This is the time of year I begin to feel a bit like the legendary Paul Revere heralding the arrival of the Redcoats. Only my refrain is, “The Brown Drakes are coming! The Brown Drakes are Coming!” All signs suggest this is the week. The weather is going to be beautiful. The water temperature is right. In fact, a few bugs have already been sighted. And, except during really cold and wet years, the Drakes always make an appearance the first or second week of June. Whether you plan to camp out by the Creek and be there the first night it happens, or you decide to wait for the official word that it is on, come on down to the shop and we will help you prepare your boxes with all the right flies for this fantastic hatch. The wonderful thing about this June, as opposed to years past, is that the Brown Drakes and the Creek are not the only option when it comes to fishing right now. The South Fork is at a great level for floating. The Wood is clear and fishable as well Warm Springs. Even the Lost below Mackay is an option. And our local stillwaters are on fire. We are still a few weeks away from optimum fishing conditions on many of our rivers, but anglers are finding a nice variety of fishing opportunities already.
The fish are already starting to wise up on the Creek and you will need to be on your “A” game to fool these trout. The hatches during the day are decent and you can expect to find mostly Baetis in size 18, along with some PMDs and Callibaetis in size 16 depending on which part of the river you are on. You may even see some Green Drakes if you are on the upper Preserve. You will need to use a long leader (12 ft.) and fine tippet (6X) with a classic fly first presentation if you find consistently feeding fish. When you have a light hatch and sporadic feeders that are difficult to pin down, try a dry dropper rig. For a dry, try a terrestrial or a large PMD trailed by a small (size 16 to 20) Pheasant Tail or a Barr’s Emerger, beaded or non- beaded. If the wind blows the terrestrial fishing should be good. You might also try swinging a Black Leech or swimming a Damsel Nymph. If you do this, be sure you tippet is stout enough to handle an aggressive take.
The Big Wood
The Wood is hanging around 700 CFS and may go up even more with the warm weather. Still the clarity is good and will remain clear as long as Warm Springs and Trail Creek keep dropping and stay clear. Despite how good it looks, the wading this time of year is dangerous. As a result of this, the access is limited. Please be sure and wade with cation and respect private property. That said, if you do want to fish the Wood, you will find the fish right next to the bank this time of year conserving their energy and letting the heavy water roll on by. Also fishing the side channels is very good this time of year, although you will still find some fish still on redds. Please leave them alone. Try fishing big dries like Turk’s Tarantula, Royal Stimulators, or Parachute Hare’s Ears with a large beaded Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, or Green Drake nymphs along the banks and slow drop offs. We are still a couple weeks out from the good Green Drake Fishing, but the nymphs are very active right now and big nymphs trailed behind big drys is a great way to find some fantastic wild rainbows right now. Streamers, like Black, Olive, or Brown Woolly Buggers in size 8 or 10 are also very effective this time of year. Of course, double nymph rigs with an indicator off a suspended sighter, like a Thingamabobber, will produce. Go with a big and ugly Rubber Leg Stone followed by a Green Drake Nymph, a Prince Nymph, a Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop ‘s Dynamite.
Big Lost River Upper & Lower
Below Mackay, the flows have stabilized at about 470 CFS which is a difficult, but not impossible level to fish. It is hard to say whether this river will continue to rise, so if you plan to fish here, keep your eye on the Idaho River Flows page (use the link on our website). The upper Lost will follow the same pattern as the Wood and I have heard reports of people picking up a few fish in the upper reaches of the Copper Basin already. Still I expect the good fishing up here to be a few weeks off yet.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork is holding steady at 1600 CFS. This is a good level for floating. The fish will be tight to the banks and concentrated in the side channels. This time of year is typically a bit slow on the South Fork. This fishery will get good once the Salmon Fly hatch begins later in June. If you go, have an assortment of heavy rubber legged stone fly nymphs for the riffles and some big foamy drys for working the banks. Streamers might pick up a big Bull Trout as well.
Our stillwaters are fishing very well right now. Magic, Mackay or Duck Valley 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. And watch out for those high winds which can blow this time of year. In June, I like to pull Seal buggers and Pops buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line like a type 3 or 5 or suspend a team of nymphs off an indicator like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or classic Chironomids with a floating line. If it stays warm, you might also consider pulling some Damsel or Callibaetis nymphs. This is also a good time to consider going to CJ Strike to chase carp or the Bruneau Sand Dunes for bass and bluegill. Whatever you decide to do, come on by the shop and we will hook you up with the best flies for your situation.
This is simply a smaller version of the Wood and I would fish it the same way as outlined above. If you find water that is not moving to fast, you will find fish. This time of year all the fish should be wild. I have not heard of any stocking happening yet except for Penny lake and Lake Creek.
Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.~ Henry David Thoreau
photo by Terry Ring