“…what fishing ought to be about: using the ceremony of our sport and passion to arouse greater reverberations within ourselves.” ~ Thomas McGuane
This July, trade self-consciousness for river-consciousness. Become aware of the flight patterns of swallows. Observe the complexity of insects trapped in the spiders web. Note the interplay of light and water. See fish through the eyes of a heron. Let your heart vibrate to the river’s song. The ceremony of our sport reminds us that we are part of something bigger than the daily ritual of our lives.
If you go, don’t expect to find many fish in the upper Preserve. The low flows are forcing most of the fish to seek the cover of deeper water. However, some fish have begun to move into the lower Preserve now that the Tricos have begun. 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. Of course, with increased angler pressure and a limited number of fish spread out, the fishing will remain spotty. On a positive note, the morning hatches should be getting more consistent as the week warms up. There has been a complex array of bugs beginning with Callibaetis spinners and Trico Duns on the water early. As the morning progresses, Baetis might make an appearance as well as PMD spinners and Duns. The Trico spinner fall typically occurs once the air temp hits 60 degrees and should continue to build steam over the next few weeks. When the morning activity subsides the Blue Damsels take the stage as well as Callibaetis Duns and Spinners. Of course, beetles and ants are also good midday. In the evening, Caddis and PMDs, both 16 and 18 can be abundant. As you can tell, you need to have your box ready with all the usual suspects and bring your “A” game to the creek this time of year. Be sure to also have plenty of Frogs Fanny to help keep your size 20 to 24 flies floating high and dry as well as enough Trouthunter 6.5X tippet.
The Green Drakes are wrapping up for the season, but the Wood continues to fish well. At over 400 CFS the river is still a bit high for freely moving about. Still new water is opening up daily as the flows continue to drop and intrepid waders can find water that has not been fished this season. The action is good from mid morning into the early afternoon, but it will slow down until the evening caddis action, especially once a warmer weather pattern returns. If you do see bugs, it will be a mixed bag of some Pink Alberts, Western Quills, Yellow Sallies, Crane Flies and Baetis. For drys you should try smaller size 14 or 16 parachute patterns like Purple Haze, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or Gulper Specials in olive or tan. Large attractor drys will turn fish but often get a short strike. Still a dry dropper set up can be deadly. Smaller nymphs are starting to work well; try a red or black Zebra Midge, a beaded pheasant tail, a Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 or 18 trailed behind a high floating dry. Straight up nymphing with an indicator or European style can be very effective. The fish hit the fly, whether wet or dry, with astonishing speed this time of year, so be sure to hone your hook setting skills by managing you slack line both in your hands and on the water.
This is a great river to go to if the Wood is still to high for your tastes. Like the Wood, the hatches have been strong. Fish and Game keeps this river well stocked around the bridges and plenty of wild fish can be found where the river leaves the road. For flies, yellow or orange Stimulators or Green Drakes are good on top. Tying on a dropper is a good idea as well; Bishop’s Dynamite, Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs all work well.
The fishing remains very good on the Salmon for cutthroat, rainbows, cutbows, whitefish, and the occasional bull trout . We offer guided float trips on the Lower Salmon River and if you have yet to do this, you should give it a try. The walk and wade fishing above Stanley has also been productive, although there are portions of the river full of shoulder to shoulder Salmon anglers; it is best to avoid these areas. If you go, be sure and take a good selection of Yellow Stone fly patterns, some Olive Caddis, Green Drakes and an array of beaded nymphs.
BIG LOST – MACKAY
With flows above 600 CFS, this is too high to fish safely. Once the flows drop below 350 CFS in late July, early August, this river will be ready to fish again.
UPPER BIG LOST
The Upper Lost is fishing well. Focus your attention on the East Fork above Wild Horse, the West Fork, and the North Fork. As has been the case the last few years, some stretches of this river fish better than others. The more water you cover the more productive your day will be. There are some Green Drakes late in the day, as well as a mixed bag of Stone Flies. Big drys will turn fish, but if you get a refusal, switch to a smaller Parachute Adams, PMD or Purple Haze. If that does not work, try small nymphs, like Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamite, Pheasant tails or Prince Nymphs. Persistent Anglers are being rewarded with some spectacular fish.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are holding around 1650 CFS; a perfect flow for floating, but tough for wading. The Salmon flies are done for the season; however, the caddis remain very strong in the mornings and evenings. Still you should have plenty of big foam bugs (Cicadas and Hoppers) for working the banks and a good selection of Trailing Shuck Caddis and traditional Elk Hair Caddis in brown and olive sizes 18 to 14. Nymphing the riffles and seams with large stone fly imitations and caddis larva is always a good call.
STILLWATERS & LOCAL WATERS
This is a good 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.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Lost