The window for anglers to get over rising fish is shortening by the day. Very cold mornings and the low evening sun means one must take advantage of our late afternoon fishery. When the hatches come off, the fish are still eager to come to the surface, but the rise duration keeps growing shorter and shorter. In the coming weeks finding rising fish will begin to happen day by day, until it seemingly stops all together until the winter midge fishing takes off. Keep an eye on the weather as we enter a cycle of a few warm days, followed by a few cold days and then back again. Warmer days will obviously open the fishing window by a few more hours, but the cloudy days may provide the most intense action.
Baetis still rules the afternoon on the Creek. Hatches and spinner falls are an after lunch occurrence with prime hours from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Mahogany duns are still in the mix as well as the occasional Callibaetis. With the light flattening out and a lot more glare on the water anglers can help themselves by trying to tie, or purchase, flies with dark posts or wings that will silhouette against the grey/silver surface. On the warmest days, Terrestrials will still be affective when shown to rising fish. The dark bodied Ants and Beetles also help anglers find their fly in the glare.
The Silver Creek season is coming to a rapid close in the coming weeks, so if you need one last spring creek fix, now is the time! Play hooky, take a personal day, invite the boss fishing, do whatever is necessary to get down there and fish one last time before dry fly fishing becomes a mid-winter memory.
Big Wood River
The Wood is still fishing in the afternoon hours. Baetis are the main players on the surface and nymphing a Pheasant Tail is a good option before and after the surface activity presents itself. The Red Quill is still a minor player on warm afternoons and with the addition of the October Caddis, big bugs are still being taken by trout looking to fatten up for winter. It may seem like the wrong tactic to throw huge dry flies this time of year, especially with low flows and all the Baetis activity, but when no bugs are showing and few anglers are out, some of the seasons biggest and best fish can be taken by staying on the move, keeping the faith, and running huge Parachutes, Wullfs, Variants, and Stimulators through the “money” water!
If we get a particularly warm day with the wind down as well, an angler should find decent midge activity in many of the slicks and back eddies north of town. This is generally an early evening occurrence and can catch quite a few anglers off guard, so if you find yourself out late, make sure you have a few midge dry flies just in case.
The Lost is flowing very low and is very accessible from top to bottom. This is nice in that these conditions coincide with very few anglers visiting the access points below the dam. Since the river is primarily a nymph fishery the fishing window is a bit longer than on some of our other waters. Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails and San Juan Worms are all taking fish out of the holes and off of the gravel shelves. Although sight nymphing is one of our favorite activities on this river, it is tough to do in the low autumn light these days. Try not to ignore the shallow water above the shelves when conditions are like this, but be aware that the flat light will make one believe the fish can’t see them, they can. So try to exercise the same caution and stealth you would use the rest of the season when approaching these areas.
Upper Lost River and Copper Basin
The Upper Lost and the Basin waters are flowing very low right now. The altitude in this area means that seasonally these waters are a little farther along then the Wood and it’s tributaries. Therefore most of the dry fly fishing is limited to a few very short hours a day. Dropping small Pheasant Tail nymphs from attractor patterns produces the most hook ups. With recent snows in the area fishing “up top” is a bit of a winter excursion. The coming warm days should give anglers a last chance at some great fishing up there, but the weekend is supposed to bring cool temps and precipitation, which won’t bode well for fishing at higher altitudes. Check the weather before you go, dress and gear up appropriately and enjoy your own private Idaho should you decide to tackle a few miles of this often forgotten water.
Little Wood River
A wonderful fall fishery can be found north and south of Carey these days. The fish aren’t huge, but the scenery is tough to beat. The cottonwoods north of the reservoir are dense enough to make a nice wind break for inclement days and are a little later in turning color. It is a good place to cast attractor patterns and find solitude. Fish small nymphs in this area as well. There are several deep holes where bigger Brook trout live, but refuse to rise, a well placed bead head will bring them to life. In the desert stretch south of Carey, Brown Trout are spawning and many have moved up into the Silver Creek system. Rainbows in smaller sizes are plentiful and can be taken with nymphs and even hoppers on warm days in the desert.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork continues to fish as it always does this time of year, it is either feast or famine. One day you can make the two hour trek only to find a few fish willing to take well presented nymphs, and other days the Baetis are so thick you can’t believe what you are seeing as every fish in the river rises to them. It is a long way to go to find out what mood the river is in, but it is also the only way to find out.
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 221%
Big Wood – 132%
Little Wood – 112%
Big Lost – 229%
Henry’s Fork – 393%