“Fishing should be a ceremony that reaffirms our place in the natural world and helps us resist further estrangement from our origins.” ~Thomas McGuane
The fall foliage peaks over the next few weeks and the spectacular fall scenery coincides with spectacular fall fishing. Autumnal days rouse the angler’s soul. Allow the ritual of fishing to help you cast your worries aside and reaffirm your place in the natural world while wading the waters of the Wood River Valley and beyond..
It is time to start looking for Mahogany Duns as well as good numbers of Fall Baetis. The fishing has been fair from mid-morning right on through the early afternoon. Remember, the Fall Baetis are a tad bigger than their summer counterparts, so go with size 18 and 20 Harrop’s Baetis parachutes and emergers. When you see Mahogany Duns (size 16), typically the fish will target them. When the wind blows, hoppers, ants, and beetles will bring fish to the surface. Also, look for October Caddis skittering across the surface followed by aggressive takes. Be aware, the browns are beginning to get feisty and we will begin to see fish on redds over the next several weeks. This is the time to take advantage of their aggressive behavior, and swing Mortgage Makers or Double Bunny streamers in front of their noses.
Hecuba, the last big bug of the season, has been spotted up and down the river. Even if you are not seeing any around, the fish are looking for them. Baetis (size 20) are also very strong and should keep the fish occupied most of the day. To imitate this fly you can use any size 18 or 20 parachute or hackled pattern. Also look for a small ginger colored Crane Fly to be skittering across the surface. An Elk Hair Caddis brushed with Frogs Fanny imitates this bug with good results. Cast it down and across on a long leader and with an elevated rod tip and skate it across the surface. Nymphing remains outstanding; the best method is to fish a high floating dry, like an Parachute Ant, a hopper or a Hecuba, with a small Baetis nymph or Zebra midge (size 18) trialing behind. Whether you are dry fly fishing, dry dropper, or straight line nymphing, a Tenkara rod can do them all…and the extra length of these rods really makes presentation a breeze. The Wood and Tenkara are a perfect match! Two more tips for successful fall fishing…with the cool mornings, the fishing has really been best from around noon till the sun leaves the water. And keep in mind, the fish are spread out in every type of water with the biggest fish in the shallow riffles and tail-outs.
Upper Big Lost
If you are fishing the Upper Lost, there is no need to get up early. With the cooler temps, the fishing is best in the afternoon. While you will find some fish in the upper reaches like the East and West Fork, you are better off searching the main stem below the North Fork. You can hole hop or hike, but either way you are going to find some fish if you stay mobile. In the afternoon, you can expect to find Red Quills and a smattering of other may flies. Ants and hoppers are also good afternoon offerings.
The Lost Below Mackay
The Lost has been consistently good and should remain so as the Fall Baetis hatch picks up steam. The flows are around 280 CFS and nymphing has been fantastic from mid-morning into the late afternoon. If you do see fish on the surface, use size 18 or 20 Harrop’s Baetis parachutes or olive Gulper Specials with the high via post. For the rest of the time, dry dropper rigs and Euro Nymphing have been the most effective techniques. For nymphs try small pheasant tails or other Baetis imitations. Attractor nymphs like Bishop’s Dynamite and Rainbow Warriors are also producing fish.
The mornings have been cold lately, but the afternoon fishing has still been good. If you go, try a variety of attractor dry flies like Royal Wulff’s, Parachute Adams, Chubby Chernobyls, or orange Stimulators. Also size 12 tan Elk Hair Caddis works well to imitate the occasional October Caddis. Swinging beaded Woolly Buggers in olive or black also turn fish. Nymphing with standard beaded nymphs, like Princes and Pheasant Tails, is always a good idea.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows have dropped to around 333 CFS, just right for wade fisherman. As always, look for Pinks and Flavs along with fall Baetis during the comfortable times of the day. Also expect to see crane flies skittering about followed by a vicious take. The caddis in the evenings have remained quite strong. If you find no bugs about, you might try a hopper as well. Nymphing is also going to be productive..
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!
Silver Creek Flies: Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Mahogany Duns 16 | Hoppers, Beetles, Ants | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18 | Baetis Nymphs
Big Wood, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Grasshoppers | Rusty Spinners | Red Quills (hecuba) | Elk Hair Caddis | Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Parachute Adams | Rubber Legged Stones |Iron Lotus | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: Pink Alberts | Flavs | 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