This July promises to be one of best in years. The long days of summer are upon us and we have multiple fishing opportunities rife with possibility from sun up to sundown. Our local rivers are dropping everyday and opening up more and more river to explore. The most difficult part of your fishing day will be choosing what to do and where to do it. But rest assured…from morning spinner falls to evening caddis and all the terrestrials in between, you are sure to find some great fishing this coming week. In addition to fishing, we also have our 8th annual Fly Fishing Film Festival and Product Fair fast approaching. So mark your calendar for the 19th and 20th of this month and plan on attending these great events. See our website for more information. It is a great time to be a fly fisher in the the Wood River Valley!
The Creek is up to its usual unpredictable behavior this time of year as we await the more consistent early morning Trico Hatch that usually starts latter this month. Depending on the day you may find Baetis, PMDs, Callibaetis, or Trico Duns or you may find none of the above. If some bugs are about and fish are feeding, observe the trout behavior to give you clues as to which insect they are feeding on. The right fly, well presented, will be taken. During the low hatch activity you can always manufacture fish with nymphs or terrestrials such as beetles and ants. Damsels and Callibaetis are also present during the heat of the day in the Pond and Slough areas.
The Big Wood
Despite the torrential thunderstorms that turned the Wood to chocolate milk last week, we have been experiencing one the best Green Drake hatches in years. The water has cleared and this week the Green Drake hatch can still be found a bit north of town, but this may be the last week we will see the Green Drakes on the river. So if you go in search of the few remain Drakes, have a good supply of nymphs, cripples, and duns and start looking about mid day into the late afternoon for the hatch to occur. For the rest of the river, there are still good bugs to be found. Grey Drakes, Yellow Stones, PMDs, and an assortment of Caddis can be seen fluttering about. If you go in the morning, nymphing with an indicator and a combination of a large nymph with a small nymph trailing behind is a good option. Try a large King Prince, Rubber Leg Stone, Flash Back Pheasant Tail trailed by a Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’s Dynamite. Switch to drys as the day heats up. Search for fish in the margins with a size 14 or 16 Purple Haze, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or a Yellow Sally. You might also try using a Cicada Patten. This is a great pattern to use in tandem with a trailing nymph. The Cicadas are thick this year and some fish are eating them with abandon, those who are not will take your nymph. In the evenings, Caddis are the main course and you will need an assortment of Elk Hair Caddis and Trailing Shuck Caddis in size 14 through 18.
Big Lost River Upper & Lower
When the Wood turned chocolate last week, most anglers turned their attention on the upper Big Lost drainage. Some anglers had spectacular success while others were frustrated. The bottom line is there are some great fish being caught but, this river system does not rebound from excessive pressure. If you go, be prepared to cover a lot of water and try different techniques to be successful. The water is getting easier to wade every day and more and more water is opening up to fisherman. Take your favorite attractor drys, like Stimulators and Royal Wulffs and an assortment of nymphs and have some fun searching the water. Also have some smaller drys, like Parachute PMDs and Purple Hazes in size 16 and 18 to fool the tougher fish. Below Mackay, the flows are still above 500 CFS. I would recommend keeping your eye on the Idaho River Flows page (use the link on our website) and wait for it to drop to more fishable levels.
South Fork of the Boise
This is typically the time the big Pteronarsus hit the upper river and with this warm weather, I expect it to be go time. The flows are holding steady at 1600 CFS which is a good level for floating. If you go, have an assortment of heavy rubber legged stone fly nymphs for the riffles and some big foamy Salmon Fly drys and Cicadas for working the banks. There are some Pink Alberts during the day as well and in the evening be sure to have plenty of Caddis. Streamers might pick up a big Bull Trout as well.
Magic and Mackay are good options whether you want to float tube, pontoon, our fish from a boat. Be sure to always have a safety whistle and a life jacket. In July, I like to pull Seal buggers and Pops buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line like an intermediate or suspend a team of nymphs off an indicator like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or classic Chironomids with a floating line.
Warm Springs is getting lower, but it is still worth the trip up this easy to access tributary to the Wood. There are some beautiful wild fish and plenty of stocked trout as well. Most of the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and with a bit of exploration they should be easily found. However, these fish have been a bit pressured lately, so you might need to drop down in fly size if the fish are refusing you larger dries. A dry dropper rig is also very effective for searching the water. Go with a high-vis dry followed by a Beaded Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop ‘s Dynamite in size 16 or 18.
The bigger Cutthroats have become more difficult to find, but plenty of smaller trout and whitefish can be found while drifting down this beautiful fishery. If you go, take an assortment of Stimulators and other attractor drys in size 10 to 14. These fish also love standard beaded nymphs, especially the white fish, in size 16 to 12 and large Stone Fly Nymphs.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake and Gavers Lagoon have been stocked and are a great option for a family outing.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
The Big Wood
Rubber Leg Stone
Flash Back Pheasant Tail
Beaded Pheasant Tail
Lower & Upper Big Lost
Beaded Nymphs 16 -12
Large Stone Flies
South Fork of the Boise
Heavy Rubber Legged Stone Fly Nymphs
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey