For fly fisherman and fish, fall signals the last good wave of surface feeding opportunities before the onset of winter. On the Lost, this means Fall Baetis and on the Creek, Fall Baetis and Mahogany Duns. This time of year, the surface feeding window tends to shift from the morning to the afternoon and it can also shrink in duration, but when the bugs are out, the feeding can be intense. Other techniques can also be productive when the fish are not up on the surface. This is a great time of year to hone you streamer skills or work on sight nymphing. In short, to be successful throughout a fall day, an angler needs to versatile.
The Big Wood
The deluge of rain continues to bring down soot from the hills and the Wood is again blown out just as it was beginning to clear. Last week, IDFG announced that they have not seen any fish kill as a result of the soot and ash entering the Wood and that they are optimistic that the fish and the bugs are doing fine.
As many of our freestone streams are recovering from excessive amounts of rain, Silver Creek may be the best looking girl at the dance. Fall on the Creek is a special time. Baetis and Mohagany duns are the main fare this time of year and when they are out and about, the fish tend to feed on them with abandon. The Baetis are best imitated with a Harrop’s parachute in a size 20 and the Mohagany Duns with a size 16 parachute pattern. We are still in the pre spawn stage for the browns, so ripping a large streamer past these feisty fish is a good idea. And on windy days, don’t hesitate to tie on a large grasshopper or two. This is a good time to go explore the lower stretches of the Creek as well. A trip to the Willows, Point of Rocks, or Priest Rapids may be a good way to get away from the crowds and find some fish that have not been pestered for a while. Remember, Lower Kilpatrick Pond is officially closed as the restoration project is under way.
Upper Big Lost River
The East Fork of the Lost blew out as well, but should drop and clear quickly. Please check with the shop for the latest info. Once it clears, keep in mind that the cool overnight temps will really make this an afternoon fishery. The water has come up a bit with the recent rains, but the fish are still concentrated around the deeper runs with lots of structure. Finding the fish is the name of the game right now, so plan on staying mobile and cover a lot of likely water. For bugs, some Hecuba have been spotted and this is the last big bug these fish will see. Hoppers and ant patterns are also a good fall flies to throw. Nymph droppers are also effective. Try a small red or black Zebra Midge, beaded Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, or Bishop’s Dynamites.
Lower Big Lost River
Fall Baetis love inclement weather and last week’s rain and snow really kicked this hatch into gear. Expect the bugs to be on the water in the early afternoon as the air temps warm up. With the water slightly off color, it can be difficult to find surface activity, but the nymphing has been very productive. Harrop’s parachute Baetis in size 18 and 20 as well as olive Gulper Specials will take fish if you find some heads on the surface. For nymphs, try an Egan’s Frenchie, an Iron Lotus, or a Bishop’ s Dynamite in size 16 or 18. With the flows around 160 CFS, the river is easy to get around; however, with the limited access points avoid walking on private land and stay within the high water line at all times.
The Stanley Area
The Salmon below Valley Creek is blown out and will take a few days to clear. Please check with the shop for an up to date report. If you are heading that way and want to fish, the river above Stanley around the fish hatchery is still clear. You should be able to find plenty of whitefish as well as some small cutthroat and rainbow trout willing to eat Rubber Legged Stones, King Prince Nymphs, or Bishop’s Dynamites.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork remains closed and it is difficult to predict how long it will take to reopen. For a great overview of the mud slides that inundated the South Fork, go to www.southforkboise.org.
Want to take the your kids fishing for the first time? Try one of our family friendly ponds. Come on down to the shop and we will direct you to the right spot with the right tackle.
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Upper Big Lost
Lower Big Lost
Olive Gulper Special
Rubber Legged Stones
King Prince Nymphs
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey