“To fish, fine and far off, is the first principle rule for trout angling .” ~ Charles Cotton (1676)
This is especially true in the fall. This time of year, all our fisheries are low and crystal clear and the largest fish will be searching for bugs in skinny water. Since the trout are exposed and vulnerable to predators in these conditions, they are especially spooky. And a spooked trout simply will not eat! To be stealthy, begin with your choice of clothing; angler’s in drab attire will be able to move closer to their quarry than those dressed in bright flashy clothes. Second, utilize a long, light leader to aid in a delicate presentation and to minimize drag. And finally, when possible, make a down stream presentation without false casting and pick up your cast after it has drifted well past your target. Anglers that practice these “fine and far” principles will reap the rewards of fall!
There is nothing finer than a idle fall day spent on the Creek. The hatches have been sporadic, but there are enough bugs to keep the fish feeding. You can expect Fall Baetis and a few Mahogany Duns hatching in the middle of the day into the afternoon with some midge hatching until sundown. For the Baetis, have a good selection of duns, cripples, and spinners tied by the House of Harrop in size 20-24. For the Mahoganies, you should have dun, emerger, and spinner patterns as well. If the water is devoid of bugs, terrestrials will still take fish, especially of windy days. Also, nymphing dry dropper style with size 20-16 pheasant tails and Baetis nymphs is effective. As always, be aware of browns on redds and leave them alone.
THE BIG WOOD
The unseasonably warm weather has made for perfect conditions on the Wood. The water is low, clear, and cool. The Fall Baetis should continue over the next two weeks and be especially prolific on cloudy days. One challenge for anglers unique to the fall is the influx of freshly fallen leaves in the river. When the wind blows, the leaves will come down. Not to worry; the fish can see your fly through the leaves. The most productive method remains nymphing with either a dry dropper rig or Euro Style. Try rubber leg stones, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, or the Iron Lotus.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The south Fork is ideal for wading with the flows holding steady at 300 CFS. This time of year the fall Baetis and midge are the main players and they will be hatching during the comfortable times of the day. Nymphing is also going to be productive when few bugs are about with the usual suspects such as PTs (size 16-20), Zebra Midge (size 18,20), as well as stoneflies and caddis larva imitations. You might also consider streamer fishing to search for an aggressive Bull Trout.
Even though the summer stocking has come to an end, there is still some great weather for a family picnic at one of our local ponds: Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon. Drop on by before you go and we will make sure you have the right gear, flies, or bait to be successful.
It can be very cold up here in the morning, but good fishing can still be found in the late afternoon. And with the Sawtooths looming over your shoulder, this area is hard to beat. During the warmest time of day, find a good pull out either above or below Stanley and focus your attention on the riffles above the deeper holding water. Nymphing is the most productive technique right now. Try Rubber Legged Stones, King Prince Nymphs, or Bishop’s Dynamites with a bobber or go Euro Style.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows have dropped to 150 CFS and may continue to drop now that the demands for water down river have stopped. Look for Fall Baetis, midge, and a few remaining Tricos during the early to late afternoon for your best chance to find surface feeders. Of course, cloudy days are always best. The rest of the time, nymphing dry-dropper or Euro Style with size 18-24 Bead Headed Pheasant Tails, Zebra Midge, or other small Baetis nymph imitations will be the most productive. The fishing has been extremely productive for small to medium size fish, but the larger fish have become quite difficult. The big fish are often in the slow, shallow water next to or below the faster runs and are very spooky. They can sometimes be fooled while sight nymphing with light tippet (6.5or 7X) and small nymphs without an indicator on a down stream drift. Very technical, but fun!
UPPER LOST- COPPER BASIN
The Upper Lost is a spectacular place to fish right now. Keep in mind, the water is low and cold. It is best to wait for the temperatures to come up and fish this area in the afternoon. Try searching the water with a flying ant trailed by a small nymph like a red or black Zebra Midge, beaded Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, or Bishop’s Dynamites. The key to success…stay mobile. It seems obvious, but don’t fish barren water. At this water level, the fish are concentrated around the good holding areas. If you are not turning fish right away, move on.
South Fork of the Boise