“…neither time nor repetition has destroyed the illusion that the rise of a trout to a dry fly is properly regarded in the light of a miracle.” ― Harold F. Blaisdell
It is the thing that brings anglers back to the river time and time again…the take, the moment the trout commits to the fly. The point of contact stirs something elemental in our DNA and allows us to escape the illusion of modern life for a spot of time. Go seek your miracle.
The Trico hatch seems to be sputtering to a start. This could be the week that we see the hatch take flight. At the moment, Baetis are the major early morning bug with a very brief Trico spinner fall. Still, you need to be prepared with a slew of bugs to match the bug stew down on the Creek. In the morning, you might want to start with a Harrop’s Callibaetis spinner or Trico Dun. As the morning progresses, Harrop’s Baetis Spinners as well as PMD spinners and Duns might take fish. If Tricos hit the water, try a Poly Wing Trico Spinner in white or black or a Harrop’s Trico Spinner. As the Tricos dissipate you may need to work back through the progression of flies mentioned above to stay on fish. Close observation of the fish and the bugs will help you decide which pattern to use. Of course, remember to fish down or down and across with a long leader to 6 or 7X on a slack line cast. These fish are very particular this time of year. When the morning activity subsides and you still want to find fish, look for the Blue Damsels to take the stage as well as Callibaetis Duns and Spinners. Of course, beetles, ants, and hoppers are also good midday. In the evening, Caddis and PMDs, both 16 and 18 can be abundant. Keep in mind, with the onset of the Trico hatch, the number of anglers increase as well, especially in the Preserve. Please use common sense and courtesy when fishing around other anglers.
The Big Wood
The water on the Wood is still higher than average for this time of year. You can find places to navigate across, but please be careful. The surface and subsurface action is good from morning into the early afternoon, but it will slow down during the hottest part of the day until the evening caddis action. Now that the Green Drakes have finished, smaller bugs are the major food source. Depending on where you are on the river, you will see some Pink Alberts, Western Quills, Yellow Sallies, Crane Flies, Tricos and/ or Baetis. If you find surface feeders, try smaller size 14 or 16 parachute patterns. You may need to match the hatch more closely as well with some of your Silver Creek patterns on the more selective trout. As for the large attractor dries that worked so well earlier in the month, they might turn fish but often get a short strike. Still, a dry dropper set up can be deadly. Straight up nymphing with an indicator or European Style can be very effective this time of year as well.
Warm Springs and Trail Creek
Both these Big Wood tributaries are a good option if you enjoy fishing a small creek very close to town. They have been recently stocked around the bridges and some select camp sites and there is a good population of wild trout in both. Keep in mind, when the water gets lower, the fish get more difficult to catch. Be stealthy in your approach and size down your tippet and flies and you will be successful.
If you seek solitude and a beautiful day’s float or simply hole hopping from one pull out to another in your car, the Upper and Lower Salmon is a great choice. If you go, take an assortment of orange and yellow Stimulators in size 12 and 14 and any other high visibility attractor dry. It is not too early to start tossing small hopper patterns as well; you can hear them starting to click all along the river. These fish also love standard beaded nymphs.
South Fork of the Boise
Still hearing reports of large salmon flies at the dam and down river a bit, but this bug should be almost done for the year. The flows are holding steady at 1500 CFS which is a good level for floating, and some wade fishing opportunities can be found. You may still find some success with big foamy stones pounding the banks, but you may be more successful parking the boat and working the riffles and back channels. There are some Pink Alberts, size 16, during the day as well and in the evening be sure to have plenty of Caddis dries and emergers in size 16 and 18.
Upper Lost Drainage
The upper reaches of the East, West, and North Forks are at fishable levels and you can hole hop on certain stretches of the main stem. Successful anglers will cover a lot of water and make their first cast count.
The flows below the damn continue to drop but remain too high for all but the strongest waders. Hopefully, in late July or August, the flows will return to fishable levels under 350 CFS.
It is time to take the family to Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon. All the ponds have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters. So drop on by before you take your family fishing and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise