“Exultant and feeling completely alone, I started to sing loud snatches of songs, unthinking and a bit wild as I fished through the pool. I knew that I did not want a fish to disturb my fishing.” Mel Krieger from The Essence of Fly Casting
We have waited several months for the waters to clear, recede and the fish to start looking up; that time has come. And when we finally get what we have been waiting for – the river and the fish – the experiences we have with them remind us to take pause and remember once again that our piscatorial pursuits are not all about catching fish. July is a time for fly anglers to exult in all aspects of the fly fishing experience.
The flows remain low on the Creek, but the water clarity has improved. In the morning there have already been some Tricos, but Baetis are still the primary bug. If you find rising fish in the AM, more than likely they are taking Baetis spinners in size 20 or 22, but have a few Tricos just to be safe. As we head into July, the Tricos activity should increase and like the Brown Drakes in June will be much earlier than average. The best hatch activity of late has been the midday Callibaetis. To match this hatch have a good variety of Callibaetis from spinners to duns and emergers in size 16 and 18. In the evenings, there are good numbers of Caddis and small PMDs. Of late, the wind has been really strong in the afternoons. If this trend continues be sure to have some beetles, ants, and small hopper patterns.
The cool weather has slowed the Green Drakes down a bit, but with the warmer weather forecasted for this week, we really should see this hatch explode. Decent numbers of bugs are hatching mid valley as of the writing of this report and throughout this week the Green Drakes will continue to march into the upper reaches of the river. The river looks great, but wading should be done with extreme caution. The fish are starting to look up so searching the water with a big high floating dry with a small nymph trailing behind is very productive. For dries try Stimulators, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or Chubby Chernobyls. For nymphs try a Rainbow Warrior, Zebra Midge, or Bishop’s Dynamite. If you need to go deep with an indicator, try a large Rubber Legged Stone with a Green Drake nymph in tow or one of the aforementioned smaller nymphs.
There has been a good Green Drake hatch on Warm Springs and if you are in the right place at the right time this can be fun. Also you can expect a good number of Caddis and some PMDs. This is a great river to go to if the Wood is still to high for your tastes. It is also a good place to take kids for a river experience. Fish and Game keeps this river well stocked around the bridges and plenty of wild fish can be found where the river leaves the road. For flies, yellow or orange Stimulators or Green Drakes are good on top. Tying on a dropper is a good idea as well; Bishop’s Dynamite, Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs all work well.
THE BIG LOST
Below Mackay the flows are now at 350 CFS. At this level, strong waders should be able to move about the river, although it needs to drop 50 to 100 CFS more to be ideal. If you go, expect to find prolific Yellow Sallies, some Golden Stones, and PMDs. Nymphing will be most productive with large Stone Fly patterns, standard and King Prince Nymphs, San Juan Worms and small Rainbow Warriors, Zebra Midge and Pheasant Tails. The Upper Lost, specifically the East and North Forks, are also fishing well. As has been the case the last few years, some stretches of this river fish better than others. The more water you cover the more productive your day will be. There are some Green Drakes late in the day, as well as a mixed bag of Stone Flies. Big drys will turn fish, but if you get a refusal, switch to a smaller Parachute Adams, PMD or Purple Haze. If that does not work, try small nymphs, like Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamite, Pheasant tails or Prince Nymphs. Persistent Anglers are being rewarded with some spectacular fish.
Now is a great time to head over Galena Pass into the Stanley area and take advantage of some hungry Cutthroat Trout taking large dries. We offer guided float trips on the Lower Salmon River and if you have yet to do this, it should be on your bucket list. The walk and wade fishing above Stanley has also been productive, although the water is still pushy and wading should done with caution. Be sure and take a good selection of Yellow Stone fly patterns, some Olive Caddis, Green Drakes and an array of beaded nymphs.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
As of the 25th of June the river shot up to 1,600 CFS and once again stirred up much of the loose debris that infiltrated the river after the fires and subsequent floods. This will take some time to settle and clear. If you decide to go and float the river, it would be a good idea to spend some time scouting the river first. However, wade fishing is not out of the question although you are limited in your access. There are still plenty of large bugs like Cicadas and Salmon flies and a plethora of caddis. Given time, this river should begin to fish well again.
Penny, Lake Creek and Gaver Lagoon have been recently stocked and can provide a nice day for a family picnic or if you are looking for something to fry for dinner.
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The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise