“Most anglers spend their lives making rules for trout, and trout spend their lives breaking them!”
– George Ashton
Fly fishers are slaves to rules… Rods needs to be 9 feet, lines a 5 weight. Fish only feed early or late. I can only fish dries during a hatch. You can only catch fish on nymphs when there is no hatch…and these rules become dogma. The next time you go to the river, be aware of your habitual thought patterns, those rules you impose on yourself. Instead, try think like a trout.
The Creek is in transition. The summer Tricos have run their course and most of the morning bug activity consists of Baetis duns and spinners in size 22 and 24. The Callibaetis have taken center stage and can be found between 2 and 3 in the afternoon on the slower stretches of the Creek. If you encounter this hatch, be sure to have a good selection of cripples, trailing shuck emergers, spinners, and duns in size 16 and 18 as the fish tend to feed selectively on specific phases of the Callibaetis depending on the day and conditions. Beetles, ants, and hoppers are also very effective in the late afternoon, especially on windy days. Nymphing with small Baetis and Midge patterns can save a slow day on the Creek.
THE BIG WOOD
Sometimes in late August the Wood goes into a lull; not this year. The Wood is fishing better than it has all summer now that the water has dropped to accessible levels. Don’t be fooled, the flows are still very high and wading is difficult, especially in the middle section of the river below East Fork. Still, the fish are starting to look for all kinds of late summer bugs from terrestrials, like flying ants and hoppers, to smaller Baetis and Tricos. With the low water, anglers need to be cautious when approaching the runs. The bigger fish are often waiting to ambush insects in the skinny water along the seams. Fish with light tippet and small parachute patterns before searching the deeper chutes with large dries and dry dropper rigs. This is a perfect water level to try out Tenkara if you have not yet given it a go. The length of a Tenkara rod gives you unparalleled control of your presentation and is a fun way to fish a single dry, a dry dropper, or a single nymph, Euro style. For flies, try small (12-16) yellow Stimulators, Parachute Hare’s Ear, Adams, or Purple Haze and for nymphs try a Rubber Legged Stone, Rainbow Warrior, Zebra Midge, or Bishop’s Dynamite.
WARM SPRINGS & TRAIL CREEK
If the water on the Wood still seems too high to comfortably wade, try one of these two gems. There are plenty of stocked fish around the bridges and if you want to find some quality wild fish, just keep moving away from the easy road access. Expect to see hoppers, PMDs, and caddis throughout the day.
THE UPPER LOST
With the cool morning temperatures, the water on the Upper Lost feels frigid. If you choose to wet wade, you may feel hypothermic in the mornings, but very comfortable in the afternoon. The best fishing has shifted from early mornings and late evenings right back to the middle of the day; classic fall fishing has already begun on the Upper Lost. The fish are concentrated in the deeper buckets, and anglers who are willing to walk from good holding water to the next are finding the most success. By the end of the day, if you have walked a few miles of river and have a handful of fish, you have been successful. For flies, try small hoppers, caddis, stimulators and other small high vis attractors with a trailing nymph such as a DB Zebra Midge, a Bishop’s Dynamite, or a Beaded Pheasant Tail.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows remain steady at just under 350 CFS. We may see the flows drop even more as we head into September and the need to irrigate diminishes, so keep an eye on the Idaho Streamflow website. While the wading is challenging in spots, the fishing has been very good. The Trico and Baetis hatches have been strong, but with the high flows, finding rising fish is a challenge. Nymphing is the most effective method. Try standard dry dropper rigs or fish Euro Style techniques. The best patterns include Rubber Leg Stones, San Juan Worms, and King Princes in the heavy runs. For the shallow water, try small nymphs like Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Beaded Pheasant Tails, and Rainbow Warriors in size 16, 18, and 20 below an attractor dry of your choice. If you find rising fish, have a good selection of high vis Tricos and Baetis.
The flows are still excellent for float fishing on the lower river. For those who prefer to hole hop with a vehicle, the walk and wade fishing throughout the system continues to be excellent as well. Try small hoppers and yellow stimulators on the bank and seams. Fishing dry dropper style with size 14-16 bead head nymphs is very effective for trout and whitefish.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows have dropped over the last week and have stabilized at 600 CFS…perfect for wading! There will still be a few boats on the water, but at these flows it is more effective to leave the boat at home. As for bugs, hoppers and crane flies are good for the middle of the day and caddis are out in the mornings and evenings. There are also a good number of Flavs and Pinks. Nymphing can be productive all day with large rubber leg stone fly patterns, caddis larva, and midge patterns in and around structure.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters. So drop on by before you take your family fishing and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood