photo by Bryan Huskey
With days pushing into the 90s, float tubing the Creek or wet wading the Wood is the best way to beat the heat. The fish are going to continue to feed during the most pleasant time of the day, which in August is early and late. The morning and evening hatches this time of year can really be prolific and anglers should be prepared for selective feeders during these times. Pad your boxes with a variety smaller drys and grab a spool of Trouthunter Fluorocarbon to help turn those refusals into takes. Of course, fish can still be found during the middle of the day, but anglers will need to be creative with attractor drys, terrestrials, and nymphs to get action.
The Tricos have really been strong and should continue to peak as we head into the middle of August. Still, Tricos are not the only bugs during the morning frenzy. There are plenty of Baetis, Callibaetis and PMDs making the morning hatch very complex. For flies, have a variety of patterns to match the Trico Duns and Spinners in size 20 and 22. The Trico Duns will be on the water early and once the air temp hits 70 degrees the spinners begin to fall and blanket the surface. Some mornings, the Baetis (size 22) will outnumber the Tricos depending on where you are on the Creek. Harrop’s Paraspinner covers both of these bugs. As the Trico spinner fall starts to wane, look for an occasional Callibaetis Spinner (size 16-18) or PMD ( size 16-18) to float by. Individual fish will often switch to this larger fare and the savvy angler can take advantage of this. When the morning feed subsides, try Damsels or Callibaetis spinners. Harrop’s Partridge Wing Spinner in size 16 and 18 is a good match. When the wind blows, shorten your leader and try your favorite terrestrial (beetles, ants, and hoppers). The evening fishing can be fantastic as well and without the crowds of the morning frenzy.
Big Wood River
The Wood is really fun to fish when the flows drop into the 200s allowing for unlimited access to roving anglers. The fishing is good in the morning and evening with plenty of micro caddis, Baetis, Rusty Spinners, and small crane flies to keep fish active on the surface. Some PMDs and Pink Alberts can be found as well. During the hot afternoons, the bugs disappear, but the fish can still be found with hoppers, ants, and nymphs. When searching for fish during the slow periods try tying a Zebra Midge, a flashback PT, or a Rainbow Warrior in size 16 or 18 off the bend a high floating Parachute pattern or a hopper and search the shallow, aerated riffles for trout. August fish strike fast and are easily missed by anglers that have too much slack in their lines. The best way to remedy this is cast shorter distances and work on your line management skills. The evening on the Wood, with low light and prolific caddis hatches, is a good time to find larger fish feeding on the surface.
Big Lost River below Mackay
Keep your eye on this fishery. With flows at 430 CFS and dropping, this river is really getting close, but access is still limited and wading can be tough until it gets below 400 CFS. Like all the other rivers in our region, the fishing is best during the pleasant times of day when the bugs are present. Still, many of these fish have yet to see a fly this season and fishing should be good all day long. If you do go, be sure to have Crane Flies, Baetis (size 18-20), PMDs (size 16) and Larimer’s Yellow Sallies (size 14.5) and an assortment of nymphs such as King Princes (size 12, 14), San Juan Worms, Flashback Pheasant Tails (size 14, 16), and Bishop’s Dynamite (size 14, 16, 18). There can also be a very good morning Trico hatch once the river drops.
Upper Big Lost
This river system follows a similar pattern to the Wood. Flows are dropping making the main stem of the Lost more accessible and the fishing is good early and late.
The reports from this area have been mixed. Some anglers are finding success while others are being frustrated. To be successful, just keep moving around to find the fish; search the water with drys and dry dropper rigs and you will find the fish. In general, there have been less numbers of small fish this season and a few larger fish are being caught. These fish are opportunistic feeders and will usually give an attractor dry fly a try, but they may only give take chance. 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.
At the moment the fire outside of Stanley has not affected the area and fishing remains very good. Still, the window to float this spectacular river may only last for another week with flows dropping rapidly. For flies, take Large Yellow and Orange Stimulators and attractors such as Turk’s Tarantula. Also, the Spruce Moth is now a major player and can provide excellent dry fly fishing. If you choose to wade fish, there are plenty of pull offs to park your car and search this wonderful fishery.
Warm Springs & Trail Creek
These rivers are a great alternative for those seeking a small stream experience but don’t have the time to drive over the hill to the Copper Basin. Fish and Game has stocked these rivers around the bridges and anywhere the rivers near the road. If you wish to seek wild fish, just leave the beaten path and explore. Expect to see PMDs, Pink Alberts, Caddis, Small Stone flies, and some Spruce Moths.
South Fork of the Boise
This river is going through its typical summer hangover after the Salmon flies. Expect to find caddis in the late afternoons into the evenings as well as and Pink Alberts and Flavs. Even with flows holding steady at 1800, you are better off parking the boat and working the banks and side channels. Also, nymphing with caddis larva, PTs, and zebra midge can be a good option when no bugs present.
If you want to try something different, our reservoirs continue to fish very well. Grab a float tube, some flippers, and a friend and go check out Magic, Mackay, Little Camas, or Morman reservoirs. You might try pulling Damsel, Dragon or Callibaetis Nymphs. You might also find top water action with Blue Damsels or Callibaetis Spinners. Whatever you decide to do, we have a great selection of stillwater flies from leeches to chironomids, as well as some classic patterns like the Sheep Creek Special.
Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.~ Thoreau