“Tidings of raging forest fires continue to come in from every quarter” reads the lede of the Idaho Daily Statesman news story; only, this story is from 1889. Fires surrounded and threatened Ketchum 124 years ago just like they have in our more recent past. It is stories like this that remind us how cyclical nature can be in both the short and the long term. In the short term, we are passing from summer to fall, and fortunately we have a lot of great fall fishing to look forward to. The waters around Stanley, both the upper and lower Lost, and of course, Silver Creek are beckoning fall anglers to come enjoy the crisp autumnal days.
The Big Wood
Mother Nature did it again. Last weeks rains brought down even more soot and sediment into the Wood via Warm Springs. This is going to take a while to clear up. We are continuing to monitor the Wood and it tributaries along with our friends at IDFG, BLM, the Forest Service as well as Trout Unlimited. For up to the minute updates, please contact the shop. In the meanwhile, you can fish the upper Wood above Baker Creek or the East or North Fork of the Wood for a small stream experience.
To date, I have yet to see the closure happen on the Lower Pond, but I expect it could happen anytime. In the meanwhile, you can find more information about the first phase of the restoration project at www.nature.org/kilpatrickpond. As for the fishing, there have been a smattering of Tricos around in the morning and even the afternoon Callibaetis has been hit or miss of late. But as one hatch comes and goes, another takes its place. The Baetis are gaining strength in the upper conservancy and it won’t be long before we start seeing Mahogany Duns. Hoppers and ants have also been filling in the gaps between hatches, especially when there is a wind chop on the surface. The Creek is certainly going through its summer to fall transition right now, but the fishing remains good for the anglers willing to toss a variety of bugs and use different techniques to fool fish.
Upper Big Lost River
With the cool mornings and shorter days, the fishing is best from about 11AM till 4PM. The water is very low, and the fish are concentrated in the areas where there is structure and depth. If you like to walk and fish and then walk some more, this is a great option. Red Quills have been spotted, and hoppers and fly ants are always a good as well. The fish, while spooky, have been hitting the bigger bugs lately and a dry dropper trailing a Zebra Midge or a Bishop’s Dynamite is always a good, if not for the trout, then for the large white fish in this stretch of river. North Fork can be fun as well if you like fishing small water. Spruce Moth patterns are still working, especially in the stretches lined with evergreens.
Lower Big Lost River
The flows are around 177 CFS, and we should see them drop even more as irrigation needs diminish. The river is slightly off color right now, but this is normal on low water years. When the reservoir gets low, the wave action caused by the winds stirs up the silt near the inlet. While the Trico action has waned, the mid day into early afternoon Baetis has been very good. Dry fly action can be hard to find due to the water color, but the nymphing is fantastic. If you do see noses, use size 18 or 20 Harrop’s Baetis parachutes or olive Gulper Specials. For the rest of the time, dry dropper rigs or Euro Nymphing is the way to go. For nymphs try small pheasant tails or other Baetis imitations. Attractor nymphs like Bishop’s Dynamite and Rainbow Warriors are also producing fish.
The Stanley Area
Last week, the river from Valley Creek down turned brown from all the rain. The river is clearing, and if we stay dry, it should be fishing by the end of this week. From Stanley upstream, the river is clear and fishable, as are Marsh and Bear Valley creeks! In these areas, try a variety of attractor drys in size 12 through 16 from Royal Wulff’s, to Parachute Adams and orange Stimulators. Also size 12 tan or olive Elk Hair Caddis work well to imitate the Spruce Moths along the banks of wooded water. Swinging beaded Wooley Buggers in olive or black also works well. Of course, fishing a standard beaded nymph will get you into the white fish population as well.
South Fork of the Boise
Last weeks rain caused several massive mud slides that took out the road and spilled into the river thwarting IDFG plans to open portions of the river last weekend. Stay tuned as IDFG, the Forest Service, and BLM continue to monitor and assess the damage done.
Lake Creek Pond, Penny Lake, and Gavers Lagoon have plenty of leftover fish from the summer stocking program. However, the fish have seen their share of worms and eggs. Come on by the shop and we can hook you up with the right tackle to fool these late September stockies.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
Lower Big Lost
Olive Gulper Special
Upper Big Lost
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey