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“Beginners often believe the myth of patience. The best anglers I know are somewhat impatient. If they aren’t catching fish, they try something different.” ~John Barsness

There is a difference between an angler who simply wishes a fish will take with each cast and one who is constantly tweaking and rethinking each presentation until one does. One approach requires patience in the angler and may lead to boredom, while the other requires creativity and the angler may lose track of time.

Silver Creek

There is only a month left to fish Silver Creek above Highway 20.  Expect late afternoon Baetis and midge hatches to continue with a few Mahogany Duns. The hatch window is short, but the fish should be feeding with intensity when the bugs are on the water.  If there is no apparent surface feeding, try a dry dropper rig with a small beaded olive, brown, or black nymph or midge in size 16-20 and drift it through likely runs.

Big Wood 

The fishing has been good during the pleasant time of day. There is still a decent Fall 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 are beginning to transition 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 tail outs. A patient angler will find surface feeding fish during the prime time; however, the most productive method is still nymphing.
Upper Big Lost

Trail Creek Pass is still open and should remain so for the next several weeks; however, once the snow falls the pass will close. The fishing on the upper Lost is slow, except for a very short period 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. Try Zebra midge or other small and thin patterns in red or black size 18-20 hung beneath a dry fly and search the water.

The Lost Below Mackay

Baetis and midge are still hatching in the beginning in the early afternoon. The flows are holding at 200 CFS with no sign of dropping. Nymphing remains by far the most productive. Try fishing a dry dropper rig or Euro Nymphing with small Baetis style nymphs (18-22) or Zebra Midge in olive, black, or red. Flies with dull colored beads or no bead at all work best.

The Salmon

The 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 quite comfortable. Fishing the dancing water during the pleasant time of day will produce good numbers of whitefish and trout. Try nymphing with small rubber legged stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, Rainbow Warriors, or any other beaded size 14 or 16 nymph or swinging Woolly Buggers.

South Fork of the Boise

The South Fork flows are stable at around 300 CFS. It has been a mild fall to date making for good afternoon hatches, but cooler weather is in the forecast. Depending on where you are, you might find a mix of Baetis and midge hatching. If you want to use dries, look for feeding fish in the seams and tailouts. Nymphing with a combination of stoneflies or caddis larva along with a small mayfly or midge pattern will keep your rod bent on whitefish and the occasional trout.

Silver Creek Flies: Harrop’s Baetis | Mahogany Duns 1 | Hoppers, Beetles, Ants | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pheasant Tails | Baetis Nymphs

Big Wood, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Harrop’s Baetis | Rubber Legged Stones | Iron Lotus | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince | Streamers

South Fork of the Boise Flies: Baetis | Adult Midge | Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers

Silver Creek

Big Wood

Upper Big Lost

The Big Lost


South Fork of the Boise

102 cfs

202 cfs

108 cfs

221 cfs

547 cfs

304 cfs