“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”
― Kenichi Ohmae
The same principle applies to fishing. Slow down. Reassess. Try different flies. Exercise stealth. Make fewer casts. If you fish smarter, you will catch more fish.
The Big Wood
Despite the low flows, the Wood continues to fish well. Hecubas, the last big bug of the season, continue to hatch mid-valley on up to Lake Creek. Even if you are not seeing any around, the fish may key on them. Baetis are the main bug and should keep the fish occupied most of the day. You may also see a small ginger-colored crane fly skittering across the surface. Some flying ants have been seen and any size 16 ant pattern will do. Of course, nymphing remains outstanding. The best method is to fish a high floating dry with a small Baetis nymph or Zebra midge trailing behind. Two more bits of advice…with the cool mornings, the fishing has really been best from around noon till the sun leaves the water. And keep in mind, the fish are beginning to concentrate in and around the deepest runs.
If you head to the Nature Conservancy or Kilpatrick’s Pond, expect to find the usual array of fall bugs. In the late morning Tricos mixed with Baetis still persist. Afternoons are a mix of Baetis and Callibaetis along with the occasional Mahogany Dun. You may even see a few October Caddis skittering about. Terrestrials are always a good bet when the wind blows, but the fish are getting weary of hoppers. Ants and beetles have been more consistent. Also, small Baetis nymphs and Zebra midge are producing fish when all else fails. This is a good time to start looking for big browns moving about in the early stages of the fall spawn. You will often find these monsters holding in shallow water with gravel bottoms. Aggressive browns are suckers for a well-placed streamer. Streamers always get some kind of response from fish…either they will spook or chase on the first cast. Of course, If you find the browns on redds, leave them alone. 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 water in this part of the Lost is low and cold, so focus your attention on the main stem of the Upper Lost from the North Fork confluence and down and plan on fishing from about noon on till the sun leaves the water. Since the river is low, the fish are concentrated in the best holding water. Don’t expect to see too many bugs and be prepared to cover a lot of ground to find fish.
The Big Lost Lower
This is a great fall fishing option if you are willing to make the hour plus drive over Trail Creek Pass. Flows are at 230 CFS and they may drop even more over the next week. As the morning air loses its chill, there will be some Tricos and good numbers of Baetis through the middle of the day. Look for heads in the seams and in the slow tailouts. The big fish usually group together during these feeding times, so be on the lookout. When the bugs are gone, be prepared to nymph.
The Salmon is cold, low, and still fishing well. This is a great place to spend an afternoon fishing. There are plenty of pull-offs to explore this stunning river.
Southfork of the Boise
The flows have dropped to around 300 CFS and is perfect for wade fishing. As always, look for Pinks and Flavs along with fall Baetis during the comfortable times of the day. Also expect to see crane flies skittering about followed by a vicious take. If you find no bugs about, you might try a hopper as well. Nymphing is also going to be productive with the usual suspects.
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