“Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.”
– Ralph Ellison
Some fair-weather anglers prefer to spend the cooler months in a dormant state, remaining inactive, indoors, and away from water. But others scoff at hibernation and simply don more layers, top the flask, fill the thermos, and head to the river. There will be time for covert preparation in the spring when the rivers swell and close.
November is the last month to fish the Creek above Kilpatrick Bridge. Downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge, however, remains open until the end of March like the Wood and its tributaries. In general, the surface activity has been decent with the best action in the late afternoons. There may be a few October caddis and Mahogany duns left, but the primary bugs this time of year are midge and Baetis. And the cooler weather we are now experiencing should produce some brief, but intense Baetis hatches. The fish are eager to feed, so any hatch activity will get the fish feeding on the surface and subsurface. Nymphing with small midge and Baetis nymphs is most productive and streamers are turning some fish as well. Because of the cold water temps, be sure to layer up under your waders. And please be aware that the brown spawning activity has really picked up and it is best just to leave these fish alone and avoid wading through the redds.
The cold weather descending on the valley will be good for making snow and it will help the Big Wood transition from fall to winter. While there may still be some pleasant days ahead before winter finally settles in, the fall hatches have started to wane, and midge are becoming the primary food source. Additionally, the fishing window will shorten to the most pleasant time of day, mid-afternoon, and the fish will move out of the fast, shallow runs gravitating towards the winter-holding water. That said, the fish do tend to feed voraciously this time of year, as they sense the days getting shorter and the food supply diminishing.
Warm Springs and Trail Creek
For small creek aficionados, Warm Springs and Trail Creek are ideal. You will find a few straggling stocked trout around the bridges; however, if you seek wild fish, just venture away from the easy access points.
The Upper Lost
This is a great option if you are seeking solitude. Take advantage of this area while you can, as the Trail Creek Pass gate will be locked the first week of November. If you go, focus your attention on the best holding water and you are sure to find a few trout and whitefish.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows below the dam dropped precipitously to 40 CFS on Saturday, October 21st and then rebounded to 116 CFS as of the writing of this report. Hopefully, this signifies that the gates have been repaired. Nevertheless, the fishing has been fair, especially for small trout and the water remains slightly off-color.
It can be frigid in Stanley this time of year, but fishing in the afternoon can still be productive. Pick some decent holding water and you will find good concentrations of rainbows, cutthroat, whitefish, and possibly a bull trout. Focus your attention on the dancing water above the deeper holding water, and if one area is not producing, just move to a different pullout along the road. Nymphing or streamers are a solid bet right now.
South Fork of the Boise
With flows holding steady at just under 300 CFS, this is a great late fall, early winter fishery. The cooler weather, like all our fisheries, has triggered solid Baetis and midge activity. There are a few caddis and crane flies about as well. The fishing window has shortened in the canyon, but while the sun is on the water, the feeding is more intense.
Silver Creek: Beatis | Midge | Mahogany Duns | October Caddis | Hoppers | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Small Pheasant Tails
Big Wood and Warm Springs: Beatis | Midge | Small Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Salmon: Olive, Brown, Black Buggers | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Prince Nymph
South Fork of the Boise: Baetis | Midge | Caddis | Crane Fly | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Perdigons | San Juan Worm | Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone
|Silver Creek||163 cfs|
|Big Wood||261 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||118 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||298 cfs|