“I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river”- Roderick Haig-Brown
As a fly fisher, I look at rivers differently than the casual observer. I see the the subtle depressions beneath the surface, the seams where fast water meets slow, the multifaceted surface swirls like an individual brush stroke on a Van Gogh painting. Through the kaleidoscope of color and movement I see where fish lie, even if I can’t see the fish. In June the water starts to drop and the water begins to clear, and like a sculpture which began as a lump of clay, the river transforms from a muddy mess into a masterpiece. But looks can be deceiving. Even though the river looks inviting, anglers need to respect the power of water and wade with caution. I can’t emphasis this cardinal rule of wading enough: Always wear a wading belt. This simple step can save your life. Also, always fish with a friend. In addition, Patagonia Rock Grip Wading Boots or SIMMS RiverTread Wading Boots with AlumiBite™ and HardBite™ cleats and studs also really make a difference when wading on slippery rocks. A wading staff is a good idea too. The rivers are really starting to look good, and they are only going to get better.
This is a nice time to be on the Creek. With the Opening Day flurry done and the fact that the Brown Drakes have run their course, the Creek takes on an atmosphere of quietude. The hatches are sporadic with some days better than others, but certainly expect to see Baetis (18-22), PMDs (16), Callibaetis (14-16), and maybe a few Green Drakes. The fish are already wising up and it is time to start fishing long and fine leaders to 6X at a down or down and across angle to spooky fish. When the wind blows try terrestrials like beetles, ants, and small hoppers. Of course, the rules change when there is a wind chop on the surface and it is better to shorten your leader to 7 1/2 to 9 feet and fish 4X. If all else fails, nymphing with a small Zebra Midge or PMD nymph beneath a high floating dry or micro indicator will produce some action. As is typical for this time of year, the hatches have been best mid-morning and then again late in the evening.
The Wood is fishing North of town and South around Stanton Crossing. The middle Wood is still too high for the most part, but side channels are fishing well. There is still a bit of color to the river, but it is clearing nicely. While the Wood does not have a ton of Salmon flies, it has enough that fishing big dries and drifting Rubber Leg stones is effective. Also, we are nearing Green Drake time and the fishing Green Drake nymphs pre-hatch is a good idea. A great combo nymph rig is a Stone trailed by a Drake truck and trailer style beneath an indicator or fished Euro Style. Also, it is never to early to fish small nymphs in size 14-18 (Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamite, etc.) in tandem with a Drake or Stone if you find fish that have already been pressured. With limited access, this may be the case.
This fishery typically is the first to get really good as the water drops. It is certainly worth a look. Fish it the same as you would fish the Wood. Expect stocked fish around the bridges and where the river comes close to the road and wild fish every else. Please treat these wild fish with care as they have been through a lot after last years fire.
THE BIG LOST
The flows below Mackay Reservoir are above 500 CFS which is still to high to wade; however, the flows have been dropping and we may be able fish here sooner than expected. The Upper Lost is really starting to look good, just like the Wood, but wading across the river is out of the question. You can poke around on the East Fork above Wildhorse and find a few spots to fish from the bank, but your best bet is going way up into the Copper Basin. Expect to find good numbers of Yellow Sallies and Stones along with caddis and a hodgepodge of mayflies.
The upper Salmon above Stanley is clear and fishable in spots but is still very high. If you can find a spot where the fish can hold try a tandem rig of big bugs like Rubber Leg Stones, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails or Bishop’s Dynamite all heavily weighted beneath an indicator. Swinging streamers will also produce.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows have finally bumped up to 600 CFS and they should remain at this level through the end of the month. This has slowed the surface activity down, but once the fish settle, they should start looking up again. There are still plenty of Caddis, Cicadas, and some Salmon Flies fluttering about and fishing a big dry with a PT dropper may be just the ticket. With all the debris being kicked up with the higher flows, nymphing big flies will work well. Focus on the riffles and side seams with Rubber Leg Stone Flies, Caddis Larva, and the typical small tailwater midge patterns Euro Style or with an indicator. Remember this area is only open for day use.
Penny, Lake Creek and Gaver Lagoon have been recently stocked and can provide a nice day for a family picnic or if you are looking for something to fry for dinner.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” – John Buchan