The Essence of Sun Valley.

Fly Fishing Forecast 9/21 – 9/28


“Fly rods in hand they entered into the natural world, a world of risk, chance, raw energy, adventure.” – Harry Middleton

The 36th FIPS-Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships were held in Vail, Colorado last week and Fly Fishing Team USA finished on the podium for the second time in two years. This is also the second year SCO guide Bret Bishop served as the team captain. These gentlemen went up against the best competitive teams in the world, twenty-four in all, including Spain, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Finland, Poland, and England to name a few. In the end, Team USA embraced that which they could not control and enjoyed the adventures that fly fishing competition provides. There is always more to learn…with fly rods in hand.

SILVER CREEK
The crowds have been light at the Creek the last few weeks and this week’s cooler temps will move the hatch activity into the late afternoon once again. There have been a smattering of Tricos around in the late mornings on warm days and the afternoon Callibaetis has been hit or miss of late. But as one hatch comes and goes, another takes its place. The Baetis are gaining strength and we are seeing more Mahogany Duns everyday. Hoppers and ants have also been filling in the gaps between hatches, especially when there is a wind chop on the surface. The Creek is certainly going through its summer to fall transition, but the fishing remains decent for the anglers willing to toss a variety of bugs and use different techniques to fool these selective feeders.

BIG WOOD
The Wood has spectacular fall fishing right now with the river lined with yellow Cottonwoods. The fall hatches are in full swing. More Baetis are beginning to hatch each day and Red Quills have been spotted up and down the river. With yet another cold front in the forecast, these hatches should continue to strengthen. If no rising fish can be found, nymphing the Wood this time of year can be extremely productive. Fishing dry dropper style with a small size 16 or 18 Zebra Midge in red or black, a bead head pheasant tail, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Rainbow Warrior is a good approach.

THE SALMON
The Stanley Basin is a great place to fish in the fall. The morning air is crisp and the water temps are low so there is no reason start too early. But as the air temps come up and the sun warms the water, the fishing can still be very good. Look for October Caddis along the banks and in the air. It does not take very many of these bugs to get the fish on them. Try size 12 or 14 Orange Stimulators to match this hatch. For the best results, focus your attention on the riffles leading into the long runs with double nymph rigs and dry dropper rigs. For dries, try hoppers, ants, caddis, or other high floating easy to see attractors. For nymphs, try small rubber legged stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, Rainbow Warriors, or any other beaded size 14 or 16 nymph.

THE UPPER LOST
Blaine County Road and Bridge will be conducting road maintenance to the gravel portion of Trail Creek Road. Planned construction is scheduled to begin Monday September 19, 2016 – September 30, 2016. During this timeframe, Trail Creek Road will be CLOSED to all traffic during the operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and reopened daily at 4:00 p.m. With the cool mornings and shorter days, the fishing is best from about 11AM till 4PM. The water is very low, and the fish are concentrated in the areas where there is structure and depth. If you like to walk and fish and then walk some more, this is a great option. Red Quills are hatching and there are hoppers and fly ants around. The fish, while spooky, have been hitting the bigger bugs lately and a dry dropper trailing a Zebra Midge or a Bishop’s Dynamite is always effective, if not for the trout, then for the large whitefish in this stretch of river.

BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are bouncing around a bit and are currently around 211 CFS. This is a very comfortable flow to wade. The Tricos are present and Baetis are still hatching well. Remember, the early morning fishing is slow until the sun hits the water. You can expect to see bugs clear into the early afternoon before slowing down dramatically once the bugs clear out. Low water means you need to exercise stealth to be successful. When targeting surface feeders, long leaders to 6X and diminutive flies are a must. Be sure to have plenty of Harrop’s Baetis spinners and duns in size 18-22. Nymphing is a good option as well. Try small Baetis style nymphs (18-22) or attractor nymphs like the Rainbow Warrior or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 and 18.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are going up and it is not clear as to why or when they will come done again. This will throw a monkey wrench into the fishing until the flows stabilize. When they do, expect to see Baetis, Flavs, and a few Pinks. Also, caddis, hopper, and ant patterns have been taking fish. Nymphing with small caddis larva, WD40s and Zebra Midge will be most productive especially on a double nymph rig with a Stone Fly or San Juan Worm. Keep your eyes on the Idaho Water Data website to see when the flows stabilize before you go.

LOCAL PONDS
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. These are great places for a family picnic or a fly fishing lesson. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters, so drop on by and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Salmon

The Big Lost

Copper Basin

76 cfs

147 cfs

286 cfs

410 cfs

214 cfs

28 cfs

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Fly Fishing Forecast 9/14 – 9/21

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“Never throw a long line when a short one will serve your purpose.” – Richard Penn

Trout take a fly with astonishing speed…and as quickly as they take it they spit it out.  To ensure a solid hook set, an angler should be as close as possible to their quarry and make a short cast.  The problem, in September the water is very low and clear; because of this, the fish can be very spooky.  If you get too close, the fish may go down. So this begs the question, how close should you get? The answer is not simple as each spot is different; but as a general rule, never throw a long line or a short one until you have assessed how skittish the trout are.

SILVER CREEK
If you are heading down to the Creek the key to success is staying flexible. The weather is variable and the conditions can change rapidly. On the unseasonably warm days, you may still find a few Tricos mixed with some Baetis. This hatch will not be strong enough to get fish in pods, but you will find a few surface feeders during this time. To get the bigger fish, try a dry dropper rig through the runs where you can see them holding. A small Zebra midge or WD40 can be effective in this scenario. On the cloudy days, expect the Baetis in size 18 and 22 to be the dominant hatch in the afternoon. You will need a long leader down to 6 or 6.5x and, as always on the Creek, you should position yourself so the fish see the fly first and not the leader. Of course, the Callibaetis (size 18) are still going to be a factor later in the day in the pond and sloughs. Also, Mahogany Duns (size 16) will continue to build momentum as the days get cooler. When you see this bug on the water, switch to it as the fish may tend to prefer it over all the other options available. On windy days try a terrestrial; shorten your leader down to a stout 4x and tie on a hopper or an ant and cover the likely water: cut banks, drop offs, channels between the weeds. This is best done from a float tube so you can cover a ton of water. The takes can be spectacular. If you do this, be prepared for the cold and wear an extra layer under your waders. Float tubing this time of year can be frigid.

BIG WOOD
The Wood is a fantastic fall fishery. The water is low and the fish are spread out from the fast, shallow riffles to the slow tailouts. Fishing small parachute patterns in size 16 and 18 like a Purple Haze or a Gulper Special through skinny water can be fun this time of year. You might run into some flying ants as well, so always have a few in your box. Searching the water with a hopper is also a good idea. The Red Quills, the last big mayfly of the year, are coming on strong and you should have flies to match this hatch. Remember, with the low and clear conditions, you need to approach the water with caution and scan the shallow edges and tailouts or you will spook more fish than you catch. When fishing the big bugs, like the Red Quill, a hopper, or an ant you can easily get away with using 5x, but you still need to exercise caution. Nymphing the Wood this time of year can be extremely productive. Fishing dry dropper style with a small size 16 or 18 Zebra Midge in red or black, a bead head pheasant tail, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Rainbow Warrior can turn a slow day around.

THE SALMON
The mornings are really cold in Stanley this time of year; starting your fishing before 11AM can be a waste of time. But as the air temps come up and the sun warms the water, the fishing can still be very good. There can be an October Caddis hatch on the Salmon and sometimes it starts in late September. Try size 12 or 14 Orange Stimulators to match this hatch. For the best results, focus your attention on the riffles leading into the long runs with double nymph rigs and dry dropper rigs. For dries try to include hoppers, ants, caddis, or other high floating easy to see attractors. For nymphs try small rubber legged stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, Rainbow Warriors, or any other beaded size 14 or 16 nymph.

THE UPPER LOST
Heads up…Blaine County Road and Bridge will be conducting road maintenance to the gravel portion of Trail Creek Road. Planned construction is scheduled to begin Monday September 19, 2016 – September 30, 2016. During this timeframe, Trail Creek Road will be CLOSED to all traffic during the operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and reopened daily at 4:00 p.m. The best fishing is on the Main Stem of the Upper Lost from the North Fork confluence and down. The river is low and the fish are spread out. Expect there to be maybe one good fish per run with only one legitimate chance at getting a strike…so make it count. With the cooler temperatures, the fishing is best from the middle of the day into the late afternoon. The Red Quills are out, and when they are on the water, the fish will be on them! For flies, take along an assortment of your favorite attractor dry flies and nymphs as well as your standard parachute patterns: Parachute Hare’s Ear, Turk’s Tarantulas, PMX, Royal Wulffs, King Prince, Flashback PTs and Zebra Midge.

BIG LOST – MACKAY
At the moment the flows are around 244 CFS and may continue to drop even more over the next few weeks. Check the Idaho River Flows link on our website to see current flows. The Tricos and Baetis are still hatching, but the cooler temperatures have moved the bug activity to the late morning and through the middle of the day. When the bugs are gone, be prepared to nymph. Of late, the fish are harder to hook, which may be because of the pressure they are under from anglers. The key to success on these fish is contact with your flies. European Nymphing techniques will increase your catch rate dramatically. For bugs, be sure to have Tricos and Baetis in size 18-20 and an assortment of nymphs such as King Princes (size 12, 14), San Juan Worms, Flashback Pheasant Tails (size 14, 16), Bishop’s Dynamite (size 14, 16, 18), and Zebra Midge (size 16,18).

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows have come down to a very wadable 617 CFS. The flotilla of drift boats are gone and wade fisherman now rule the waterway. Look for Pinks and Flavs along with fall Baetis to be the main course. Also craneflies will be seen skittering about with a few caddis still lingering in the evenings. If you find no bugs about, you might try a hopper as well. Nymphing is also going to be productive with the usual suspects such as PTs (size 16-20), Zebra Midge (size 18,20), as well as stoneflies and caddis larva imitations. I like nymphing with either a stone or caddis larva as an anchor fly along with a smaller midge or mayfly imitation when nothing else is going on. Fall fishing on this river can truly be spectacular.

