alberts, Western Quills, Yellow Sallies, Crane Flies and Baetis. For dry flies you should try smaller size 14 or 16 parachute patterns like Purple Haze, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or Gulper Specials in olive or tan. Large attractor dry flies will turn fish but often get a short strike. Still a dry dropper set up can be deadly. Try a red or black Zebra Midge, a Beaded Pheasant Tail, a Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 or 18 trailed behind a high floating dry fly. Straight up nymphing with an indicator or European style can be very effective. The fish hit the fly, whether wet or dry, with astonishing speed this time of year, so be sure to hone your hook setting skills by managing you slack line both in your hands and on the water.
Big Lost River Upper & Lower
The upper Lost is really starting to fish well throughout the length of the river. Still, reports vary from outstanding to fair. The anglers who are most successful are the ones who cover a lot of ground. For the most part, the Upper Lost fish are opportunists and will feed on the first well presented fly. If you don’t turn any fish in some likely water, just move on and keep searching. Those who take this tactic have been finding several nice cutthroat. Take your favorite attractor drys, like Stimulators and Royal Wulffs, an assortment of nymphs and have some fun searching the water. Also have some smaller drys, like Parachute PMDs and Purple Haze in size 16 and 18 to fool the tougher fish. Below Mackay, the flows are right at 500 CFS and beginning to drop. I would recommend keeping your eye on the Idaho River Flows page (use the link on our website) and wait for it to drop to more fishable levels.
South Fork of the Boise
There may still be some stones about this week, but the big show has come and gone. The flows are holding steady at 1600 CFS which is a good level for floating, but some wade fishing opportunities can be found. You may still find some success with big foamy stones pounding the banks, but you may be more successful parking the boat and working the riffles and back channels with small tail water nymphs like WD40s, RS2s, caddis larva, or rubber leg stones. There are some Pink Alberts, size 16, during the day and in the evening be sure to have plenty of Caddis drys and emergers in size 16 and 18.
Our stillwaters are best early and late. Both Magic and Mackay have terrific midge hatches this time of year. If you see no surface action, pull Seal buggers and Pops buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line. Or suspend a team of nymphs off an indicator like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or classic Chironomids with a floating line. When the midge hatches are at their peak in the evenings and the fish are on or near the surface, try a team of two Chironomids on a floating line with a dry on the point.
If you like small stream fishing, this is a great place to use a Sage Circa or TXL-F fly rod in a 2 or 3 wieght. The stream has a variety of characteristics from meadow stream to tight, tree-lined pocket water. This stream has some really nice wild fish as well as a good number of stocked trout. The water is getting lower and the fish are getting more selective, so take along some smaller drys and approach the runs with caution. A dry dropper rig is very effective for searching the water. Go with a high-vis dry like a small Turk’s Tarantula or an Arnold’s Unabomber followed by a Beaded Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 or 18.
We are very near the end of the floating season on the Salmon with the flows getting below 650 CFS, but there is plenty of good walk and wade opportunities all along the river from above Stanley all the way down to Clayton. If you go, take an assortment of orange and yellow Stimulators in size 12 and 14 and any other high visibility attractor dry. It is not too early to start tossing small hopper patterns as well and you can hear them starting to click all along the river. These fish also love standard beaded nymphs like pheasant tails, prince nymphs, and hare’s ear nymphs, especially the white fish, in size 16 to 12.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake and Gavers Lagoon have been stocked and are a great option for a family outing.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
The Big Wood
Rubber Leg Stone
Flash Back Pheasant Tail
Beaded Pheasant Tail
Lower & Upper Big Lost
Beaded Nymphs 16 -12
Large Stone Flies
South Fork of the Boise
Heavy Rubber Legged Stone Fly Nymphs
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey