It is finally summer time in Sun Valley! From a daily storm pattern we have emerged into 85 degree days and bright sunny skies. Local rivers remain relatively high for this point in the season, but these flows are making a healthy fishery and keeping reservoirs full. We can expect more of the same conditions this week, meaning excellent surface activity in the afternoons and more strong flows as we finish up our clear water runoff.
Big Wood River
The Wood continues to fish better as more water becomes accessible down river. High flows still make wading slightly dangerous and just because you “crossed here last year” at this time, doesn’t mean you can this year. Choose your spots CAREFULLY! Better yet, fish with an experienced guide who can keep you safe and put you over plenty of fish. We can expect at least one more week of clear, but high flows.
Green Drakes and Stoneflies are still the bug of choice, which means we get to keep casting huge dries to hungry fish. Cicadas are everywhere this year and are also a good choice. Basically if you have a huge orange bodied fly and keep moving you can catch a lot of nice fish off the surface. Just remember these big dry flies are “one and done” if the fish doesn’t come get it the first time he sees it, he’s probably not going to come for it. Hence the need to stay on the move. If you encounter fish actively rising to the Green Drake, be sure to have a few different patterns. Start with the big high floaters and eventually show them cripple patterns as they wise up to your offerings.
The Creek is still fishing great. With the warm temperatures and still a few weeks to go before the Creek recharges with higher flows, it will become imperative to handle the fish carefully and to fight and land them quickly. Mornings are still producing decent bug activity with P.M.D. and Baetis flies. Good amounts of big fish are being caught late morning and afternoon using damsel flies. This is normally more of an August occurrence, but nothing about this season has been “normal.” Fish Damsel flies on 4X or 5X depending on what kind of wind chop you may or may not have on the water. It is easy to tell if fish are taking damsels; look for their backs to roll high out of the water and almost always perpendicular to the current flow. Our guides often call this behavior, “sharking”, and it can also be seen during hopper season.
Callibaetis activity is still periodic in the sloughs and falling water levels have made this fishing tougher the last few weeks. The best bet on the Creek may still be the Caddis activity found in the waning hours of daylight, especially on the Creek’s lower reaches. No matter where you fish on the Creek, bring bug spray and your mosquito patterns.
Hopper and Trico season are almost upon us. If you haven’t stocked your fly box with these patterns yet, now is the time. Big hoppers and easy to see Trico patterns, are tough to keep supplied in the shop due to huge demand when these hatches occur, so get your summer’s worth now. We’ll be fishing these flies in the next two weeks.
Little Wood River
Big attractor patterns and small bead head droppers are the best way to ply these desert waters below Carey. If you want some shade try the waters above the Little Wood Reservoir near the Little Wood campground with big dry flies. Keep in mind though, there is a lot of private property in this area, so know where you are before going through gates or over fences.
South Fork of the Boise
This is still a drift boaters dream as it flows along at 1600 cfs and Stonefly and Cicada action is in full swing. If you have a boat or have a friend that does, this is our number one choice for playing hooky for a day! Also known as “Trout Truancy.”
The Lost below Mackay is still moving along as irrigators get their water from the reservoir. Strong wading and fishing skills are mandatory to be successful before the water drops. If you can find some seams and slow water you can nymph out good numbers of fish, but access is still somewhat limited by the strong currents.
Copper Basin and Area Waters
Copper Basin and nearby streams are clear and fishing well with attractor patterns. Cast the same flies you would for the Big Wood and enjoy the high country quiet this area offers. For a nice local challenge try for the Copper Basin Slam and catch a Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brookie and Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat all in the same day. The more the water drops the better this area will fish. We are expecting an exceptional August fishery on these high country streams.
Lake Creek Lake, Dollar and Penny Lake, Warm Springs Creek, the North fork of the Big Wood
These little waters are stocked and ready to fish. Try Parachute Adams and Royal Wulffs in the bigger sizes. Ants, Beetles and Elk Hair Caddis are always great flies on little streams as well.
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 79%
Big Wood – 91%
Little Wood – 115%
Big Lost – 106%
Henry’s Fork – 88%