“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Among those things that have contributed to your advancement include fly fishing, a tradition that brings you closer to family, friends, and fish. The angler who counts blessings, rather than quarry, will lose count long before the day is done.
Our days are numbered on the upper Creek. The Conservancy stretch, including Purdy’s down to highway 20, will close the end of November. From the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of February. Even with the cold winter-like conditions, the Creek will still produce decent Baetis and Midge action; however, it is short, isolated, and late in the day. Of course, cloudy days are your best bet for fish on the surface. The rest of the time, your best action will come on nymphs and streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22. Find the right depth with your dropper and you will take plenty of trout.
THE BIG WOOD
The cold, wet weather in the valley has concentrated the fish in the winter holding water and the hatches have been reduced to a few midge late in the day. Still, the fish are hungry and if you find the right spot at the right time you will find fish. For flies, try a size 18 or 16 Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior or Bishop’s Dynamite or a larger size 8-12 Rubber Leg Stone, San Juan Worm, or a Czech style nymph. Dangle these bugs off a high floating dry, an indicator, or fish them Euro Style. The key to success when the water gets cold is to find the right depth. Remember that when the water temps drop, the takes can be subtle, so strike detection becomes paramount.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The Lost is typically low this time of year; however, flows have gone up as room is being made in the reservoir for next year’s snowmelt. The flow is currently at 400 CFS and at this level wading is difficult. Better fishing can be found on the Wood, Silver Creek, or the South Fork right now.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
It is that time of year when travel into the South Fork’s canyon requires a 4X4 with studded snow tires and chains. The road can be treacherous! The flows are holding steady at 300 CFS, which is ideal for walk and wade fishing. There has been a decent number of Baetis as well as Midge hatching in the late afternoon. Dry fly purists will find fish up in the slow, deep stretches selectively sipping up until the sun goes down. Nymphing remains productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs. Focus your attention on the seams and slower riffles for both trout and white fish.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood