With the weather forecast calling for highs in the 70s to low 80s, this is the week we begin to cross the threshold from summer to fall. We can expect the chilly temperatures to slow the morning activity and the better fishing will shift back to the middle of the day through the afternoon and into the early evenings. The fish can sense this change as well and they will begin to feed with more abandon on the myriad of prolific fall hatches as they fatten up for the onset of winter. The summer hatches will begin to wane and give way to Fall Baetis, Red Quills, and Mahogany Duns. The terrestrial fishing this time of year can also be fantastic. Tossing hoppers, ants, or beetles on any of our rivers can be a great way to turn picky feeders. Also, with the start of school and hunting season, the angler pressure on all our rivers significantly drops.
Anglers on the Creek are finding that the morning activity is starting to slow. Yes, Tricos and Baetis, along with a few Callibaetis Spinners, can be found on the water, but the better action is coming midday into the afternoon with great Callibaetis action. This bug is smaller than the early season Callibaetis, so you will need to have plenty of size 18 imitations in all phases of this insects life cycle (nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners). To find this bug, search the sloughs and slow water stretches of the upper and lower Kilpatrick’s Pond. The fly is easily identified by its rhythmic bouncing just above the water as it prepares to lay its eggs. Windy days can be a blessing making the fish less leader shy and the Callibaetis is one of the few bugs on Silver Creek that doesn’t get blown away. On windy days, try a size 16 or 18 Hackle Stackers along with a Quigley Cripple or the Callibaetis Floating Nymph. When the water is still, try Harrop’s Partridge Spinner or Harrop’s Cutwing Dun in a size 18. We should also begin to see the Fall Baetis emergence and simultaneous spinner falls increase as the days get shorter and cooler, especially on cloudy days or on days when the smoke diffuses the sun. Also, we have an abundance of hoppers all along the Creek, and when the wind blows the fish will key on them. Try fishing a high floating pattern with a sunken hopper trailing off the back on the really windy days. This combo can be deadly! Also keep an eye out for Mahogany Duns (size 16). Mahogany’s will begin to show up in the next few weeks in better numbers as the Callibaetis start to fade and are the last big bug on the Creek before winter sets in.
Big Wood River
The Wood just continues to shine with great bug activity and very healthy trout. As we head into September it should only get better. If you go, you don’t need to go early since the best fishing is shifting to the late morning through the early evening. Tricos can be found in certain stretches of the lower and middle river along with Baetis, Micro Caddis, Rusty Spinners, and Ginger Crane Flies. Look for fish feeding on these small bugs in the slow and shallow tailouts. With the early morning glare often making it impossible to spot your fly on the water, I like to use an Olive Gulper Special (size 18) with an orange post on these selective feeders. Remember, these fish can be spooky and you will need to employ your best Silver Creek tactics with 6x, long leaders, and down stream drifts to be successful. Red Quills made an appearance during last weeks rain and should continue to build momentum as the weather cools. This myriad of insects can be matched with an assortment of standard flies like Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, and Gulper Specials in size 12, 14, 16, and 18. If the bugs are not present this is the time of year when hoppers and ants can really save the day. Trailing a small size 16 or 18 Zebra Midge in red or black, a pheasant tail, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Rainbow Warrior can also be effective.
Big Lost River below Mackay
Flows are around 350 CFS and holding steady. This is a very fishable level, but wading can still be a challenge and movement around the river is limited with the lack of public access. Still, the Trico hatches have been very good and the Fall Baetis are beginning to gain steam. In the morning, anglers will find fish eagerly feeding on the surface on the abundant Tricos, Baetis, and Crane Flies in the back eddies and slower sections of water. In the riffle sections, fish can be seen feeding on emergers and sunken Tricos. As the Tricos fade, the Baetis remain and should keep the fish looking up well into midday. When the morning hatch is done, the fishing can really slow down, but searching the riffles and deep water with nymphs can be productive. Be sure to have Crane Flies, Tricos ( size 22-24), Baetis (size 18-20) and an assortment of nymphs such as King Princes (size 12, 14), San Juan Worms, Flashback Pheasant Tails (size 14, 16), Bishop’s Dynamite (size 14, 16, 18), Zebra Midge (size 16,18) and Rainbow Warriors (size 16,18,20).
Upper Big Lost
The fishing on the Main Stem of the Upper Lost is really your best option and if you are looking to spend the day in a beautiful setting with very few anglers in sight this is the place for you. The fishing is best from the middle of the day into the late afternoon. Don’t expect to see to many bugs and be prepared to cover a lot of ground to find fish. The Whitefish are eager to eat a fly and a few quality Rainbows, Cutbows, Brook Trout, and Cutthroat can be found as well. If you are looking for huge numbers of trout, stick to the Wood, but if you want to search gorgeous water for that one fantastic trout, give this a try. These fish are opportunistic feeders and will usually go for an attractor dry fly, but they may only give you one shot. 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.
Check with the shop to receive a current update on road closures due to the fire in this area. As long as the roads are open, the fishing is worth exploring along the Salmon River. For flies, take Large Yellow and Orange Stimulators and attractors such as Turk’s Tarantula. Also, the Spruce Moth is still a major player and can provide excellent dry fly fishing. As you travel the length of this river, there are plenty of pull offs to park your car and search this wonderful fishery.
Warm Springs & Trail Creek
These rivers are low and provide a great alternative for those seeking a small stream experience but don’t have the time to drive over the hill to the Upper Lost. 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 rusty Spinner, Caddis, Ants, Hoppers, and some Spruce Moths.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows are still holding steady at 1800 CFS and fishing from a drift boat remains the best option until the water drops later this month. The bug activity has been slow to get going with a smattering of Flavs and Pink Alberts hatching in the early afternoon. A few beatis are beginning to make there midday appearance as well, especially on cloudy days. Your best option is to search the water with hoppers and a trailing nymph unless you find a fish feeding selectively on one of the above mentioned mayflies. Also, deep nymphing with caddis larva, PTs, and zebra midge can be a good option when no bugs present. Euro Nymping the shallower riffles has been very effective on whitefish and trout. You might try ripping a streamer through some deeper runs in search of a Bull Trout or an aggressive Bow.
If you want to beat the summer heat, you might try hiking into one of our numerous Alpine Lakes. The midge hatches can be prolific and on windy days ants, beetles, and spruce moths will find their way on to the surface. Scan the edges for cruisers or look for fish congregated at the inlets and outlets. For an idea about where to go just inquire in our shop.
Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.~ Thoreau
photo by Bryan Huskey