“In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.”
– Kevin Kelly
A friend with a boat, a box with the right flies, a vest full of tackle, a cooler full of cool beverages, a few yarns to tell, and a bit of timely advice is the best friend you can have. We call them guides.
The Big Wood
Look for the Wood to continue to fish well early with the hottest part of the day being the least productive. Expect to find a variety of caddis, Pink Alberts, Western Quills, PMDs, Baetis, Tricos, crane flies, and hoppers throughout the morning into the afternoon. Due to the low water flows and hot temperatures, look for the fish to seek oxygen in the shallow, aerated riffles as well as the abundant food supply these riffles provide. Success on the Wood will depend on presentation and line management. August trout will give you one chance so make your first cast count and manage the slack in your line or you will miss every opportunity. And as always, please remember that the fish need to be released as quickly as possible.
The Nature Conservancy has asked for anglers to voluntarily restrict early morning fishing and wait to begin until the late morning. On the Creek, dissolved oxygen levels are lowest in the early morning but increase once the sun hits the water and photosynthesis begins. Hopefully, the cooler temperatures in the forecast will help alleviate this problem and the voluntary restrictions will be lifted. When you do hit the water, expect to see a variety of insects on the surface including Baetis, Tricos, Callibaetis, PMDs, and Caddis. To date, the Trico spinner falls have been temperamental and localized depending on the wind and air temperature. Baetis typically outnumber Tricos. After the early morning frenzy is done, damselflies and Callibaetis spinners take center stage. When the wind blows, shorten your leader and try your favorite terrestrial. Remember, when fishing the Preserve, the visitor center remains closed. Look for posted information at each access allowing you to sign in via your phone with a QR code or by texting “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682.
The Big Lost Upper
While the East and North Forks of the Lost are still producing fish, the best fishing has moved downstream to the main stem of the Upper Lost. There are numerous access points along the river from the East Fork and North Fork confluence down and if at first you do not find fish, be persistent and cover a lot of water. While attractor dry flies will turn fish, it is good to have some smaller flies to fool the tougher fish. Nymphing with standard beaded nymphs will also work on the fish that refuse a dry and they will get you into the Whitefish.
The Big Lost Lower
With flows bouncing between 350 to 400 CFS, this river is wadable but crossing can be difficult. If you do go, be sure to have Crane Flies, PMDs, Tricos, and caddis and an assortment of small nymphs. The morning action is best.
The window to float this spectacular river may only last for a couple more weeks with flows dropping rapidly. Still, this fishery continues to produce great fishing opportunities despite the heat. Spruce Moths are beginning to make an appearance and can provide excellent dry fly fishing as well as hoppers.
Southfork of the Boise
The flows are still right at 1200 CFS, which is a perfect floating level. Still, you are better off parking the drift boat and working the islands and riffles with small caddis, Pink Alberts or small hoppers. Small nymphs are effective as well. During the day the fishing has been spotty, but the evening caddis hatch has been spectacular.
Gaver’s Lagoon, Penny, and Lake Creek ponds have been stocked and make a great location for a family picnic.
If you are looking for a unique alternative, try one of our local reservoirs. Magic, Mackay, and the Little Wood reservoirs can be fished either from shore or from a float tube; however, please be aware that strong afternoon winds can make boating/ tubing unsafe. As for techniques in all these reservoirs, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 or 5 sinking line. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can also be effective.
Big Wood & Warm Springs: Chubby Chernobyl | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Big Lost: Crane Flies | Chubby Chernobyl | PMDs | Yellow Sallies | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Salmon: Chubby Chernobyl | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince
South Fork of the Boise: Chubby Chernobyl | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: Damsels | PMD | Callibaetis | Baetis | Tricos | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Stillwater Flies: Seal Buggars | Balanced Leeches | Bouface Leech | Snowcone Chironomids | Egg Patterns | Prince Nymph | Squirmy Worms
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise