“For the maxim holds good in the matter of fishing as in everything else: the first step to be wise is to know that we are ignorant.” – Edward Hamilton
We are lucky to have the Wood, the Lost, and the Creek as our schoolhouse, and the trout as our teachers. Another step to being wise is to know that we are blessed.
After a chilly October, November has been on the mild side. The Baetis action, while short and late in the day, has been fantastic. Even though it is starting to wane, it is still worth checking out. Cloudy days are your best bet for fish on the surface. The rest of the time, your best action will come on nymphs and streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or dark Perdigon. Find the right depth with your dropper and you will take plenty of trout. The Browns are on the gravel and digging beds, so please leave these fish alone and don’t walk through the redds. There are plenty of other fish to pursue. Remember the Conservancy stretch will close at the end of the month, but from the Purdy’s Bridge down through Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of March.
The Big Wood
The cooler weather has concentrated the fish in the winter holding water and the hatches have been minimized down to a smattering of midge and Baetis. Still the fish are hungry and if you find the right spot, at the right time, with the right fly, and the right technique you will find fish. The fishing is good once the sun hits the water and it is not likely that you will find too many other anglers out and about. For flies, keep it simple and small or big and ugly. Try a size 16 or 18 Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, Quildigon, or Bishop’s Dynamite or a larger size 8-12 Rubber Leg Stone or a Tactical style nymph. Dangle these bugs off a high floating dry, a simple pinch-on indicator or fish them Euro Style. If you scan the soft edges of the slow runs and buckets, you may see a surface feeder. Try small CDC Baetis, Midge, or even a Caddis with 6 or 7x tippet.
South Fork of the Boise
The reports have been favorable on the South Fork. Anglers have been finding lots of whitefish, trout, and other anglers. It is popular for a reason; this fishery is beautiful this time of year. Remember to go prepared with a 4×4 and chains or studded tires. The road down to the dam is shady this time of year and after the snow starts to fly it can be treacherous.
The Lost Below Mackay
The Lost is cool, clear and low; as a result, the fish are spooky. The flow is around 120 CFS and at this level the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and in the riffles at the head of these runs. Be stealthy and you will find success. Expect to find some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching in the afternoons. For the risers, you will need long leaders down to 6 or 7x and small flies to match. Nymphing will produce the most consistent action. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator. As always, check the weather and the road conditions for Trail Creek Pass. We have have some snow in the forecast.
Upper Lost Drainage
It is very cold up here. Yet it is worth poking into a few spots were the fish might be concentrated in the late afternoon. Perhaps a side trip on your way back from below the dam. Take advantage of it while you can, as it won’t be long before this area will be inaccessible.
South Fork of the Boise: 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: Baetis | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Big Lost, Big Wood and Tributaries: Beatis | Purple Haze | Golden Stone | Pats Rubber Legs | Buggers | Chubby Chernobyl’s | Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | Rainbow Warrior | King Prince Nymph | DB Zebra Midge | Quildigons | Frenchie
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise