“Fly-fishing is solitary, contemplative, misanthropic, scientific in some hands, poetic in others, and laced with conflicting aesthetic considerations. It’s not even clear if catching fish is actually the point.” ~John Gierach
What is fly fishing to you? The next time you are waist deep in a river, take a second and reflect. Contemplate your aesthetic considerations. Think about the experiences and people that brought you to this place, your journey to this moment. Now, be truly present. Let the river mingle with your senses and let instinct dictate action. It is during these “spots of time” (as Norman Maclean calls them) that the importance of catching a fish is overshadowed by the pursuit. This August, pursue your reasons.
The morning hatches on the Creek remain unpredictable. Most days, the early morning activity begins with the appearance of Trico Duns as well as some Callibaetis Spinners. As the morning progresses, Baetis Spinners might make an appearance followed by the Trico Spinner fall. At the tail end of the spinner fall, a few PMD Spinners and Duns might show up. As you witness these different bugs, observe the fish and their feeding behavior to determine which bug to use when. The shop has a great selection of spring creek flies from the House of Harrop’s to match all these bugs. Keep in mind, as the Trico hatch progresses, the fish get even more selective. You will need to use 6X or 6.5X and long 12 to 15 foot leaders to make sure you get good drag free presentations. Also, the Tricos tend to shrink as the hatch progresses, so use even smaller patterns to match. If you are having trouble seeing your fly, try using a larger fly with the diminutive Trico trailing off the back. When the morning activity is done, switch to Callibaetis, damsels, hoppers, beetles and ants. The evening hatch is less frenzied, but you can typically find fish feeding on the myriad of caddis and PMDs both large and small.
As we enter August, look for the Wood to continue to fish well in the early mornings into the early afternoon and in the evenings with the hottest part of the day being the least productive. This time of year, the fish tend to seek the oxygen in the shallow, aerated riffles as well as the abundant food supply these riffles provide. Please remember as the flows decrease and the water temps increase that these fish need to be released as quickly as possible. I recommend using a Ketchum Release tool. They are simple to use, and they are good for the fish and don’t damage your fly like hemostats do. As for bugs, in the mornings and evenings expect to find a variety of caddis with micro-caddis be the most prevalent. Some Tricos are being seen in the lower river and this hatch should gain momentum and move up river as the month progresses. We are also seeing a few Pink Alberts, Western Quills, PMDs, Crane Flies and Yellow Sallies. For flies, use size 16 parachute patterns in a variety of colors to match whatever bugs are about. Hoppers are working well as the day heats up. Nymphing with a dry dropper rig or European style is very effective as well. For nymphs try small Zebra Midge, Beaded Pheasant Tails, or Bishop’s Dynamite.
Upper Big Lost
While the East and North Forks of the Lost are still producing some fish, the best fishing has moved down stream to the main stem of the Upper Lost. There are numerous access points along the river from the East Fork and North Fork confluence down and if at first you do not find fish be persistent and cover a lot of water. While attractor dry flies, like yellow and orange Stimulators and Royal Wulffs will turn fish, it is best to have some smaller patterns, like Parachute PMDs and Purple Haze in size 16 and 18 to fool the tougher fish. Nymphing with standard beaded nymphs will also work on the fish that refuse a dry and they will get you into the Whitefish.
The Lost Below Mackay
Below Mackay, the flows are about 350 CFS and continuing to drop. If you go, please wade with caution and avoid walking on private land. While you may find pockets of surface feeding fish, at this flow it will mainly be a nymphing game. Try a large Rubber Leg Stone, a San Juan Worm, or a Beaded Prince Nymph trailed by something smaller like a Rainbow Warrior, a Bishop’s Dynamite, a Zebra Midge or any other beaded nymph in size 14 to 18. You might also try skating a Crane Fly. We have a great selection of Mackay Specials just for this purpose.
The lower Salmon continues to fish well for floating and the upper is perfect for walk and wade fishing. There has been a smattering of mayflies which seem to be keeping the fish interested on the surface. Also we are on the verge of the Spruce Moth making an appearance which really gets the fish, especially the larger fish, going again. If you go, take some tan Caddis or other Spruce Moth patterns as well as an assortment of Parachute patterns in grey, tan and purple in size 14 and 12. These fish also love standard beaded nymphs like pheasant tails, prince nymphs, stone fly nymphs, and hare’s ear nymphs, especially the whitefish, in size 16 to 10.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows are still right at 1600 CFS, which is a perfect floating level. Still, you are better off parking the drift boat and working the islands and riffles with small caddis, Pink Alberts, Yellow Sallies, small hoppers, crane flies, or small nymphs and caddis larva. During the day the fishing has been spotty, but the evening fishing on the South Fork has been spectacular during the prolific caddis hatches.
Gavers Lagoon, Penny, and Lake Creek ponds have been stocked and would make a great location for a family picnic. Come on by the shop for all your family fishing needs!
Warm Springs is perfect for anglers seeking a small creek with a lot of variety. You can find open meadows with riffles and runs or tight, tree lined pocket water. In August the water is low, so anglers will need to practice stealth in approach and presentation, but some quality fish can be found. Fish and Game also stocks around the bridges for those anglers who like to get a fish for supper.
Silver Creek Flies: Tricos 22, 24 | PMDs 16 | Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Hoppers | Damsel Adults and Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18 | Baetis Nymphs
Big Wood, Warm Springs, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Purple Haze | Spruce Moth | Elk Hair Caddis | Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Parachute Adams | Pink Alberts | Rubber Legged Stones |Iron Lotus | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: Pink Alberts | Caddis | Hoppers | Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers
Upper Big Lost
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise