“When you are fishing, you must be able to move fluidly through multiple approaches and not be dogmatic in your thinking. There really is no one best way.” ~ George Daniel from Dynamic Nymphing
Fly fishers easily fall into prescribed routines, techniques, and approaches to the detriment of their success. As conditions change, so should the angler. Remember the adage: If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Over the next few weeks as the water drops, be prepared to experiment with multiple approaches. What do you have in your toolbox?
The Brown Drakes are in full swing and the “Drake Heads” are camped out at the Point of Rocks and Willows section of the Creek. Remember the emergence typically happens right at dark which can coincide with a spinner fall; however, the spinner fall can really happen anytime during the day. As the week goes on, this hatch will start to peter out. The Creek remains one of the few fishing options in the area for the moment, and the crowds will disperse once the Drakes are done until the Tricos start up in July. Like the weather, the Nature Conservancy and Kilpatrick Pond portions of the Creek continue to be unpredictable, but a late afternoon PMD hatch is possible. Throughout the day there will also be a few Baetis mixed with Callibaetis depending on where you are. As always, terrestrials, beetles and ants, will work when no other bugs are around. Also, nymphing with a small beaded Pheasant Tail or Zebra Midge (18 or 20) remains very productive. This is also a good time of year to pull a streamer or a damsel nymph through open water.
The Wood in Hailey has dropped to just under 2,000 CFS. North of Ketchum, the river has cleared and is beginning to drop, but wading is still out of the question. Warm Springs has dropped to around 200 CFS and has cleared. This will be the first tributary to start fishing well, so keep your eyes on it. The Wood should be in great shape later this month, just in time for the Green Drake emergence!
Upper Big Lost
Trail Creek Pass is open, but the water is very high. While it is a beautiful place to enjoy some wildflowers, the river is not ready for fishing just yet. The flows follow a very similar pattern to the Wood, so as we witness the flows start to drop in the Valley, the higher elevation portions of the Lost will be ready to explore.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows are too high right now. It is best to wait until late summer when the flows drop below 350 CFS before fishing here again.
The Salmon below Stanley is very high; near Clayton the flows are near 3,700 CFS. Hopefully we will be able to start floating by mid June. In the meanwhile, the stretch of river around the hatchery, while high, can stay relatively clear this time of year and has decent numbers of whitefish and a few trout. Try deep nymphing with rubber legged stones or streamers.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows are dropping every other day and are now around 2,000 CFS. This is a good level for drift boating but a bit high for wade fishing. The fishing remains best right tight to the bank and in the side channels or below the islands. The large Salmon fly hatch is coming in late June, so running large rubber legged stones on or near the bottom can be very effective.
Gavers Lagoon, Penny, and Lake Creek ponds have been stocked and would make a great location for a family picnic. Come on by the shop for all your family fishing needs!
With the rivers still high, our local reservoirs are a good option. If you go, pay close attention to the weather as wind can make fishing a reservoir treacherous. And as always, be prepared with a life preserver and a sound making device in accordance with Idaho law. Both Magic and Little Wood reservoir fish well this time of year and can be accessed either from the bank, a float tube, or a boat. Both are smaller reservoirs and will have hold over fish from last year as well as a fresh load of stocked fish. A bit farther down the road, is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. This fishery is managed by the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and has three different reservoirs to pick from: Mountain View, Lake Billy Shaw, and Sheep Creek. For a small fee, you can fish all three and camping facilities are available for an addition fee. As for techniques in all locations, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka fresh water plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can be effective. Come on by the shop and we can set you up with the right flies and driving directions.
Silver Creek Flies: Brown Drake | PMD’s 16 | Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Damsel Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18
Big Wood, Warm Springs, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Rubber Legged Stones | Caddis Larva | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers
Stillwater Flies: Pops Buggers | Standard Olive, Black, and Brown Wooley Buggers | Stayner’s Ducktail | Sheep Creek Special | Bouface Leech | Seal Buggers | Squirrel Leech | Chironomids | Olive Scuds | Perch Imitations
Upper Big Lost
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise