“This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.”
– John Steinbeck
All good anglers seem to have a common trait; they are relentless seekers. And it is this tireless exploration that makes some fly fisherman among the most optimistic, patient, and intellectually curious of our kind. The exploration often begins with a question: What time will the hatch be today? Why did I spook that fish? What is the right fly to fool the finicky trout of Silver Creek? How do I attain a better presentation? Where will I fish today even though the water is high? This I believe: fly fishing done well, like life, is constant exploration.
The hatch activity is still sporadic on the Creek. There are some Tricos on the lower river, and while a few have been spotted on the Preserve, it may still be a week before we see a sustained spinner fall here. The best dry action has come form a smattering of Callibaetis throughout the morning and early afternoon. Damsels are starting to taking center stage during the heat of the day. The warm weather has moved the active feeding to earlier in the day, so getting an early start is not such a bad idea. If you go and find fish feeding on the surface, you will want to have a good selection of Harrop’s Baetis in size 18 and 20, PMDs in size 16, Callibaetis Duns, and Spinners and Cripples in size 14 and 16. Remember these fish are exceptionally picky about drift; you will even see them reject naturals if they don’t look right. Be sure to fish a long leader of at least 12 feet down to 6X and present the fly down or down and across on a slack line drift. If it is an off day for hatch activity, you can still find fish willing to eat on the surface. Have a good selection of ants and beetles from size 12 to 16 for this situation. If you stay late, have some tan and olive Caddis in size 16 and 18.
THE BIG WOOD
North of town the river is half the size of what it was a week ago and several seams, buckets, and side channels have become fishable; more water should open over the next week as the river continues to drop. At the moment it is still too high and fast to safely cross and those wading should always wear a wading belt. South of town, the river is still dangerously high and off color, but even this should improve over the next week. For those willing to scout and find the fishable water be sure to have a good supply of heavy nymphs as there is a lot of new debris and snags in the water. We may start to see a few Golden Stoneflies and Green Drakes over the next week. This is traditionally a good time for big flies, both nymphs and dries. We have a great selection of high floating dries and weighted nymphs for mining the depths.
Traditionally, this is the first of the main tributaries of the Wood to drop and clear, and this year it is true to form. While the flows have dropped, the river is still difficult wading and still has limited access. The flows are high enough that Fish and Game has not yet stocked around the bridges, but there are plenty of wild fish to be found if you can find some slow water.
The upper reaches of the Lost are still very high, but intrepid anglers are finding a few slow seems and buckets to catch fish. Over the next week, more water should open and become fishable here as well. This area is still not quite ready for large groups of anglers to spread out and cover water, but one or two fisherman working as a team can find a few fish. Focus your attention above Wildhorse Creek if you do go.
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 Upper Salmon above the town of Stanley has cleared and anglers have found some fishable water even though it is still very high. The river below Stanley is still high and slightly off color, but should become fishable within a week. If you are interested in fishing this area, please check with the shop and we will let you know when we will begin to float with regularity.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Reports are limited since the river just opened to access on the 30th, but Salmon Flies have been seen on the lower river and Cicadas are chirping up and down the river. The flows have come down to 2,700 CFS, which is still high, but floatable, for experienced oarsmen. Please remember to scout the river before you float as the high flows over the last few months may have added some obstacles in the river.
If you are looking for an alternative to Silver Creek, both Magic, the Little Wood and Mackay reservoirs are fishing well. You can fish from shore or a float tube with ease, just be aware of the high afternoon winds that can make boating unsafe. 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 or chironomids at the right depth can also be effective at both locations. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.
It is time to take the family to Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon. All the ponds 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 on by before you take your family fishing and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
The Big Wood
South Fork of the Boise