Temperatures in the valley are starting to drop and the ski season is less than a month away. While waiting for the snow to fall, why not go fishing. In November, we still have very good Baetis hatches on our local streams and even some steelhead opportunities a couple hours outside of town. And be sure to mark your calendar…Wednesday, November 6th, Greg Loomis, SCO fishing guide and founder of savesilvercreek.org, will be presenting at Whiskey Jacques between 5 and 7pm. Admission is free and if you have any questions about the restoration project on Silver Creek or any other questions about this spectacular ecosystem, Greg possesses a wealth of knowledge.
The Big Wood
With the leaves dropping from the cottonwoods all along the Wood, drifting flies has become difficult and will remain so for the next couple of weeks. Also with the recent fire and deluge of soot that entered the system, these fish have been stressed. If you wish to fish hard, try one of our other fantastic fisheries and let this one rest. However, if you just want to catch a few, the Wood is fishing. Nymphing will be most productive with small nymphs like Zebra Midge and Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work. I like Rubber Leg Stones in size 12 and Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14. Mother Nature is amazingly resilient, and I believe in the long run we will see the Wood rebound remarkably.
The Creek is always a good bet in the Fall. The Baetis and Mahogany Duns have been consistently good in the afternoons with the blustery, unsettled days being the best. You will need some Harrop’s Baetis in a size 18, 20, and 22 as well as Mahogany Duns in a size 16 and 18. Streamers are very productive this time of year and are a great way to trigger an aggressive take. If you find browns chasing your hooked, smaller fish this is a good sign that a streamer will work. Of course, if you find browns on redds, leave them alone. The restoration project on the Lower Pond is right on schedule and over the next couple of weeks we should see the dam be removed and replaced as well as an island begin to take shape. If you have questions about the project, be sure to attend Greg’s TU presentation on Wednesday night at Whiskey Jacques.
Upper Big Lost River
As long as Trail Creek Pass is open, this is a beautiful drive this time of year. Once the snow falls, we will need to drive through Craters of the Moon and Arco to get to the upper and Lower Lost. Keep in mind, there is no need to go early, especially as the temperatures drop into the teens in the mornings. Search the water with a flying ant of a grass hopper trailed by a small nymph like a red or black Zebra Midge, beaded Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, or Bishop’s Dynamites. The key to fishing the upper Lost this time of year is focusing on the deeper buckets and keep moving until you find fish.
Lower Big Lost River
This is a great fall and winter fishery and with the flows between 80 and 60 CFS, it is very easy to move about the river and cover a lot of water. You will find a good concentration of fish in the buckets and the shallow water at the head and tail outs of the runs. Simply put, there are fish everywhere you look in this river and you can pick off the easy fish in the buckets and riffles with nymphs or hunt the lunkers in the skinny water sight nymphing. In the afternoon, there will be a short window of decent dry activity and more than likely the fish are eating Fall Baetis in size 18 and 20. Harrop’s parachute Baetis as well as olive Gulper Specials work best. With the low clear water, it is a good idea to use light tippet for these selective trout. I like Trouthunter 6.5 fluorocarbon. For nymphs, try an Egan’s Frenchie, an Iron Lotus, or a Bishop’ s Dynamite in size 16 or 18 trailed behind a easy to see dry fly as an indicator. Straight up nymphing with an indicator and a San Juan Worm or Prince Nymph followed by a smaller nymph is also productive in the deeper runs. European nymphing helps you stay in contact with the subtle hits, and is by far the most productive method right now using the same flies mentioned above.
The Stanley area is a perfect day’s journey if you want to catch a plethora of trout and white fish, with an occasional bull trout, amid the spectacular, snow capped Sawtooth Mountains. Plan on hitting the water around noon, after a hearty brunch at the Sawtooth Bakery. Focus on the riffles at the head of the deeper buckets with nymphs and streamers. If you like to Spey cast, the steelhead are starting to show up below the Pahsimeroi. We have a complete selection of steelhead flies and Scandi and Skagit style lines. Come on in and let us help you get set up.
South Fork of the Boise
There may be some volunteer opportunities on South Fork to help restore damaged areas along the river, and now that that the government is back in business we may hear about these opportunities sooner than later. In the meanwhile, the South Fork remains closed. For a great overview of the mud slides that inundated the South Fork and information about volunteering, go to www.southforkboise.org.
Magic is really fun this time of year. There is no need to use a boat or a tube, as the fish cruise the shallows close to shore seeking warmer water and a late season meal. Try dangling nymphs off a bobber or stripping buggers or leeches on a slow sinking line.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
Upper Big Lost
Lower Big Lost
Olive Gulper Special
Rubber Legged Stones
King Prince Nymphs
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey