“Cast your fly with confidence.” ~Theodore Gordon
And release your fish with compassion. Studies have shown that when large trout are fought to exhaustion, then held out of the water for 30 to 60 seconds during hook removal and photo, these trout have a dramatic decrease in their survival rate. Here is a list of best practices when releasing trout:
(1) Always land your fish as quickly as possible.
(2) Handle the fish as little as possible. Learn how to use a Ketchum Release.
(3) Take lots of pictures of the entire process of landing and releasing the fish, and if the camera is not ready, keep the fish in the water until it is and only remove the fish for a few seconds for the photo.
(4) When holding a fish, always have wet hands and support the weight of the fish without squeezing it.
(5) Revive the fish with its head into the current until it is ready to swim away.
The Tricos, while present in the mornings, have started to fade. Still, the morning fishing can be good with a complex mix of bugs. The early morning twilight still starts with a few Trico duns and Calibaetis spinners on the water. As the air temp rises to around 65 degrees, this gives way to a modest spinner fall and the onslaught of the supper small Baetis. The Baetis will keep the fish feeding until the Damsels make an appearance. The midday fishing can be good with Dmasels and Calibaetis as well as hoppers and beetles. The river takes a rest in the late afternoon and then cranks back up for a the late evening PMDs. While fishing the Creek can spectacular at times, the fishing in general remains spotty. Much of the walk and wade portions of the Preserve are simply too shallow forcing most of the fish to seek the protection of deeper, cooler water.
The fishing on the Wood remains good, but it does require some persistence. August fish have seen a few flies and tend to be more selective. Also, when they do eat a fly they do it with incredible speed resulting in many missed takes. The first problem can be solved by using smaller flies and tippet. To solve the missed strike conundrum, shorten your presentations and work on line management and quick, not hard, sets. If you keep at it you will find more and larger trout. Also the Wood is fishing well in the morning with a mix of Baetis, Tricos, and PMDs and again in the evening with Caddis. The late afternoon can be slow. For flies try small (12-16) yellow Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Hare’s Ear, Adams, or Purple Haze trailed by a Rainbow Warrior, Zebra Midge, or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 18 and 16.
Warm Springs is perfect for those who love fishing small creeks. With the low flows, the fish are in the deeper water and around cover. Employ stealth to fool the wild fish. If you are looking for some easy and productive fishing, Fish and Game keeps this river well stocked around the bridges. For flies, try yellow or orange Stimulators or Spruce Moth patterns for dries. Tying on a dropper is a good idea as well; Bishop’s Dynamite, Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs all work well.
There is a fire near Stanley Lake making the area potentially smokey. The Lowman Fire may also send smoke into the valley depending on the wind. At the moment, we have not had to cancel any trips, but please check with us if you have any concerns. The upper river is very low, but we are still floating the lower reaches. The dry fly fishing remains strong thanks to the Spruce Moth; try a size 16 or 14 cream colored Elk Hair Caddis or Yellow Stimulator to imitate this bug. Fishing dry dropper style with size 14-16 bead head nymphs is also productive for trout and whitefish.
BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows continue to fluctuate; they could be anywhere from 400 to 500 CFS depending on the day. Be sure to check before you go and know they may go up, or down, while you are there. As a general rule, if the flows are above 400 CFS it is very difficult to wade comfortably. Still, those willing to seek fishable water, nymphing is the most productive technique even though there are some Tricos, Baetis, and PMDs in the air throughout the morning into the early afternoon. Try a variety of different nymphs: San Juan Worms, King Prince, PTs, and small Beatis and Midge patterns. You might also try a dancing large crane fly pattern; we have a great selection of Mackay Specials.
UPPER BIG LOST
The flows on the East Fork are getting low, but the main stem below the North Fork is in very good shape. Fishing in this area is not about catching large numbers of fish; if you like to hike, fish, and have a chance at a few really nice fish then give this area a go. Look for the deeper runs and expect the fish to be concentrated in these areas. While covering likely water, keep in mind, these fish are opportunistic feeders and they will often take the first presentation, but seldom give you a second chance. For flies, try Parachute Adams, PMD or Purple Haze along with small nymphs, like Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamite, Pheasant tails or Prince Nymphs.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The South Fork has been very consistent; flows remain around 1700 CFS. While drifting, try hoppers along with a trailing nymph to search the bank. Pinks Alberts have been spotty, but should continue to hatch throughout the day depending on where you are on the river. Be sure to have this pattern in a cripple for selective fish. In the evenings, caddis are still the main course. Nymphing the riffles and seams with large stone fly imitations, caddis larva, and small zebra midge is effective all day for trout and whitefish.
STILLWATERS & LOCAL WATERS
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