Expect to start seeing significant change in many of our area fisheries. The heat of summer means a few different bugs, changing water levels and fresh tactics. It is also a time of year for anglers to start practicing the art of Siesta. Low light and cooler temperatures need to be taken into account, and also how anglers handle the fish right now is very important. Warmer waters and lower oxygen levels means fish should not be taken out of the water if at all possible. The fishing should remain great all around the valley and surrounding drainages. Enjoy!
The Creek is entering its most consistent time of the year. You can find three very distinct fisheries right now. The show starts at the crack of dawn with the morning spinner fall of the Trico. Keep in mind, as we say every season, this is not a Hatch, the Hatch occurs in the morning darkness, this is a Spinner Fall and your flies need to be adjusted accordingly. When the action begins anglers will see a few late emerging insects, but the majority of bugs on the water will be dying spinners with an upright wing. The wing is more clear than white. During the duration of the Spinner Fall the Trico will begin to die, and most of the insects floating downstream will have a â€œSpent Wingâ€ meaning the wings are flat in the water. This is important when choosing the most affective pattern and also important when deciding which pattern to fish and when to fish it. Pay very close attention to what is floating by you and what the fish are seeing minute by minute. Be ready for a late switch of the fish from Trico to Baetis, PMDâ€™s and the occasional Callibaetis.
The second time of day to fish is in the heat and breeze of the afternoon, when Hoppers and Damsels will come into play. The two approaches to this are to look for fish actively feeding on Damsels, normally on the backside of exposed weed beds, and targeting them with a precise pattern on about a 3X or 4X leader set up. The other option if to blind fish likely looking banks with Damsel or Hopper patterns and try to draw fish up that may not be actively feeding, but are always on the look out for an easy meal. The second choice for the afternoon is to stalk the Sloughs looking for big cruising fish, and fish actively feeding on Callibaetis. Precise patterns like the Hackle Stacker, Floating Nymph and Cripple are all great choices for this.
Finally the evening sessions of Callibaetis, Baetis, PMD and the late arriving Caddis are another option. These sessions can be short, due to having to wait for the afternoon winds to die down a bit, and for the evening light to take hold on the Valley floor, but these sessions can be very productive with fewer anglers about, and aggressive fish, trying to get a last mouthful before total darkness sets in.
Big Wood River
The Wood is fishing very similar to the way Silver Creek is, although without the difficulty of long leaders and perfect presentations. In the mornings the Trico and Mayfly Spinners are the fly of choice on the flat water, the afternoons mean searching with large attractor patterns in the shallow, fast water and in the evenings its more Mayfly Spinners and late Caddis in the middle and tail of the runs. Prospecting this water with a dropper system is also a good idea. Plan on seeing smaller fish during the middle of the day with the larger fish coming out at very low light levels. The river is low and the fish are going to become more and more shy until we see the first big hatches of the fall. This could occur within the next 6 to 8 weeks, so take advantage now of the wet wading opportunities and the occasion to go for a swim!
Upper Lost and Copper Basin
This is definitely a place where low light is a key factor. There is a large amount of bug activity early in the mornings with Tricos and other insects all over the place, but by the time the afternoon winds start and the sun gets high over head the fishing seems to shut off. It is still worth prospecting with a Hopper pattern, but be sure to get it well up under overhanging vegetation or cast repeatedly near obvious buckets and boulders! The generally great fishing with attractors should resume some time in the mid-evening hours.
Big Lost River
The Lost is down to 400 cfs, which means better fishing and better wading below the dam in Mackay. There are plenty of insects hatching and spinning to get the fish up and eating off of the surface. A lot of fish are sitting in the tailouts and the fishing is not necessarily easy, but the challenge is part of the fun. Fishing the riffles with nymphs is also productive. With the water continuing to drop, expect more and more dry fly opportunities. Crane Flies, PMDâ€™s, Baetis, Yellow Sallies and Hoppers are all good choices and flies one should take with, if you decide to go. Be careful wading still and be respectful of the private property.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork continues to flow at 1800 cfs. Look for the Pink Albert and the Hoppers to be the key targets for the fish. Look carefully for rising fish in the shallow riffles during the Pink Albert emergence and fish big Hopper patterns very tight to the bank while floating in a drift boat. Keep the fly in the water, keep your confidence level high, fish heavy tippets and you will bring a few brutish fish to hand with a Hopper for the duration of the summer here.