For me, November means turkey, turns, and trout. I can’t imagine a better way to spend time with family and friends over the next two weeks then eating traditional Thanksgiving dishes, riding the chair, and catching trout. Silver Creek, in the Nature Conservancy, closes at the end of the month and the Wood and the Lost are always a great option this time of year. If you go, plan on fishing during the warmest time of the day and dress for the winter conditions with lots of layers. The daytime highs are going to be bouncing between the 30s to the high 40s which can be quite pleasant if you are dressed properly. Still with the overnight lows in the teens and 20s, there may be ice along the side of the river…so watch your step, and invest in some Vibram soled wading boots with cleats.
The mild November days have still produced decent Baetis and Midge action, but it is short, isolated, and late in the day. Cloudy days are your best bet for fish on the surface. The rest of the time, your best action will come on nymphs and streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in sizes 18-22. Find the right depth with your dropper and you will take plenty of trout. The Browns are on the gravel and digging beds. Please leave these fish alone and don’t walk through the redds. There are plenty of other fish to pursue. Remember the Conservancy stretch and Purdy’s down to highway 20 will close at the end of the month. From the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February.
Big Wood River
The cold weather has concentrated the fish in the winter holding water and the hatches have been minimized down to a smattering of midge. Still the fish are hungary and if you find the right spot, at the right time, with the right fly, and the right technique you will find fish. I recommend hitting the water in the afternoon hours and find a prime stretch of winter water. It is not likely that you will find too many other anglers, and as long as there is little to no snow on the valley floor, all the usual accesses are open. For flies, keep it simple and small or big and ugly. Try a size 18 Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior or Bishop’s Dynamite or a larger size 8-12 Rubber Leg Stone or a Czech style nymph. Dangle these bugs off a high floating dry or a simple pinch-on indicator or fish them Euro Nymph Style. The key is to find the right depth and where the fish are concentrated and you find success.
Lower Big Lost
The Lost is low and the fish have been spooky. The flow is around 124 CFS and at this level the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and in the riffles at the head of these runs. Be stealthy and you will find success. Expect to find some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching in the afternoons. For the risers, you will need long leaders down to 6x and small flies to match. Nymphing will produce the most consistent action. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator. As I stated last week, before you go, check the weather and the road conditions for Trail Creek Pass. We have had some early season snow and rain and more is in the forecast. If you can’t make it over the pass, it is still worth the trip through Arco and up to Mackay.
The reports have been favorable for steelhead below the Pahsimeroi River and Clayton. This would be a good time to come check out our selection of Switch and Spey rods. We also he a great selection of steelhead flies and steelhead specific lines.
South Fork of the Boise
The reports have been tepid at best from the South Fork. Anglers have been finding lots of whitefish but only a few nice trout. The river may be just going through a transition as Fall fishing opportunities wane and the winter fishing sets in. It is still worth the trip for this fishery is beautiful this time of year. Remember to go prepared with a 4×4 and chains or studded tires. The road down to the dam is shady this time of year and after the snow starts to fly it can be treacherous.
Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.~ Thoreau
photo by Bryan Huskey