Fly fishers are stereotypically patient and early June, with its high water, is a test of an angler’s patience. To those anglers waiting, I say this: It will not be long now. The weather has been relatively cool this spring making run off slow and steady. As an example of this, look at the flows on the Wood since the middle of May; they have bounced between 800 and 900 CFS according to the USGS water gauge in Hailey, ID for nearly a month, only peaking at 1400 CFS once during a hot snap. Really, this is an ideal scenario. The steady high flows have helped scour the silt deposited after last Fall’s fires and the lack of rain has not contributed to more silt accumulation. I believe we are on the down side of runoff; the water is coming down and while it still has color, I can see the bottom of the river when standing on the Hulen Meadows Bridge North of town. While it is hard to make a day of it, fish can be found in some side channels for those anglers who can’t wait and of course Silver Creek is fishing really well. In the meanwhile, don’t forget Father’s Day is June 15th and the best thing to get the Dad who has everything is something to do with his passion, fly fishing. Here is my wish list in case my kids see this report: a Yeti cooler, a Titan Rod Vault, an Tenkara USA Iwana rod, SIMMS G3 Waders and the new SIMMS Vapor Boot.
The Brown Drakes and the caravansary that comes with it are mostly gone, but a few bugs can still be found down around the Willows and the Point of Rocks. Still, the Creek remains the best option for anglers looking to fish moving water that will not sweep you away. The Hatch activity is best mid-morning till noon and then again in the early evening till dark. Expect Baetis and midge to be the mainstay with a smattering of PMDs and Callibaetis in the mix during the mid morning action. For flies, check out our full collection of House of Harrop spring creek flies; they are simply the best. When the hatch wanes, try terrestrials; Crowe beetles and Foam ants work well in the shallows when the wind picks up. Swinging damsel nymphs or soft hackles down and across will pick up fish and a dry dropper rig will produce a lot of fish during slow periods as well. For a nymph try a small Zebra Midge in red, green or black or a beaded Baetis or Callibaetis nymph. In the evenings you can expect to find small, dark Caddis and small PMDs on the water.
THE BIG LOST
The flows below Mackay Reservoir are too dangerous to wade. It may not be until the end of July into August before we can venture into this fishery. However, the Upper Lost has started to drop and clear. While the main stem of the river, below the confluence of the North Fork, is still too high, we may be able to fish way up high on the East Fork above Wildhorse Creek up into the Copper Basin proper within the week. This would certainly warrant a scouting mission. Take a lunch and expect to see some spectacular wildflowers.
The Wood is beginning to look good North of town. But don’t be fooled, this river is not ready to wade. You can poke around the side channels and bank fish certain buckets, but do so with caution. Some adventurous anglers have been finding fish in the side channels south of town as well. Still, the river below Warm Springs has color from all the soot that infiltrated the river, but it has turned green rather than the almost black from earlier in the runoff cycle. If you do want to wet a line, large Rubber Legged Stones, beaded Flashback Pheasant Tails, or Hares Ears are the ticket. Just don’t expect much yet.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are going to come up soon. Anderson looks nearly full and flows below Lucky Peak are starting to increase. This has got to be a sign. I had it on good authority that the flows were coming up on the 9th; well, that came and went. But as long as the flows remain at 300 CFS it is perfect for wade fishing (not floating) and the fishing has been fantastic. If you go expect to find Cicadas, Salmon Flies, and Caddis…lots of Caddis. The fish really seem to be keying on the Caddis on the surface. The Caddis are small and dark. I really like a size 16 and 18 peacock body Caddis with no hackle and a trailing shuck. If you can’t find risers, dead drifting stone fly patterns or caddis larva in the riffles will produce plenty of action. My advice: go, but check the flows first.
Magic has been fishing fair in the morning and evenings; basically, before the wind picks up and after it dies down. I like some wind when I am still water fishing, but the wind of late has been ridiculous. For bugs, expect some Callibaetis and good numbers of midge. Fishing static with nymphs and buggers dangling from an indicator when you see the midge about and an occasional rise. Pulling flies, like a Pops Bugger or standard Leeches can also be effective on a type 3 or 5 sinking line.
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“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” – John Buchan