“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
― Henry David Thoreau
On the silvery surface, you see tiny wings and rhythmic noses. But the low autumnal sun makes tracking your fly impossible. You trust the cast is true and set on instinct. Sometimes it is not about what you see, but what you believe.
The Big Wood
The water is low, clear, and cool. With the cooler nights, the afternoon fishing is best. The bugs and the trout need a bit of solar heating before they get active. And the fishing is technical. For your approach you need to be able to fish fine and far or be willing to crawl, otherwise you will spook the fish before you even make a cast. As for bugs, Baetis should continue over the next two weeks and be especially prolific on cloudy days. One challenge for anglers unique to the fall is the influx of freshly fallen leaves in the river. When the wind blows, the leaves will come down. Not to worry; the fish can see your fly through the leaves.
There is nothing finer than a fall day spent casting a fly on the Creek. While the hatches have been sporadic, there are enough bugs to keep the fish feeding. You can expect Fall Baetis and a few Mahogany Duns in the middle of the day into the afternoon with some midge hatching until sundown. For the Baetis, have a good selection of duns, cripples, and spinners in size 20-24. For the Mahoganies, you should have dun, emerger, and spinner patterns as well. If the water is devoid of bugs, terrestrials will still take fish, especially of windy days. Also, nymphing dry dropper style with small size 20-16 nymphs is effective. As always, be aware of browns on redds and leave them alone.
Remember, when fishing the Preserve, the visitor center remains closed. Look for posted information at each access allowing you to sign in via your phone with a QR code or by texting “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682.
The Big Lost Upper
The Upper Lost is a spectacular place to fish right now. Keep in mind, the water is low and cold. It is best to wait for the temperatures to come up and fish this area in the afternoon. Try searching the water with a high floating dry trailed by a small nymph. The key to success…stay mobile. At this water level, the fish are concentrated around the good holding areas.
The Big Lost Lower
After jumping up to 260 last week, the flows are coming back down and are currently at just under 200 CFS. Look for Baetis, midge, and a few remaining Tricos during the early to late afternoon for your best chance to find surface feeders. Of course, cloudy days are always best. The rest of the time, nymphing dry-dropper or Euro Style will be the most productive.
It can be very cold up here in the morning, but good fishing can still be found in the late afternoon. And with the Sawtooth Mountains dusted with snow looming over your shoulder, this area is hard to beat. During the warmest time of day, find a good pull out either above or below Stanley and focus your attention on the riffles above the deeper holding water. Nymphing is the most productive technique right now. Expect good numbers of whitefish, a few trout, and a chance at a Bull Trout.
Southfork of the Boise
The South Fork is ideal for wading with the flows holding steady at 300 CFS. This time of year, Baetis, Pinks, Flavs, and midge are on the menu and they will be hatching during the comfortable times of the day. Nymphing is also going to be productive when few bugs are about.
Gaver’s Lagoon, Penny, and Lake Creek ponds have been stocked for the last time and make a great location for a family picnic.
Big Wood & Warm Springs: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | Red Quills | High Vis Adams | Crane Flies | Elk Hair Caddis | Chubby Chernobyl | Ant CFO Black | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: Baetis | Mahogany Duns No Hackle | October Caddis | Parachute Kicking Hopper | Rainey’s Hopper | Ants CFO Black | Crowe Beetle | Harrop’s Callibaetis | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | Quilldigon | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | Red Quills | High Vis Adams | Crane Flies | Elk Hair Caddis | Chubby Chernobyl | Ant CFO Black | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops
Salmon: Chubby Chernobyl | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Lite Brite Perdigons 14-18 | Pat’s Rubber Legs | KJ Hot Rib Hares Ear Nymph | Sob Czech in Olive and Grey | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince | Buggers
South Fork of the Boise: Pink Albert No Hackle | Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Crane Flies | Elk Hair Caddis | Chubby Chernobyl | Ant CFO Black | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise