A few more days and we can expect the first signs of dropping water on our freestone streams. Keep your eyes on the rivers and when you see them turn to glacier green you will know it’s time to tighten the wading belt (or skip the waders all together) grab your wading staff and leave the vest at home. Take a single box of Green Drakes and big Orange Stimulators, a spool of 3X tippet, hemostats and fly floatant, then get casting as the best two weeks of the season are going to begin! In the meantime, Silver Creek will be seeing plenty of angler pressure, but like last week, few anglers are taking advantage of downstream waters below Hwy. 20 and rather than complain about Nature Conservancy crowds think about exploring some of the Creeks best and underutilized waters.
Big Wood River
When the water drops and turns green, leave your nymph box at home. There is no greater time of the year to watch big fish take huge dry flies off the surface than the week of falling water on our freestone streams. Anglers that spend their time dredging and nymphing are going to miss out on one of the coolest events in fly fishing. Sure you may catch a few more fish underwater, but you can do that the other 345 days of the year. Get aggressive with big dries, cover a lot of water and you’ll have lasting memories of big trout heads nonchalantly plucking your large fuzzy dries off the surface. Don’t miss this event!
The more the water drops the more aggressive the fish will be. If you find a situation where the fish are looking at big dries and not taking them, simply switch to a Green Drake Cripple or Dun pattern and put it right back on them â€¦and hold on.
With a little luck and some good weather the river will drop into fishable shape this week. If it does, and you decide to fish it; BE CAREFUL. Never fish alone at high water; be very aware of crossings in relation to log jams, rapids and blind corners. Do not take your dog until the water drops, and remember if you see a sweet spot that you can’t get to, just wait a day or two and the water will drop enough to give you access.
The Creek remains the only game in town for the next few days. We’re sure you’re tired of reading this statement, but this should be the last week before we can all spread out amongst the many, many rivers and streams in our area. In the meantime it seems that everyone is getting along just fine so let’s all keep it that way.
Baetis seems to be the number one player on the Creek these last few days and weeks. Expect more of the same with intermittent Pale Morning Dun hatches and spinner falls as well. Better weather has sparked a little more Callibaetis activity on the sloughs, but we’re still a month or so out from the best of this action. Terrestrial fishing remains strong with ants and beetles. Hoppers, and Damsels are still a month out before they become major players. Typically one can start fishing these bigger flies in the afternoons following the Trico spinner falls of late July, August and early September. Tricos should begin showing in fair numbers sometime after the 4th of July.
Keep in mind as you walk the Creek, and find quite a few anglers, that fish numbers in the lower stretches of the Creek from Picabo Bridge through the Willows are way, way up this year, and a slow day down there in years past, does not mean a slow day there this year. Anyone who saw good Brown Drake action this season can attest to the number of quality fish that have been left untouched for two weeks now. Look to fish Baetis, evening Caddis and Terrestrials in these stretches. Swinging small nymphs through the turns when fish aren’t rising is also a good technique to employ.
Little Wood River
Still high and a bit off color. We haven’t heard much in the way of good reports here yet, but once the river comes into shape there should still be some big dry fly opportunities there. This may be a very good place to explore around the end of the week, especially if you notice the water dropping and clearing on the Big Wood.
South Fork of the Boise
The water has been cranked up to 1600 cfs, which is a great drift boat flow. The fish have stabilized a bit and once the Salmon Flies hit the river the fishery will explode. We haven’t had many reports of this bug yet, but normally they are found on the lower stretches now, and will work their way toward the dam in the coming weeks. Boaters may want to start at Indian Rock and float down instead of taking out at Indian Rock. This is a bit more technical rowing so only float this stretch with good rowing skills, it is significantly more technical than the Dam to Indian Rock stretch.
The river below the dam is pumping and it may be a good idea to give this another week. The best flows for wading the Lost below the Mackay Dam are from 350 to 450 cfs. Right now the flows are 1,010 cfs more than double what we consider safe wading conditions.
Copper Basin / East Fork of the Lost River
These rivers will follow suit with the Big Wood for the most part, but when the Wood clears wait one more week before getting serious about these high altitude rivers. They can be difficult to wade with the angular rocks on the bottom and the water is typically very cold. If the rivers look un-crossable, they will not fish well, even if the water is clearing. Give this area an extra week to produce easier wading and productive fishing.
Area Ponds and Reservoirs
Why not wait a week to get serious about fishing and give all your attention to your kids, your grandkids, or your nieces and nephews and take them fishing with a nice picnic lunch and your favorite fishing dogs on any of our nearby ponds and lakes. Penny, Dollar, and Lake Creek Lake are stocked and ready to fish. The only thing more memorable than catching your first fish is watching your little loved ones catching theirs!
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 78%
Big Wood – 90%
Little Wood – 114%
Big Lost – 103%
Henry’s Fork – 88%