“Overwhelmingly, the reason why so many experienced and well-equipped fisherman catch so few trout is that most of the time they aren’t fishing over fish.” – Sparse Grey Hackle
The most effective anglers change tactics as the seasons change. They change fly patterns in order to match the fall fare; they change their approach to the water to adjust for the low angle of light unique to fall; and they change the water type in which they present their flies to search for trout. Don’t waste your time fishing flies the fish won’t eat or fishing water where there are simply no fish. Are you ready for the change of seasons?
There is nothing finer than a fall day spent fishing on the Creek. You might see a herd of elk grazing in an adjacent field or moose wading through the river. You definitely will see Fall Baetis and a maybe a few Mahogany Duns hatching in the middle of the day into the afternoon with some midge hatching until sundown. For the Baetis, have a good selection of duns, cripples, and spinners tied by the House of Harrop in size 20-24. For the Mahoganies, you should have dun, emerger, and spinner patterns as well. If the water is devoid of bugs, terrestrials will still take fish, especially of windy days. Also, nymphing dry dropper style with size 20-16 pheasant tails and Baetis nymphs is effective. As always, be aware of browns on redds and leave them alone.
THE BIG WOOD
The Wood, due to the cool temperatures we have been experiencing this month, is already transitioning into a winter fishery. The water is as low as it has been all year, crystal clear, and down right cold. As a result, you may not find the fish spread out in a riffle, but instead holding in the slow deep seams and buckets. The Fall Baetis should continue over the next two weeks and be especially prolific on cloudy days. Over the next two weeks there will be an influx of freshly fallen leaves in the river. When the wind blows, the leaves will come down. Not to worry; the fish can see your fly through the leaves. The most productive method remains nymphing with either a dry dropper rig or Euro Style. Try rubber leg stones, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, or the Iron Lotus.
WARM SPRINGS & TRAIL CREEK
If you are looking for a quick side trip on streams with less flow than the Wood, these small streams offer great access and easy wading. There are plenty of stocked fish around the bridges and if you want to find some quality wild fish, just keep moving away from the easy road access. Expect to see hoppers, Hecubas, and caddis throughout the warmest part of day.
THE UPPER LOST
This is a good place to hit on your way back from fishing below the dam as the most productive fishing is late in the afternoon. Focus your attention on the deep buckets; this is where you will find fish concentrated. If you find feeding fish, they are probably eating Fall Baetis. These fish love small and medium size nymphs such as red or black Zebra Midge, beaded Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, or Bishop’s Dynamites as well.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows have come down to 290 CFS which is about 100 CFS higher than average. Also, there seems to be a greenish algae in the river at the moment. The best theory to date is that the algae is coming from the lake after fall turn over. Whatever the cause, the algae seems to have shut down the dry fly fishing, but the nymphing is still very good. In the mid to late afternoon expect to see a few midge with good numbers of Fall Baetis. There may even be a few Tricos around. Try a single or double nymph rig with heavy tungsten beads fished on a long leader Euro Style or on a long Tenkara rod. Also, a simple dry dropper rig with a long leader on a traditional rod is effective for greater distance and delicate presentations for spooky fish. For nymphs have a variety of heavy beaded standards like PTs or Princes in size 14 to 16. Also have a good supply of micro nymphs like Zebra Midge and WD40s with silver, gold, and black beads in size 18 to 22.
It is getting very cold in the Stanley Basin, but the fishing remains decent in the late afternoon.
Look for pull outs around the runs with holding water and you are sure to find fish. For dries try Orange Stimulators, hoppers, ants, caddis, or other high floating easy to see attractors. For nymphs try small rubber legged stones, Bishop’s Dynamite, Rainbow Warriors, or any other beaded size 14 or 16 nymph. Olive, black and brown Buggers will take fish as well.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The Baetis continue to hatch during the most pleasant time of day and they are bringing the big fish up. Search the seams and slower water with structure and you are sure to find some fantastic trout sipping duns and cripples. The flows are holding at about 318 CFS, perfect for wading. The weekends have been very crowded, but you can usually find a place to call your own. For flies, have the same collection of Baetis you would take to the Lost, the Creek, or the Wood. When all else fails, the nymphing will produce a ton of whitefish and some trout. The best nymphs include small Zebra Midge, WD40s, or Rainbow Warriors or larger nymphs like rubber legged stones or caddis larva.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon are great spots for a fall family fishing picnic. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters. So drop on by before you take your family fishing and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood