It seems safe to say that more women in Sun Valley are fly fishing this year than at any time in the past. With a rich history in this sport, women have always participated, but now seem to be “getting out there” in numbers and with high skill levels. How long until men become the minority on our local waters?
Great weather is expected through the weekend, then expect some rain early in the week, with a switch back into the nice weather patterns at the end of the week. If you’re focused on Silver Creek it might be wise to try and fish under the clouds Monday and Tuesday morning until thunder activity begins. So far the fish have been aggressive this summer and the cloudy mornings have provided banner days for anglers. The Wood and the Lost have dropped into shape from top to bottom and excellent fishing can be found on both.
The Creek has been fishing as good as we’ve seen it in a lot of years. The insect population is obviously in a strong cycle this year and the fish are responding to these enormous hatches and spinner falls by being gluttonous. They are so eager to eat well presented flies that traditional wisdom about tippet choice and fly choice on the Creek can be tossed out for the time being. Continue to fish stout tippets like 5X when you get started and 6X for the bright times of the morning. Fish will eat oversized flies as well. Throw a Callibaetis during the morning spinner falls, even when there are no Callibaetis on the water and most fish will take them when well presented.
Baetis and P.M.D. activity remains strong in the mornings. The afternoon Callibaetis activity is picking up, but the big events of this insect are still to come. Damsel flies are still prevalent and this seasons first hopper fishing is beginning. Evenings have been o.k. with short bug events, but few anglers. Fish right up to dark for the best activity. Plan on seeing any or all of Baetis, P.M.D., Callibaetis, and Caddis.
The recharge on the Creek will be coming soon, making water levels higher and water temperatures much cooler. Keep some long johns or fleece pants handy as they will be needed under your waders in order for you to spend significant amounts of time wading or float tubing in coming weeks.
Big Wood River
Good amounts of fish are being caught on the Wood, although a lot of them in the younger age classes. The bigger fish are holding to the bottom during the middle of the day. A good windy day and a big Dave’s Hopper can tempt a few of these bigger fish up as will most big floating rubber legged patterns. The mornings and evenings provide some opportunities to fish at rising fish using Mayfly Spinner patterns and Micro Caddis. When this activity wanes, run a small nymph through the areas where you were seeing rising fish.
Keep in mind, this time of year many big fish on the Wood will move into super skinny, fast moving water to eat and hide. Anglers that move slowly and search the less likely water will be pleasantly surprised at what they can find in places most anglers walk through, or stand in, while casting toward deep water. Summer is a time for trout to eat and get fat, they don’t want to sulk in the bottoms of deep pools even during times of non-hatch activity. Expect to find them on shallow shelves and gravel bars looking for whatever floats by this time of the year.
For an eye opening experience, go out on the Wood and cover several runs, but with the mind-set of only casting into 10 inches of water, or less. Really work the edges of the river especially in the mornings when you know no one has walked through. Big fish will move very close to the bank at night and in the early morning hours, and if not disturbed they will be there in the morning waiting for your fly. Try the fast, shallow currents at the heads of the runs in the afternoon. If you try this technique, fish Royal Trudes, Royal Stimulators or big Parachute Adams as your searching patterns.
The Lost below the dam in Mackay is finally at a reasonable level to fish and wade around in. This isn’t to say they won’t raise the levels back up, but for now things are running at 479cfs, which is a wadable flow.
Smaller fish are being caught on the surface using Crane Flies skated across the current. The bigger fish can be nymphed and even better, sight-nymphed off the shallows in the heads of pools and around bigger rocks on the submerged gravel bars. Try basic bead head patterns like Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns and Hares Ears. Fish these in tandem with a bigger fly up front and a smaller version trailing behind it.
Copper Basin and Area Waters
The main Lost River is fishing well in certain areas of slower water. Anglers that have fished this area before have an advantage of knowing which runs to try and which runs to skip. Once above the East Fork and North Fork confluence the fish can be found pretty much anywhere that looks fishy. The East Fork is very wadable now and has seen little pressure thus far this season.
Copper Basin waters are low and fishing well where fish can find a little depth and a little shade. Standard attractor patterns are all one needs on any of these waters. Humpies, Hoppers, Trudes, Stimulators, and your favorite parachute patterns tied in bigger sizes will all produce fish.
Little Wood River
The Little Wood is producing smaller fish, with attractor patterns and bead head droppers being the ticket to catching them. With hopper season progressing there will soon be a limited opportunity to search the river for bigger Browns and Rainbows.
South Fork of the Boise
Pink Alberts are the main game on the South Fork of the Boise. Fish will still take big stoneflies off the surface still, but this fishing has slowed a lot. Cold water temperatures have the Pink Alberts coming off late in the afternoon. With flows at 1600 cfs the river is still primarily a drift boat fishery. Anglers getting a later start will do better than the early morning angler.
Warm Springs, Trail Creek, North Fork of the Big Wood, Penny and Dollar Lake and Lake Creek Lake
Warm Springs is fishing well for good numbers of fish and a few that will surprise you with their size! All waters are stocked and fishing well. Take a kid and a picnic and you’ll, at the very least, catch some laughs!
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 78%
Big Wood – 91%
Little Wood – 111%
Big Lost – 104%
Henry’s Fork – 86%