LOCAL PONDS
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. These are great places for a family picnic or a fly fishing lesson. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters, so drop on by and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Salmon

The Big Lost

Copper Basin

75 cfs

145 cfs

606 cfs

433 cfs

244 cfs

30 cfs

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Fly Fishing Forecast 9/7 – 9/14

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“THERE IS NO TAKING TROUT IN DRY BREECHES.” – Cervantes

September is a magical time on the waters around the Wood River Valley. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, and the fishing pressure is light. Our local tailwaters have dropped and our freestone rivers are close to base levels making wading a cinch. Still, you can’t take trout unless you get your feet wet. This September, may your breeches always be wet!

SILVER CREEK
The Creek is transitioning into a midday fishery and, depending on the day, there can be some fantastic Callibaetis activity starting around noon. However, on warmer days, the mornings can still be good with a smattering of Tricos and decent numbers of Baetis. The best part, there is very light angler pressure. Be sure to have a good selection of Callibaetis patterns (size 16 and 18) in multiple stages of this insects life: nymphs, emergers, cripples, duns, and spinners. Our House of Harrop Calibaetis patterns are simply the best match for these picky feeders. The Callibaetis emergence usually coincides with the afternoon breezes which can actually be to the anglers benefit as the larger fish lose all inhibitions in this situation. Also keep in mind, Callibaetis are a slow water bug and will be found in good numbers in the Pond. It will not be long and we will also start seeing some Mahogany Duns so it would be wise to have a few already in your box.

BIG WOOD
The Wood is fishing well from mid morning and into the late afternoon with the recent cooler temperatures. Some Tricos can still be found Mid Valley on down to Bellevue and can hit the water anytime after the air temp hits 60. Like the Creek, the Wood is beginning to transition into its Fall mode; over the next several weeks, the Fall Baetis will start to become more of a factor. Have a good selection of high vis Baetis in size 18 and 20 as well as some of the ones you might toss down at the Creek. Whether fishing with Tricos or Baetis, you will need to use long leaders and light tippet in 6 or 6.5X to fool these seasoned trout. If neither of these bugs are about, you will still find a good assortment of caddis, crane flies, and other mayflies fluttering around into the late afternoon and standard mayfly and caddis patterns in size 16 and 18 will just about cover all of them. Nymphing is really productive this time of year with a dry dropper rig or Euro Style. For nymphs, try small size 18 or 20 Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Beaded Pheasant Tails. Don’t forget to try running a hopper through some fast riffles this time of year as well.

THE SALMON
The water is low and cold. There is no reason to start to early in the Stanley Basin. After a leisurely breakfast at the Stanley Bakery, go in search of a good pull off along the river. Try an assortment of attractor drys in size 12 through 16 from Royal Wulff’s, to Parachute Adams and orange Stimulators. Also size 12 tan or olive Elk Hair Caddis work well to imitate the Spuce Moths along the banks of wooded water. Nymphing is also effective. For nymphs, try Rubber Legged Stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, or King Princes. Standard black or brown buggers work well too.

THE UPPER LOST
The water is low and cold on the Upper Lost. As always, don’t expect huge fish numbers, but the quality of the fish being found on the main stem of the Upper Lost remains fantastic. Plan on covering a lot of water and focus on the areas where there is enough depth and structure to hold fish. You will need to be stealthy in your approach and try using small drys, like size 16 and 18 Parachute Purple Haze, Adams, ants or larger hopper patterns to fool these seasoned trout. Small beaded Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, or Bishop’s Dynamite work really well if the trout aren’t on the surface and on the many large white fish in the river.

BIG LOST – MACKAY
This can be some of the best fall fishing in the area. The flows are at 287 CFS and may continue to drop. The late morning action has seen a mix of Tricos and Baetis in the air and if you find a spot where the bugs hit the water try using Trico Hackle Stackers or Harrop’s size 22 Trico Spinners in black, white, or green. For the Baetis, a size 20 Gulper Special with an orange post works well. If you can’t find surface feeders, try Euro Nymphing with a heavy nymph followed by a smaller pattern; a beaded Stone fly or San Juan Worm followed by a smaller PT, Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’s Dynamite is an effective combo. Dry dropper rigs are also productive. For those fish hanging in the margins, try a dry dropper rig with a extra small brown Zebra Midge or WD-40.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are holding at a very wader friendly 611CFS and there has been a smattering of Flavs, PMDs, and Pink Alberts hatching in the early afternoon. A few beatis are beginning to make their midday appearance as well, especially on cloudy, cool days. Nymphing with caddis larva, PTs, and Zebra Midge can be a good option when no bugs are present. Euro Nymping the shallower riffles has been very effective for whitefish and trout. You might try pulling a streamer through some deeper runs in search of a bull trout or an aggressive rainbow.

LOCAL PONDS
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. These are great places for a family picnic or a fly fishing lesson. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters, so drop on by and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Salmon

The Big Lost

Copper Basin

56 cfs

145 cfs

600 cfs

410 cfs

251 cfs

34 cfs

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