August Angling in the Rockies

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Synopsis

As we enter the middle of August, local fisheries are producing very well. Silver Creek is in the midst of the annual “Trico Madness” activity and our regional freestones are offering excellent mayfly, caddis and grasshopper opportunities. The recent inclement weather and thunderstorms have slightly colored the waters in our area, but this is a temporary problem as the rivers clear themselves quite quickly. Up north, the Salmon River is flowing at a low level making it very wadeable with trout concentrated in smaller areas. Expect the action on the rivers to slow in the heat of the day while mornings and evenings offer very good insect activity on all of our local waters.

Silver Creek

The Creek is beginning to peak in the mornings as the petite Tricos enjoy their proliferation. This spinner fall is a wonder to behold as thousands, perhaps millions, of insects swarm the river before mating, dropping their eggs and finally coming to rest on the water’s surface. Baetis are concurrently emerging providing an additional set of patterns to fool the wily Brown and Rainbow Trout. Use Trico duns early in the spinner fall and then move toward Trico spinners as the bugs begin to hit the surface. Switching back and forth between Baetis and Trico patterns can help to keep fish off guard and on the end of your line. PMDs will join the frenzy half way through the morning’s activity. Try throwing a few PMDs (size 16) then finish off the morning returning to the miniature Trico spinners. Midday can be rather quiet on the Creek, but Blue Damselflies, grasshoppers, beetles and ants can still bring fish to the surface.

Big Wood River

The Wood is fishing better than usual as a result of the extended runoff we experienced earlier this summer. Baetis (size 20) are prevalent during the morning and early afternoon as are the larger Pink Alberts (size 16). Expect to see good Trico activity on the Big Wood during the morning’s hours. Try working the slow water backeddies and bubble lines with Trico duns (size 20). In the evening, expect to see a variety of caddis on the Wood. Brown elk hair caddis (size 16) will match this hatch as well as larger cream caddis (size 14).

August is Grasshopper season on the Big Wood and fish have been aggressively taking any number of hopper patterns in a variety of sizes. Try foam hoppers on seams and against banks in order to pull up the larger rainbows from their deep cool haunts.

Big Lost River

The Big Lost is flowing at a wadeable 432 cfs, allowing anglers to fish below the dam. Large nymphs such as the King Prince, Prince nymph and Flashback Pheasant Tail (size 12-16) in addition to Zebra Midges (sizes 16-20) will be effective. Craneflies are also a good option on the Lost and are especially good choices during the middle of the day. Cast these “mosquito eaters” at a quartering down angle and skate them back across the surface. Large rainbows will often throw caution to the wind and violently attack these gangly insect.

Upper Big Lost

The North, East and West Forks of the Big Lost continue to fish well. Any number of attractor patterns will raise fish including Parachute Adams, Adams Irresistible, Black Flying Ants, Caddis, Royal Trudes, Coachmen and Wulffs in sizes 12-16. These tributaries offer an array of trout species including Rainbow, Brook, West Slope Cutthroat, Finespot Cutthroat, Cuttbows and Whitefish. This alpine area is the perfect destination for anglers of any experience level or for first time fly fishermen just beginning the wonderful journey of learning to catch fish on the fly.

South Fork of the Boise

The South Fork of the Boise continues to fish well with Pink Alberts (size 16) making for some very good mayfly fishing in addition to Golden Stoneflies (size 14). When fish are not rising to the surface, any number of mayfly and stonefly nymphs fished sub-surface should elicit strikes. Streamer fishing can also be productive on this cold tailwater fishery. Make sure to check the streamflow charts before driving to this river as the flow will soon be lowered and can happen any day without warning.

Salmon River

The Salmon is flowing at a perfect level for both drift boat fishing and walk and wade angling. The West Slope Cutthroat, Rainbows, Cuttbows, Brook Trout, Bull Trout, Squawfish and Whitefish are rising to a variety of patterns including beige and brown elk hair caddis (size 14-16), stimulators (size 14-16), Grey Drakes (size 12), Large Golden Stones (size 8-10) and any number of mayfly nymphs or caddis pupae dropped off the large dry flies.

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