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Photo: Chris Blesius

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”

– Samuel Butler

While wild flowers and leaves fade from view, the fruits of wet seasons past, ripe and true. With the swish of a fly cast above the stream, and a trout holding fast in the golden gleam, autumn’s bounty is now an angler’s dream.

Silver Creek

Autumn’s presence is unmistakable on the Creek. Large brown trout are beginning to move in anticipation of the spawning season and are turning pumpkin orange. For bugs, anticipate primarily Baetis, accompanied by occasional mahogany duns, Calibaetis, October caddis, and midges. The period for surface feeding is relatively brief, spanning from mid to late afternoon, lasting until the sun dips and temperatures drop. The hatch’s intensity can vary from sporadic to prolific, depending on the day and your location. When the wind comes into play, it’s wise to adapt your strategy by shortening your leader and using stout tippet material along with your favorite terrestrial. Additionally, nymphs and streamers can also prove highly effective during this time of year. Remember, while fishing in the Preserve, you are required to sign in. This can be done via your phone with the QR code posted at all access points, by texting “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682, or by simply dropping into the visitor center.

Big Wood

The Wood is an excellent choice this time of year. The cottonwood leaves adorn the scenery with vibrant autumnal hues, and you’ll find beautiful, wild trout eager to take your fly. The insect activity typically peaks between noon and three depending on the day. To maximize your success, focus on targeting fish in several key areas, including tail outs, seams along the edges of fast-moving water, and gently flowing sections. During the prime fishing hours, use a long leader and present a small Baetis or caddis pattern. In cases where no risers are visible, consider covering the water with a Hecuba (Red Quill), along with a small nymph trailing behind.

Warm Springs and Trail Creek

These rivers are very small this time of year and can be a good challenge for those who are willing to crawl to catch spooky fish in crystal clear water.

The Upper Lost

The Upper Lost river runs chilly this time of year; yet, as the day progresses and warms, the insect activity increases and the trout begin to feed. If you choose to venture here, consider heading out in the early afternoon and begin exploring your favorite stretch of the river. This area is perfect for immersing yourself in stunning autumn landscapes while enjoying some solitude while fishing.

The Lost Below Mackay

The flows below the dam are hovering around 280 CFS but water is off color. Now that the reservoir level has dropped, work on the dam has begun. More than likely the water will remain turbid during this process.

The Salmon

Even with morning temperatures dipping below freezing, the Salmon River remains a reliable spot for whitefish, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. Nymphing tends to yield the best catch rates, though trout will also be enticed by a well-presented streamer or dry. While walk and wade fishing is great this time of year, the higher than average flows have made floating a viable option as well.

South Fork of the Boise

With the flows maintaining a steady 300 CFS, wading remains the preferred choice. Seek out Baetis and midge hatches during the more temperate parts of the day. Additionally, keep an eye out for caddis, crane flies, and some flavs.

Local Ponds

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: Callibeatis | Tricos | 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 190 cfs
Big Wood 311 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 225 cfs
Salmon 601 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 298 cfs