“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby
There is a freshness in the October air that is best described by the adjective “crisp.” The mornings start brisk, but the days turn temperate; abrupt but polite, firm yet pleasing. The angler and the trout are refreshed in the fall by the colors and the cool, and the river throws its best party of the year, reinventing itself yet again.
The weather has turned, making the water chilly; if you plan on tubing, wear lots of layers and bring a thermos full of coffee, tea, or whiskey. This may be a good time to explore the walk and wade section and sight fish for sippers. With the onset of cooler temperatures, be prepared for lots of Baetis (size 20 and 22) as well as a few Mahogany Duns (size 16). You might even see a smattering of October Caddis depending where you are on the river. Terrestrials are still going to be a factor but if it continues to freeze at night this won’t last too much longer. Watch for cloudy days because the fishing can be incredible. On these blustery days the Baetis will be prolific. On a side note, if you find some brown trout on redds, let them be and watch your step.
The Big Wood
The Red Quills are still present, but the numbers are dwindling. Baetis will continue to hatch in good numbers in the afternoons throughout the month of October. To imitate this fly, try your Silver Creek patterns in size 18 or 20. Also, nymphing continues to be outstanding. Try a high floating dry with a small Baetis nymph or Zebra midge (size 18) trailing behind. Euro Style is also very effective with a larger natural pattern matched with a small Perdigon. Target the shallow, dancing water at the head of runs, the tailouts, or behind any kind of structure as the fish adjust to the sudden temperature change. Once the feed is on, the fish are incredibly aggressive; expect a strike the moment your flies touch the water. Remember, with the cool mornings and shorter days, the fishing has really been best from around noon until the sun leaves the water.
Warm Springs and Trail Creek
These small streams offer great access and easy wading. There are plenty of stocked fish around the bridges and if you want to find some quality wild fish, just keep moving away from the road. Hatches here mirror the Wood, so employ the same tactics and a bit of stealth to be successful.
This is a spectacular choice for late fall fishing both above and below the town of Stanley. The mountains have received a dusting of snow and make a spectacular backdrop. Look for pull-outs around the runs with decent holding water and you are sure to find fish. Of course, it is frigid up here in the mornings so there is no need to start too early. You can really fish any technique that suits your fancy and find success.
South Fork of the Boise
With the river holding 400 CFS, the fish tend to concentrate around the riffles and runs with decent depth. For bugs, you will find a few Crane flies around and a smattering of caddis, but in the late afternoon the Baetis are your best opportunity to find consistent feeding. Keep in mind, the cool weather seems to have concentrated the good fall Baetis to a few hours in the late afternoon. For flies, have the same collection of Baetis you would take to the Lost, the Creek, or the Wood. When all else fails, nymphing will produce a ton of whitefish and some sensational trout.
Upper Lost Drainage
The cool mornings have shortened the fishing window to the late afternoon. This is a great place to stop on your way back from the lower Lost. Focus your attention on the “greenish” water; this is where you will find fish. Also, you may still find some Hecubas, known as the Western Red Quill, fluttering about. Even if you don’t, this is a good bug to search the water with as it is the last big bug of the season and the fish key on it. These fish love small and medium-size nymphs as well.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows are holding at around 200 CFS, a good overall flow. In the mid to late afternoon expect a few midges with good numbers of Fall Baetis. Keep your eyes on the seams and slow tailouts for fish sipping duns. With the low angle of light this time of year, the Baetis are very hard to see, so keep a keen eye on the water. Be stealthy and fish long leaders and fine tippet down to 6.5X or 7 X. The nymphing has also been quite good. Try a double nymph rig with a large tactical nymph as an anchor and a small nymph on a tag. Also, a simple dry dropper rig with a long leader is effective for greater distance and delicate presentations for spooky fish.
All the ponds were stocked in late August for the last time, but there are plenty of fish to play with. 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: Pink Alberts | Hoppers | Chubby Chernobyl | 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: October Callibaetis | Baetis | Mahogany Duns | 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 | Hecubas (Red Quills) | Purple Haze | Elk Hair Caddis | Golden Stone | Pats Rubber Legs | Buggers | Chubby Chernobyl’s | Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | King Prince Nymph | Zebra Midge
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise