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Image Credit: Bob Knoebel

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year nears its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”

– Henry David Thoreau

As seasons collide, we stand on the precipice of winter. Anglers, don’t waste a moment of autumnal sun. Heed the call; the rivers beckon.

Silver Creek
The Creek should continue to fish well in the late afternoon, especially on milder days. Expect decent numbers of Baetis in the late afternoon which should get most of the fish feeding. To match this hatch, have a good selection of duns, cripples, and spinners in sizes 18-20 to guarantee success on selective feeders. Prior to and right after the hatch, nymphing dry dropper style with small nymphs can be effective. Streamer fishing is also a good bet. A few October caddis are fluttering about in the pond as well. You may see a few Mahogany duns, but this hatch has run its course for the year. As always, beware of spawning browns and avoid treading on the redds. Keep in mind, the upper reach of Silver Creek through the Nature Conservancy section to the Kilpatrick Bridge closes the end of this month.

Big Wood
After the heavy rain and snow, the river bumped up quite a bit, but is already dropping. The fishing remains best between 11 and 3. There is a decent baetis hatch starting around noon and plenty of midge activity as well. The fish are feeding aggressively during this short window. With the colder temperatures, the fish have transitioned into their winter holding water, so don’t expect to find fish spread out in the fast, shallow riffles; instead, focus your attention on the deeper water, seams, and tailouts. A patient angler will find surface feeding fish during the prime time; however, the most productive method is still nymphing. Try a dry dropper or a Euro style rig. The biggest challenge now is keeping the falling leaves off your fly.

Lower Lost
The flows continue to be extremely low at around 50 CFS. This concentrates the fish in and around the deeper buckets. Also, the fish are extremely spooky. If you go, expect to see a few midges with good numbers of baetis in the afternoon.

Upper Lost River
Trail Creek Pass is still open, but usually closes in November. The fishing on the upper Lost is slow, except for a very short window in the late afternoon. Fish can still be taken on terrestrials as well as smaller dries like caddis or baetis, but nymphing is the most productive.

The Salmon
Like the Wood, the Salmon saw a nice bump in flows, but is quickly dropping. The morning temps can easily start in the teens and hover right around freezing this time of year in the Stanley Basin. However, there is still the potential for day time temps to be well above freezing. Either way, fishing the slow holding water and riffles around the buckets during the pleasant time of day will produce good numbers of whitefish and trout.

South Fork of the Boise
When heading to the South Fork during the late fall and winter months be sure to have chains and a four-wheel drive. The canyon road can be treacherous. The fish are active during the pleasant time of day in the and around runs where you can find structure. Try size 18 caddis as well as baetis patterns in size 18-24. Of course, nymphing Euro Style or dry dropper is very productive when you see no feeding fish.

Local Ponds
The local ponds have a few stocked fish left and may be worth a look.

Silver Creek flies: Harrop’s Baetis duns and spinners | Mahogany Duns | October Caddis | Hoppers | Beetles | Ants | Zebra Midge | Quilldigon

Big Wood flies: Baetis | EZ Caddis | Bullet French Nymph | Roza Perdigons | Sexy Walts | Quilldigon | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive

Big Lost flies: Baetis | EZ Caddis | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Tasmanian Devil | Roza Perdigon | Lite Brite Perdigons | Roza WW Pheasant Tail | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive

Salmon River flies: Chubby Chernobyl | October Caddies | Tasmanian Devil | Roza WW Pheasant Tail | Bishop’s Dynamite | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs

South Fork of the Boise flies: Caddis | Pinks | Crane Flies | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive



Silver Creek 112 cfs
Big Wood 202 cfs
The Big Lost 48.5 cfs
Salmon River 1330 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 299 cfs