As we close in on the fall we can look back at the this as the summer without the August doldrums. Our heavy spring rains kept our fishing blue ribbon right through the hottest time of the year, when we generally see a drop-off in fish numbers getting caught. With September coming, expect more great fishing. We will begin seeing fall hatches of Baetis, Mahogany Duns and Western Red Quills in the coming weeks, so stuff your fly boxes with your favorites of these. In the meantime we are at the peak of the Grasshopper season and now is the time on all our area waters to pursue the biggest fish in the river with the biggest Hopper patterns you can find!
Grasshoppers and Callibaetis are the bugs of choice for most of the Creeks residents these days. Early morning anglers will still find action on Trico, Baetis and P.M.D. once the temperatures have warmed. Once this action ends, grab some lunch and get ready for some quality Callibaetis action on the sloughs and the slower current lines. Fish Callibaetis Cripples, Spinners and Hackle Stackers for big cruisers. This fishing can be very effective in a light breeze. Make sure you study the water hard under these conditions, as big fish will sip discretely in and among the streamside vegetation. If you choose to Hopper fish in the afternoon your best bet is to take a float tube and blind fish the banks and channels between weed beds as you float by. Fish heavy 2X and 3X tippets and try to get the longest drifts possible. Fish the biggest Hopper patterns you can find to catch the biggest fish in the river!
Big Wood River
The Big Wood continues to fish great for a variety of size classes with one and two year old fish dominating the scene. A Dave’s Hopper is an excellent choice on the Wood and even though all the fish will eat it, it is big enough and leggy enough to keep the really little fish off the hook. Drop a nymph from it if you like, but in recent days they have preferred the Hopper anyway. Trico action can still be found in big pools and slicks up and down the river. Last week we found Trico’s in the headwaters of the river, attesting to the prolific nature of this insect. Caddis are still strong in areas of the river with a lot of shade and overhang. A size 14 parachute Adams will imitate this insect and a few random mayflies as well. Rusty Spinners in the morning and evening are still a great choice over rising fish. Expect to see a lot more baetis activity on the river in the coming weeks.
The Lost River has o.k. Trico action as well as a size 14 baetis fly. The river is still more productive to fish with a nymph than a dry fly though, and the fast water is a good place to do this. Bead head combinations and San Juan Worms are always a good choice when nymphing below the reservoir. Kokanee are still in the river above the reservoir and egg stealing rainbows will be following them up river. Look carefully for these Green Backs lying in shallow riffles, then show them any red fly and hold on.
Upper Lost River and Copper Basin
This section continues to fish as well as any place has this summer with general attractor patterns being all one needs. It is simply a matter of finding the fish. Look for well formed foam lines and slow water that flows under overhanging brush. Trico are still around in the morning as well as a variety of Crane Flies, Hoppers, little Stoneflies and a variety of bigger mayflies that can show up one day and be gone the next. Try to fish early and late in this area as the bigger fish are getting shy in the afternoon hours. The low light levels in coming weeks should turn this area back into our best local fishery of the season.
Little Wood River
The Little Wood is fishing well with Hoppers. You don’t really need any other flies unless you want to catch a few smaller fish on attractor patterns. Cover plenty of water with your Hopper and enjoy the solitude of this little stream. Be aware, rattle snakes are still active, so it may be best to leave Fido at home when fishing here.
South Fork of the Boise
With the flows dropped from 1600 cfs to 600 cfs wade fisherman can again access a lot of the river. Hoppers are a great choice for those floaters that still want to scrape down the river. Bank anglers can also do well casting Hoppers into likely lanes, especially on runs with a steep embankment. Pink Alberts are still brining fish up and small bead head nymphs can be deadly in the riffles when the surface action is not happening. Fall Baetis will be starting here soon and often provides the best surface activity of the year on this river.
Warm Springs, Trail Creek, North Fork of the Big Wood, Penny and Dollar Lake and Lake Creek Lake
These waters remain stocked with catchable sized fish. With tourist season at an end next week and hunting season beginning for the locals, expect these little waters to become deserted by this time next week. The same can virtually be said for all our area streams.
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 76%
Big Wood – 89%
Little Wood – 109%
Big Lost – 102%
Henry’s Fork – 88%