photo by Bryan Huskey
The easy fishing of July is behind us and the more technical fishing of August has arrived. Really the fishing is still quite good on all our rivers and should remain so for the foreseeable future, but the fish have wised up and the bugs have shrunk. This means the angler needs to up his game. Success will depend more on presentation, changing up techniques, and bug selection. It would be wise to attend a free casting clinic to hone your casting skills or sign up for our European Nymphing Clinic to expand your fly fishing toolbox. Also, be sure to have a few different styles and sizes of the same bug and be prepared to drop down in tippet size. The anglers who make these adjustments will continue to find success into the hot days of August.
The morning fishing on the Creek has been fantastic with a stew of insects on the surface between 7AM and 11:30AM. Baetis, Tricos, Callibaetis, PMDs, and Caddis are all in the mix. The Tricos, while still inconsistent, have arrived, and any angler heading to the Creek in the early morning should be well equipped with Trico Duns and Spinners in size 20 and 22. If you arrive early, look for the Trico Duns to be on the water while clouds of Tricos fill the air. To date, the Trico spinner falls have been temperamental and localized depending on the wind and air temperature but should get stronger as we enter August. The Baetis (size 22) will sometimes outnumber the Tricos. Luckily Harrop’s Paraspinner covers both of these bugs. Also, an occasional Callibaetis Spinner (size 16-18) or PMD ( size 16-18) will fool a whttp://www.silver-creek.com/blogs/report/wp-admin/post-new.phpily early morning riser. After the morning frenzy is done stick around; the Damsel fishing can be explosive. To be successful with this bug it is best to have a variety of patterns. Also, be prepared for a Callibaetis spinner fall; Harrop’s Partridge Wing Spinner in size 16 and 18 is a good match. When the wind blows, shorten your leader and try your favorite terrestrial (beetles, ants, and hoppers). The evening fishing can be fantastic as well and without the crowds of the morning frenzy.
Big Wood River
August on the Wood is a mixed blessing; while the water is more and more accessible with flows dipping below 300 CFS allowing the angler incredible freedom to move about, the bigger fish seem to get a bit more difficult to catch. This can be remedied with good supply of smaller bugs and also the willingness to go subsurface. For drys, expect to find Pink Albert, PMD and Western Quill hatches. You can match these bugs with a selection of Parachute Style dry flies (size 16-14) and some Rusty Spinners. When searching for fish, tie a Zebra Midge or Rainbow Warrior in size 16 or 18 off the bend of one of the high floating Parachute patterns. Also, it is not to early to try a hopper pattern with a trailing nymph. For the deep, fast water, try a tandem nymph rig with Tungsten PT and a Zebra Midge. As the days heat up, you might try “wet wading” as a way to stay cool. A good way to spend the day is to start on the Creek for the morning hatch and then drift over to the Wood as the day heats up. Have fun and wade safely!
Big Lost River below Mackay
With flows at 465 CFS and dropping, this river is really getting close. If you make the trek, you will be able to find fishable water, but it will be very limited. If you do go, be sure to have Crane Flies, PMDs (size 16) and Larimer’s Yellow Sallies (size 14.5) and an assortment of nymphs such as King Princes (size 12, 14), San Juan Worms, Flashback Pheasant Tails (size 14, 16), and Bishop’s Dynamite (size 14, 16,18). Still, I recommend waiting for the flows to drop below 400 CFS for optimum fishing and access to the entire river.
Upper Big Lost
The reports from this area have been mixed. Still, if you seek solitude and scenery, then the Upper Lost is the perfect place to go. Those anglers who search the water methodically with drys and dry dropper rigs will find quality Fine Spot Cutthroats, Cutbows, and Rainbows. These fish are opportunistic feeders and will usually give an attractor dry fly a try, but they may only give you one chance. Explore the North Fork, East Fork, Wild Horse Creek, the West Fork as well as the Main Stem and take along an assortment of your favorite attractor dry flies and nymphs as well as your standard parachute patterns: Parachute Hare’s Ear, Turk’s Tarantulas, PMX, Royal Wulffs, King Prince, Flashback PTs and Zebra Midge.
The window to float this spectacular river may only last for a couple more weeks with flows dropping rapidly. Still, this fishery continues to produce great fishing opportunities for Cutthroat, Rainbow and Bull trout for drift boaters and wade fisherman alike. Large Yellow and Orange Stimulators and attractors such as Turk’s Tarantula are very effective. Also, the Spruce Moth is beginning to make an appearance and can provide excellent dry fly fishing. If you choose to wade fish, there are plenty of pull offs to park your car and search this wonderful fishery.
Warm Springs & Trail Creek
These rivers are a great alternative for those seeking a small stream experience but don’t have the time to drive over the hill to the Copper Basin. Fish and Game has stocked these rivers around the bridges and anywhere the rivers near the road. If you wish to seek wild fish, just leave the beaten path and explore. Expect to see PMDs, Pink Alberts, Caddis, Small Stone flies, and some Spruce Moths.
South Fork of the Boise
With the Salmon flies on their way out, the major hatching insects will be caddis and Pink Alberts. Rather then pounding the banks with big bugs, you might try working the side channels and riffles with caddis and Pinks. Nymphing with caddis larva, PTs, and zebra midge can be a good option when no bugs are present. With flows around 1800, your best option is to fish from a drift boat, but you can wade fish along the roadside in select spots. If the midday fishing is slow, stick around for the evening fishing…it has been spectacular.
If you want to try something different, our reservoirs continue to fish very well. Grab a float tube, some flippers, and a friend and go check out Magic, Mackay, Little Camas, or Morman reservoirs. You might try pulling Damsel, Dragon or Callibaetis Nymphs. You might also find top water action with Blue Damsels or Callibaetis Spinners. Whatever you decide to do, we have a great selection of stillwater flies from leeches to chironomids, as well as some classic patterns like the Sheep Creek Special.
Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.~ Thoreau