“Something to think about: If you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough, it will sooner or later become the right fly.”
― John Gierach
Here is something else to think about: If you are fishing in the right spot, at the right time, with the proper tackle, technique, and presentation, then maybe you have the wrong fly. Change it. Then again, if your partner is fishing the same fly and catching fish and you are not, you may need to reassess your presentation. The bottom line: any fly fished long and hard enough will sooner or later end up in a tree.
The Big Wood
The water temps have dropped significantly on the Wood now that the morning air temperatures are consistently in the 30s. This means the best fishing times have shifted to the late morning and into the afternoon. Perfect for a leisurely start to the day. While the water is extremely low, the fish are still spread out from the fast, shallow riffles to the slow tailouts. A variety of dry flies will turn fish, but small sizes (16 and 18) are your best bet for a positive hookup. Red Quills are also beginning to hatch on the lower river. If you see these fluttering about, you may find fish taking larger dries in size 14 or 12. Nymphing dry dropper or Euro Style can also be productive. No matter your technique, anglers who employ stealthy stand the best chance at finding and catching fish on the Wood at these water levels.
The morning angling on the Creek is also slowing down. However, on unseasonably warm days you may still find a few Tricos mixed with some Baetis in the late morning. On cloudy days (forecasted towards the end of the week) expect strong Baetis hatches. Of course, strong afternoon Callibaetis hatches are going to be a factor in the pond and sloughs. A true sign that fall is upon us, Mahogany Duns have been spotted throughout the Creek and should continue to gain momentum, especially on cooler days. On windy days, a hopper or an ant pattern patiently fished through likely runs remain a great option. On a side note, if you plan to float in the pond, be prepared for the cold and wear an extra layer under your waders. 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 high country is quite cool in the morning so no need to go early. When you do get over the pass, the best action is happening on the main stem of the Upper Lost from the North Fork confluence and down. The river is low, and the fish are in the best holding water. Look for the green water with lots of structure. You can expect decent numbers of small wild fish and the occasional larger trout. Late season fish may only allow one legitimate chance…so make your first cast count.
The Big Lost Lower
The flows are around 300 and may continue to drop even more. Tricos and Baetis are still hatching, but the cooler temperatures have moved the bug activity to the late morning through the middle of the day. When the bugs are gone, be prepared to nymph. Of late, the fish are harder to hook, which may be because of the pressure they are under from anglers. The key to success on these fish is contact with your flies. European Nymphing techniques will increase your catch rate dramatically.
With the lower than average flows, the wade fishing has been fantastic. There are plenty of places to park along the river both above and below the town of Stanley. No need to go too early, as the air temps in the Stanley Basin have been quite cool in the morning. But the late morning, afternoon fishing has been fantastic with a variety of techniques and flies.
Southfork of the Boise
The flows have come down to a very wadable 600 CFS. The flotilla of drift boats is gone, and wade fisherman now rule the waterway. Look for Pinks and Flavs along with fall Baetis to be the main course. Also, crane flies will be seen skittering about along with a few caddis.
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: Red Quills | Caddis | Baetis | Chubby Chernobyl | 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
Big Lost: Tricos | Baetis | Crane Flies | Chubby Chernobyl | 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
Salmon: Spruce Moth | Chubby Chernobyl | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince
South Fork of the Boise: Chubby Chernobyl | 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: Hoppers | Ants | Callibaetis | Baetis | Tricos | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Stillwater Flies: Seal Buggars | Balanced Leeches | Bouface Leech | Snowcone Chironomids | Egg Patterns | Prince Nymph | Squirmy Worms
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise