As we enter the second half of July, the myriad of fishing opportunities continue to expand. The hardest thing about fishing right now is choosing where to go. Do you want to fish high mountain streams with big attractor patterns in pursuit of cutthroat trout? Or would you rather cast long leaders with fine tippet and small drys to selectively sipping trout? Perhaps you would enjoy searching for the last few Green Drakes of the season? Or maybe you would prefer to take the family to a local pond and catch some pan size trout? Whatever your taste, now is a great time to be a flyfisher in Sun Valley. The local freestones continue their slow drop opening up new waters to explore and Silver Creek continues to offer fishing possibilities throughout the day.
The weather report for the upcoming week calls for more heat and occasional thunderstorms. If this holds true, expect the early morning and late evening fishing to be excellent on hot, calm days. If you go early, expect a mix of Baetis (size 20-22), Callibaetis Spinners (size 16-18), PMD spinners (size 16), and Tricos (size 20-22). Don’t expect a long Trico spinner fall, but it will get progressively better as the week continues. During the middle of the day and into the afternoon, look for water where blue damsels will congregate. The fish will be on the prowl picking off any spent damsels they can find. Also, the afternoon Callibaetis should be strong. The best pattern for this is Harrop’s Partridge Wing Spinner in size 16 and 18. Of course, don’t forget to have an array of terrestrials (beetles, ants, and hoppers) if the wind picks up. On cloudy, cool days days expect the hatches to be delayed, but when they do come off the fishing can be fantastic. In the evenings, be prepared for caddis in a variety of sizes as well as small PMDs and Callibaetis. Don’t forget to bring along your bug spray.
Big Wood River
The Wood is still a bit on the high side south of town, but fishing really well all over the river with the best action coming in the middle of the day. Occasional Green Drakes are still being spotted in the upper river. The long slow drop of the water has extended the duration of this hatch, but by the end of this week we may see the last of them until next year. The Wood is already experiencing strong Pink Albert, PMD and Western Quill hatches depending on the stretch of river you are on and the time of day. Be prepared with a selection of Parachute Style dry flies to match these bugs. If things slow down, tossing an attractor dry with a trailing nymph can be deadly. Try big dries like Yellow Stimulators, Orange Stimulators, and Royal Stimulators with a Flashback Pheasant Tail or Epoxy Back Drake as a dropper. For the deep, fast water try a tandem nymph rig with a Rubber Leg Stone and a Tungsten PT. You might also start looking for fish feeding in the shallow riffles as the water warms up.
Please wade conservatively and always use a wading belt.
Big Lost River below Mackay
Some intrepid anglers have ventured over to fish this river, but with flows still above 500 CFS, this river is still too high to wade comfortably and access is limited. Wait for the flows to drop below 400 CFS for optimum fishing.
Upper Big Lost
This stretch of river follows the same pattern as the Big Wood with regard to flows. As the lower Wood begins to open up to wading and fishing possibilities, the main stem of the Big Lost above Mackay follows suit. Still, wade with caution. Your best bet is to cover the water and search with a dry or a dry dropper rig. The mobile anglers are finding the most success, not to mention solitude. Quality Fine Spot Cutthroats, Cutbows, and Rainbows are being found in the East Fork, Wild Horse Creek and the West Fork. Take along an assortment of your favorite attractor dry flies. I prefer flies like the Parachute Hare’s Ear, Turk’s Tarantulas, PMX, and Royal Wulffs. For nymphs I like the pheasant tail and King Prince. However, some of these fish have already seen a few flies. If you are getting refusals, switch to smaller versions of the above mentioned flies.
Like the Wood and the Lost, the Salmon is dropping slowly and will continue to fish well. Large Golden Stones and Salmon flies are taking eager Cutthroat and Rainbow trout. There is even the possibility of hooking into a Chinook Salmon. There are plenty of walk and wade opportunities, but the best way to explore this fantastic fishery is from a drift boat. Please inquire about this wonderful opportunity.
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 a few Green Drakes.
South Fork of the Boise
The Salmon flies are on, but they won’t last much longer. At 1700, your best option is to fish from a drift boat, but you can wade fish along the roadside in select spots. Also have a good selection of caddis, golden stones, and pink alberts if you decide to fish into the evening.
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. 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