Despite winter like weather last week the fishing stayed relatively productive. We are in for more winter weather this week and it should be a bit more extreme. While we transition into the quietude of November anglers will be able to find more elbow room and deserted waters than any other time of the year when our streams are open. With winter coming on fast the fish will remain very active looking to fatten up and eat what is available to them. Dry fly activity may dwindle to almost nothing, but the fish should lose most of their inhibitions when looking at nymphs. Fishing the heart of most pools with standard subsurface patterns and a few newer ones as well, will provide anglers with plenty of action.
The Creek is still holding a few days of quality dry fly fishing, but they will be dulled out with the weather patterns. We are due for a string of overcast days, and if an angler can find a calm one in the afternoon expect to see the last of the Baetis, and decent Midge activity. Ants and Beetles are still going to take fish, although it’s better to show them to rising targets as apposed to searching with them. Although November isn’t considered the “prime” season on the Creek it is certainly a favorite month for many anglers. The Creek in the late fall is unique in that it is very quite. Even the birds have gone, or are settling in for winter. Often the loudest sounds you hear are distant Geese and even the sound of the water washing by the dying grasses and weed beds. The best fishing days may be very limited, but often, on the rare November day, Silver Creek will explode with insects, as if they seemingly know it’s now or never. If you can catch one of these days, all the joy of fishing the long rod will be yours for a condensed moment in time, and although the time frame may be short, the memory will live longer than the trout you release that day.
Big Wood River
The Wood is full of fish looking to fatten up before the first big storms of winter! Nymphs are the fly of choice, although a few big fish can still be tempted to the surface with large Wulff patterns. Nymph anglers need to concentrate on the parts of the runs that provide enough current to carry food to the fish, but not so strong the fish are burning a lot of calories. Remember, they are trying to put on fat layers and they will feed accordingly. This generally means concentrating ones efforts on the water just below the main rapid at the head of a run. Midge activity is still strong both on the surface late in the day, and even better subsurface at any time. Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Zebra Midges, Prince Nymphs, and Cased Caddis imitations will all work well. Take along a hat and some fingerless gloves and enjoy this month as long stretches of water are available to anglers willing to wet a line under winter skies.
The Lost is still fishing very well below the dam in Mackay, as the low flows provide both fish and fisherman a nice reprieve from the constantly high flows during the bulk of this summers season. Nymphing with long leaders and light tippets is the best bet. Start with a twelve foot leader tapered to 5X and a small strike indicator. Fish a bead head nymph in tandem with a non beaded nymph and make sure you get it down to the fishes level. Fishing these lighter tippets, may mean fishing a softer rod in order to achieve the necessary flex to land big fish. This flex in the rod acts as a shock absorber, thus protecting tippets from breaking better than a quick action rod might. The Winston Rod Company is well known for making rods that fit this qualification.
Upper Lost River and Copper Basin
Any day in the next few weeks may represent the last opportunity an angler has to get over the hill and fish this system without having to drive all the way around through Mackay to get there. Once the snow falls and closes Trail Creek Summit for the year, most anglers call it a season up top. So if you have been putting off going up there this season, do it now! The fishing is better lower in the system and very basic nymphing techniques will take most of them. If you get a warmer than ordinary day for November, don’t hesitate to cast attractor patterns as well. If you get up there and the snow starts coming down hard, your safest bet will be to reel up and head back down to the valley before the road gets bad. There are still many good days left to get in on this great fishing, but be careful, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and enjoy complete “pre-winter” solitude and great action.
Little Wood River
The Little Wood is still fishing well with nymph set ups and attractor patterns. Easy wading, plenty of access and no anglers as far as the eye can see, add up to a great fishing experience. In fact if you can get a warm day and want to teach a friend or family member to fly fish, this would be a great piece of water and a great time of year to do it.
South Fork of the Boise
This lower altitude river may be a great alternative to our closer to town fisheries if the weather turns into full blown winter. This desert tail water can provide nice baetis hatches and Midge activity all the way up to Thanksgiving Day. A weekday on the river can also provide all the room an angler desires, as more hunters are seen using the area then fishermen these days. Nymphing with small flies in the middle of big riffles is the alternative when the fish aren’t rising.
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 92%
Big Wood – 72%
Little Wood – 66%
Big Lost – 70%
Henry’s Fork – 114%