“There is nothing like the thrill of expectation over the first cast over unfamiliar waters. Fishing is like gambling, in that failure only excites hope of a fortunate throw next time.”
– Charles Dudley Warner
From moment to moment, rivers are in a constant state of change. Some change is subtle like a slight drop in flow or a rise in temperature. Some change is more dramatic. This year the Wood, along with many of our freestone rivers, has experienced a complete transformation due to extremely high runoff. If you head to the river expecting to find the same familiar waters of the past you will be in for a surprise. Over the next several months, fishing is going to be an exploration of unfamiliar waters. It is time to gamble and see what you find.
The Creek continues to fish well despite the early season angler pressure due to high water on our local freestones and tailwaters. Keep in mind that the fish on the Creek like to feed during the most comfortable times of the day and as we move towards higher average temperatures, expect to see more feeding activity in the morning and the evening. For the morning, expect the usual suspects: Baetis (size 20-22), Callibaetis Spinners (size 16), PMDs (size 16), and even some Tricos ( size 20, 22). The Tricos are just starting to show up on the Preserve and Pond stretches, but have been actively hatching around Point of Rocks and the Willows for the last week. This is not to say a savvy angler can’t find fish during the heat of the day. At the moment, the best dry fly action has been on Damsels in the late afternoon. So if you plan to fish all day, have a good variety of Blue Damsels along with Callibaetis, beetles, ants, and small hoppers. In the evenings, be prepared for caddis in a variety of sizes as well as big and small PMDs. Of course, remember to bring along your bug spray.
THE BIG WOOD
The Wood has cleared but remains high and very dangerous to wade. The most accessible portion of the river remains north of town. With all the new wood and debris in the river, a misstep could be deadly. Still, this is a good time to go look at the river at some of your favorite access points even if you are not fishing. You will find the the river completely changed. There are new braids up and down the river and if you can find some slower water in a shallower braid you will find some eager trout. Fishing the Wood over the next month is going to be really fun as we explore and discover new holding water. There are Green Drakes showing up sporadically and the fish are looking for a big meal.
This is the best option close to town for clear water and relatively easy wade fishing. Fish and Game has stocked around the bridges and there are good numbers of wild fish away from the easy access points. This river has very similar hatches to the Wood, and depending on where you are on the river you will find a mix of Green Drakes, PMDs, Caddis, and plenty of mosquitoes.
THE UPPER LOST
The East Fork above Wildhorse Creek is clear, but still very high; crossing the river can be done, but is limited and extremely difficult. A team of anglers can find some places that hold fish throughout a day of moving around the river from one access to another. Over the next week, more water should open and become fishable. This area is still not ready for large groups of anglers to spread out and cover water.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows remain too high to fish. We will need to wait until the end of July or even mid-August before we see wadable flows again on this fishery.
The river below Stanley is still high, but clear. We have started floating the river, but the fishing is challenging. In another week this river should come into its prime. Wade fisherman are finding decent fishing hole hopping up and down the river with big dries, large nymphs, and streamers.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows have come down to below 1,700 CFS, which is very good for drift boats but still high for wade fishing. Salmon Flies have been seen up and down the river and Cicadas are chirping in the trees making for perfect conditions to float large dries on the banks while drifting.
STILL WATER OPTIONS
As a result of the warmer weather, the fishing on Magic, the Little Wood, and Mackay reservoirs have slowed down considerably as the fish are seeking cooler, deeper water. However, if you go very early or late you can still find some fish cruising the shallow bays. As for techniques in all these reservoirs, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 or 5 sinking line. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can also be effective. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters. So drop 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