“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Bad anglers blame their fly. Good anglers, on the other hand, know the value of the right fly at the right time. But great anglers adapt their approach and embrace the variables of each moment, understanding that each success or failure simply prepares them for the next encounter.
If you like cool, and potentially wet, fishing weather, then this is your time! And the Creek can be fantastic during nasty weather; just be sure to dress appropriately, especially if you are tubing. As for bugs, the fall fishing menu includes a diverse array of insect activity, including Baetis, midge, October caddis, and a few mahogany duns. The prime surface feeding window typically spans from mid to late afternoon, lasting until the sun sets and temperatures drop. However, the intensity of the hatch can vary depending on the weather pattern. To outsmart these seasoned trout, it’s advisable to employ a lengthy leader, delicate tippet, and execute drag-free presentations. If the wind picks up, consider switching to terrestrials. Additionally, nymphs and streamers can yield promising results. Don’t forget that while fishing in the Preserve, signing in is mandatory. This can be easily accomplished through your smartphone by scanning the QR code displayed at all access points, sending a text with the word “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682, or by stopping by the visitor center.
Autumn on the Wood presents an ideal opportunity for anglers passionate about tossing dries. You might consider patterns like Red Quills, flying ants, October caddis, or Baetis to entice a take. Focus your efforts on the seams surrounding deep pockets and runs. Trout can be quite opportunistic this time of year, often striking the moment your fly makes contact with the water’s surface. Seldom do they give you a second chance, however. To minimize missed opportunities, consider shortening your casts and prepare to set the hook promptly. Nymphing with small beaded flies remains effective during this season, whether you prefer dry-dropper setups or the Euro style rigs. Also, a streamer meant to imitate a Big Wood Sculpin can be productive.
Warm Springs and Trail Creek
If you like small creeks, then give either of these Big Wood tributaries a go. You will find stocked trout around the bridges; however, if you seek wild fish, just venture away from the easy access points.
The Upper Lost
The water is low and cold, so plan on fishing in the afternoon for the best results. Also, the fish are concentrated in the prime, green holding water. Take along your favorite attractor dry flies and nymphs as well as standard parachute patterns. You can expect to see similar bugs here as you might find on the Big Wood.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows below the dam are hovering around 200 CFS and the water is off color. Now that the reservoir level has dropped to nearly nothing, work on the dam has begun. More than likely the water will remain off color during this process. Nevertheless, the fishing has been fair especially for small trout.
Despite the frigid morning temperatures, the Salmon River is a good option in the afternoon. During the pleasant time of day, you will find consistent action on whitefish and trout. A variety of techniques and flies will work as these fish are not terribly selective.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows have dropped to around 300 CFS and are perfect for wade fishing. On these lovely fall days, the afternoons can be a bug stew with a mix of caddis, crane flies, pinks, flavs, and baetis. This is a very popular fishery, so please be kind to each other and enjoy the great fall fishing!
Lake Creek Pond, Penny Lake, and Gaver’s Lagoon are a nice place for a fall family picnic and the chance to catch a few remaining stocked trout.
Silver Creek: Beatis | Mahogany Duns | October Caddis | Hoppers | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Small Pheasant Tails
Big Wood and Warm Springs: Red Quills | Caddis | Crane Flies | Hoppers | Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Chubby Chernobyl
Salmon: Flying Ants| Hoppers | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Prince Nymph
South Fork of the Boise: Pink Alberts | Caddis | Crane Fly | Hoppers | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Perdigons | San Juan Worm | Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone
|Silver Creek||178 cfs|
|Big Wood||272 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||200 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||303 cfs|