“There is time to go long, time to go short and time to go fishing.”
– Jesse Livermore
Fly Fishermen understand anticipation; after all, our sport is predicated by watching and waiting. And as one season slowly turns to another, patience is required. Anticipation is piqued. There is a time for snow, turkey, and family. In the meanwhile, notch out some time to go fishing. The rivers await…
Winter weather is descending on the Valley; however, even with the colder, winter-like conditions, the Creek will still produced decent Baetis and Midge action. Keep in mind, it will be short, isolated, and late in the day. As always, cloudy days are your best bet for fish on the surface, otherwise nymphing will be most productive. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22. If you find the right depth with your dropper and you will take plenty of trout. Remember the Conservancy stretch and Purdy’s down to highway 20 will close at the end of November. From the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February.
The river has continued to drop and is in great shape heading into winter. Despite the relatively mild fall, the fish are concentrating in the winter holding water. Also, the Baetis and caddis hatches have disappeared. There are still a few midge late in the day. With winter coming, 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. Remember that when the water temps drop, the takes can be subtle; strike detection becomes paramount. Also, the fish need to be hooked, landed, and released as quickly as possible as their metabolism slows down. Learn how to properly use a Ketchum Release tool; It will save the fish from undue stress and keep your hands from getting wet.
THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is still open but could close any day. Check with us before you go and we will let you know if you will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The Lost is low and the fish have been spooky. The flow is around 69 CFS and at this level the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and in the riffles at the head of these runs. Be stealthy and you will find success. Expect to find some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching in the afternoons. For the risers, you will need long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies to match. Nymphing will produce the most consistent action. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Be sure you are prepared for winter travel if you head the the South Fork. While the road conditions are fine at the moment, that can change rapidly. Be sure your 4X4 is equipped with studded snow tires and chains. As for the fishing, the flows are rock steady at 306 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 Lost