This age of hyper-connectivity begets more feelings of anxiety than comfort. If this describes your experience, there is a remedy: take a day. Take an entire day and go fly fishing. Recharge the resources within in the intimate company of a river.
November on the Creek can be outstanding and with the light pressure this time of year you can have your choice of water. The surface activity is brief with the best action in the late afternoons. However, mild, windless days in November can produce intense Baetis hatches. In general, the fish sense that winter is on the doorstep and are eager to eat, so any hatch activity can get the fish active both on the surface and subsurface. If you time it right, finding targets to hunt with dries can be productive. The rest of the time, nymphing with small midge and Baetis nymphs is key. Because of the cold water temps, be sure to layer up. And if you plan to tube, consider using your 5mm neoprene waders. On a side note, the Brown spawning activity has really picked up; it is best just to leave these fish alone and please don’t wade through the redds. Remember, this is the last month to fish the Creek in the Preserve.
The Big Wood
The Wood continues to impress. The fishing remains excellent in the late afternoons even though the Baetis hatch is starting to wane. Look for the fish to be hanging in the slower water as they transition into their winter holds. For bugs, have your usual midge and Baetis dries and nymphs as well as some attractors. A dry dropper rig is deadly for suspending your midge or Baetis nymph at the right depth through the slower water. Keep adjusting the length of your dropper until you find the fish. Streamer fishing or swinging large wets can also be a good producer this time of year.
This is a beautiful time to head over the hill and contemplate the Sawtooth Mountains dusted with snow. The fishing slows down as the river temps drop, but persistent nymph fishermen will still find angling opportunities. Run a double nymph rig through the deeper slow water and pockets during the warmest time of the day and you are sure to find success.
South Fork of the Boise
This river is really one of the premier cold weather fisheries in the state and will provide excellent fishing opportunities from now all the way until March when the river closes. Use caution when driving the road from the rim to the river as it is often a sheet of ice. Studded snow tires, chains, and four-wheel drive vehicles are a must. With the low flows the fish will be concentrated in the best water as will the anglers. It can be crowded on the Southfork, so please respect each other’s space and have fun making new friends. As for bugs, midge will be the dominate insect with a smattering of Baetis on the warmer days. Nymphing with small classic tailwater flies as well as caddis and stoneflies in the slow riffles can also be productive.
The Lost Below Mackay
Before you go, check the weather and the road conditions for Trail Creek Pass. We have had some early season snow and more is in the forecast. If you can’t make it over the pass, it is still worth the trip through Arco and up to Mackay. The river below the dam has recently dropped to around 100 CFS concentrating the fish in the deeper runs and in the riffles at the head of these runs. Expect to find some Baetis and midge hatching in the afternoons. If you find risers, you will need long leaders down to 6x and small flies to match. The most consistent action will come on small beaded midge and Baetis nymphs fished off a dry or small indicator.
Upper Lost Drainage
While quite chilly, there is still a short window of fishing on the upper reaches of the Lost. The fish are concentrated in the slow deep buckets and will feed opportunistically on a well-placed fly.
South Fork of the Boise: 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: Baetis | 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 | Purple Haze | Golden Stone | Pats Rubber Legs | Buggers | Chubby Chernobyl’s | Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | Rainbow Warrior | King Prince Nymph | DB Zebra Midge | Quildigons | Frenchie
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise