“The music of angling is more compelling to me than anything contrived in the greatest symphony hall.” ~A.J. Mclane
As we move into August, the best fishing is during the most pleasant times of day, and with day time highs in the 80s to 90s, the pleasant times have shifted to the morning and evenings. Along with the shift in the best fishing times, the bugs tend to shrink this time of year. Early on the Creek for example, you can hear the low hum of thousands of tiny wings as the diminutive Tricos take to the air. This is not to say the fish won’t eat a big meal; a loud, whooshing rise is the sign that a damsel has just been taken. Also, hoppers are clicking all over the valley, a good option when fishing during the heat of the day. So, while the Sun Valley Symphony season begins at the end of this week, a true Sun Valley summer tradition, another tradition is to take to the stream and listen to the music of the river.
The Trico hatch seems to have spread throughout the entire system from the walk and wade stretch, down through the float tube only waters on the Nature Conservancy and into Lower Kilpatrick Pond. Still it remains inconsistent with some days stronger than others depending on the wind and air temps. On the calm, windless days, expect to see the Ticos on the water when the air temps get between 60 and 70 degrees. As usual, you need to be prepared with a slew of bugs to match the bug stew down on the Creek. In the morning, you might want to start with a Harrop’s Callibaetis spinner or Trico Dun. As the morning progresses, Harrop’s Baetis Spinners as well as PMD spinners and Duns might take fish. Once the Trico spinner fall begins, switch to a Harrop’s Trico Spinner. As the Tricos dissipate you may need to work back through the progression of flies mentioned above to stay on fish. Close observation of the fish and the bugs will help you decide which pattern to use. Of course, remember to fish down or down and across with a long leader to 6X on a slack line cast. These fish are very particular this time of year. When the morning activity subsides and you still want to find fish, look for the Blue Damsels to take the stage as well as Callibaetis Duns and Spinners. Of course, beetles, ants, and hoppers are also good midday. In the evening, Caddis and PMDs, both 16 and 18 can be abundant. Keep in mind, with the onset of the Trico hatch, the number of anglers increase as well, especially in the Preserve. Please use common sense and courtesy when fishing around other anglers.
The water on the Wood is in perfect condition and the air and water temps are perfect for wet wading. SIMMS Guard Sock is a perfect complement to your wading boots when not wearing your waders. Don’t be fooled however, crossing certain areas can still be difficult, so be sure to wade with a partner or use a wading staff. The surface and subsurface action is good from morning into the early afternoon, but it will slow down during the hottest part of the day until the evening caddis action. Depending on where you are on the river, you will see some Pink Alberts, Western Quills, Yellow Sallies, Crane Flies, Tricos and/ or Baetis. If you find surface feeders, try smaller size 14 or 16 parachute patterns like Purple Haze, Parachute Hare’s Ear, or Gulper Specials in olive or tan. You may need to match the hatch more closely as well with some of your Silver Creek patterns on the more selective trout. As for the large attractor dries that worked so well earlier in the month, they might turn fish but often get a short strike. Still a dry dropper set up can be deadly. Try a red or black Zebra Midge, a beaded pheasant tail, a Rainbow Warrior, Frenchie, Iron Lotus, or a Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 or 18 trailed behind a high floating dry. Straight up nymphing with an indicator or European style can be very effective this time of year as well.
Upper Big Lost
Anglers who are willing to walk long distances between fishable water will be successful. Take your favorite attractor dry flies, like yellow and orange Stimulators and Royal Wulffs and an assortment of nymphs and have some fun searching the water. Also have some smaller dry flies, like Parachute PMDs and Purple Haze in size 16 and 18 to fool the tougher fish.
The Lost Below Mackay
Below Mackay, the flows are around 400 CFS. While more ideal flows for wading are around 350, if you are a strong wader, it might be time to consider this fishery. At high flows nymphing is the better option; however, you will find some surface activity in the slower stretches. There are good numbers of yellow sallies and PMDs, even a few Tricos.
The water levels are perfect for floating the lower Salmon. If you don’t have a drift boat, hole hopping with your car is good way to go both below and above the town of Stanley. For flies, have a good supply of tan and olive bodied Caddis and yellow and orange Stimulators in size 12 and 14. Fishing dry dropper style with size 14-16 bead head nymphs is quite productive. If you are looking for an alternative to the Salmon, Valley, Marsh, and Bear Valley Creeks are all fishing well.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows are holding steady at 1600 CFS which is a good level for floating, but some wade fishing opportunities can be found. You may still find some success with big foamy stones pounding the banks, but you may be more successful parking the boat and working the riffles and back channels with small tail water nymphs like WD40s or RS2s, caddis larva, or rubber leg stones. There are some Pink Alberts, size 16, during the day as well and in the evening be sure to have plenty of Caddis drys and emergers in size 16 and 18.
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!
This water is really starting to get skinny, but this is still a good option if you enjoy fishing a small creek very close to town. The river has been recently stocked around the bridges and some select camp sites and there is a good population of wild trout. When the water gets lower, the fish get more difficult to catch. Be stealthy in your approach and size down your tippet and flies and you will be successful.
Silver Creek Flies: PMDs 16 | Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Damsel Adults and 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