September is a magical time on the waters around the Wood River Valley. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, and the fishing pressure is light. Our local tailwaters have dropped and our freestone rivers are close to base levels making wading a cinch. Still, you can’t take trout unless you get your feet wet. This September, may your breeches always be wet!
The Creek is transitioning into a midday fishery and, depending on the day, there can be some fantastic Callibaetis activity starting around noon. However, on warmer days, the mornings can still be good with a smattering of Tricos and decent numbers of Baetis. The best part, there is very light angler pressure. Be sure to have a good selection of Callibaetis patterns (size 16 and 18) in multiple stages of this insects life: nymphs, emergers, cripples, duns, and spinners. Our House of Harrop Calibaetis patterns are simply the best match for these picky feeders. The Callibaetis emergence usually coincides with the afternoon breezes which can actually be to the anglers benefit as the larger fish lose all inhibitions in this situation. Also keep in mind, Callibaetis are a slow water bug and will be found in good numbers in the Pond. It will not be long and we will also start seeing some Mahogany Duns so it would be wise to have a few already in your box.
The Wood is fishing well from mid morning and into the late afternoon with the recent cooler temperatures. Some Tricos can still be found Mid Valley on down to Bellevue and can hit the water anytime after the air temp hits 60. Like the Creek, the Wood is beginning to transition into its Fall mode; over the next several weeks, the Fall Baetis will start to become more of a factor. Have a good selection of high vis Baetis in size 18 and 20 as well as some of the ones you might toss down at the Creek. Whether fishing with Tricos or Baetis, you will need to use long leaders and light tippet in 6 or 6.5X to fool these seasoned trout. If neither of these bugs are about, you will still find a good assortment of caddis, crane flies, and other mayflies fluttering around into the late afternoon and standard mayfly and caddis patterns in size 16 and 18 will just about cover all of them. Nymphing is really productive this time of year with a dry dropper rig or Euro Style. For nymphs, try small size 18 or 20 Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Beaded Pheasant Tails. Don’t forget to try running a hopper through some fast riffles this time of year as well.
The water is low and cold. There is no reason to start to early in the Stanley Basin. After a leisurely breakfast at the Stanley Bakery, go in search of a good pull off along the river. Try an assortment 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 Spuce Moths along the banks of wooded water. Nymphing is also effective. For nymphs, try Rubber Legged Stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, or King Princes. Standard black or brown buggers work well too.
THE UPPER LOST
The water is low and cold on the Upper Lost. As always, don’t expect huge fish numbers, but the quality of the fish being found on the main stem of the Upper Lost remains fantastic. Plan on covering a lot of water and focus on the areas where there is enough depth and structure to hold fish. You will need to be stealthy in your approach and try using small drys, like size 16 and 18 Parachute Purple Haze, Adams, ants or larger hopper patterns to fool these seasoned trout. Small beaded Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, or Bishop’s Dynamite work really well if the trout aren’t on the surface and on the many large white fish in the river.
BIG LOST – MACKAY
This can be some of the best fall fishing in the area. The flows are at 287 CFS and may continue to drop. The late morning action has seen a mix of Tricos and Baetis in the air and if you find a spot where the bugs hit the water try using Trico Hackle Stackers or Harrop’s size 22 Trico Spinners in black, white, or green. For the Baetis, a size 20 Gulper Special with an orange post works well. If you can’t find surface feeders, try Euro Nymphing with a heavy nymph followed by a smaller pattern; a beaded Stone fly or San Juan Worm followed by a smaller PT, Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’s Dynamite is an effective combo. Dry dropper rigs are also productive. For those fish hanging in the margins, try a dry dropper rig with a extra small brown Zebra Midge or WD-40.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are holding at a very wader friendly 611CFS and there has been a smattering of Flavs, PMDs, and Pink Alberts hatching in the early afternoon. A few beatis are beginning to make their midday appearance as well, especially on cloudy, cool days. Nymphing with caddis larva, PTs, and Zebra Midge can be a good option when no bugs are present. Euro Nymping the shallower riffles has been very effective for whitefish and trout. You might try pulling a streamer through some deeper runs in search of a bull trout or an aggressive rainbow.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. These are great places for a family picnic or a fly fishing lesson. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters, so drop on by and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Lost