“Streams and mountains never stay the same.” ~Gary Snyder
While there is a comfortable familiarity to the ritual of fly fishing, it is the unpredictable nature of the sport that brings anglers back. At the heart of this uncertainty is the everchanging river and its inhabitants, the trout. The Wood is a prime example. From fires to floods over the last few years, the Wood has undergone incredible transformations and the wild rainbows are stronger than ever. As Robert Frost declared, “Nothing gold can stay,” so get out and enjoy the moment…for streams, trout, and anglers never stay the same.
The Creek is up to its usual unpredictable behavior. While a few Tricos have been spotted on the Creek, we await the more consistent early morning Trico Hatch. Depending on the day, you may find Baetis, PMDs, Callibaetis, or Trico Duns or you may find none of the above. If some bugs are about and fish are feeding, observe the trout behavior to give you clues as to which insect they are feeding on. The right fly, well presented, will be taken. During the low hatch activity you can always manufacture fish with nymphs or terrestrials such as beetles and ants. Damsels and Callibaetis are also present during the heat of the day in the Pond and Slough areas.
Since late June, the Wood has been experiencing one the best Green Drake hatches in years. This will be the last week we will see the Green Drakes on the river, so if you go in search of the few remaining Drakes, have a good supply of nymphs, cripples, and duns and start looking about the upper reaches of the river from midday into the late afternoon. For the rest of the river, there are still good bugs to be found. Grey Drakes, Yellow Stones, PMDs, Pink Alberts and an assortment of Caddis can be seen fluttering about. In the morning, nymphing with an indicator and a combination of a large nymph with a small nymph trailing behind is a good option. Try a large King Prince, Rubber Leg Stone, Flash Back Pheasant Tail trailed by a Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’s Dynamite. Switch to dries as the day heats up. Search for fish in the margins with a size 14 or 16 Purple Haze, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or a Yellow Sally. These are great patterns to use in tandem with a trailing nymph. In the evenings, Caddis are the main course and you will need an assortment of Elk Hair Caddis and Trailing Shuck Caddis in size 14 through 18. One final note: wading on the Wood is still difficult in many places, so please use caution.
Upper Big Lost
This area is starting to fish, but flows are still very high. Still, the rivers are getting easier to wade every day and more and more water is opening up to fisherman. If you go, be prepared to cover a lot of water and try different techniques to be successful. Take your favorite attractor drys, like Stimulators and Royal Wulffs and an assortment of nymphs and have some fun searching the water. Also have some smaller drys, like Parachute PMDs and Purple Hazes in size 16 and 18 to fool the tougher fish.
The Lost Below Mackay
Below Mackay, the flows are still above 550 CFS. Keep your eye on the Idaho River Flows page (use the link on our website) and wait for it to drop to more fishable levels at around 350 CFS.
The fishing remains excellent for cutthroat, rainbows, bull trout and whitefish by boat and by foot. Now is the perfect time to experience this wonderful fishery. If you go, take an assortment of Stimulators and other attractor drys in size 10 to 14. These fish also love standard beaded nymphs, especially the whitefish, in size 16 to 12 and large Stone Fly Nymphs.
South Fork of the Boise
This is typically the time the big Pteronarsus hit the upper river and with this warm weather, I expect it to be go time. The flows are holding steady just below 1600 CFS which is a good level for floating. If you go, have an assortment of heavy rubber legged stone fly nymphs for the riffles and some big foamy Salmon Fly drys and Cicadas for working the banks. There are some Pink Alberts during the day as well and in the evening be sure to have plenty of Caddis. Streamers might pick up a big Bull Trout as well.
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 getting lower, but it is still worth the trip. There are some beautiful wild fish and plenty of stocked trout as well. Most of the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and with a bit of exploration they should be easily found. However, these fish have been a bit pressured lately, so you might need to drop down in fly size if the fish are refusing you larger dries. A dry dropper rig is also very effective for searching the water. Go with a high-vis dry followed by a Beaded Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop ‘s Dynamite in size 16 or 18.
Silver Creek Flies: PMDs 16 | Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Damsel Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18
Big Wood, Warm Springs, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Green Drakes 12 | Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Rubber Legged Stones | Caddis Larva | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: 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