And everything under the sun is in tune. But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
– Pink Floyd
If you have not heard, the Sun Valley and Stanley area is in the path of totality for the solar eclipse occurring Monday, August 21st. We expect a massive influx of visitors and congestion on all our roadways starting around the 18th. There is much debate about the impacts the eclipse will have on the fishing and frankly there is only one way to find out…go fishing. No doubt the human behavior will be stranger than the trout. In the meanwhile, everything under the sun is in tune and the fishing continues to be very good as we enjoy the benefits of an extraordinary water year.
The early morning Tricos remain brief, but they are accompanied by a decent Baetis spinner fall and the fish have been podding up to feast once the air temp gets close to 60 degrees. In addition, there is an occasional Callibaetis spinner or drowned Damsel drifting by throughout the morning. Traditionally, this week and the next are the peak of the Trico hatch, and then we should see it slowly dwindle as we head into the latter part of August. If you go, be sure you have the right leader, tippet and flies to fish this hatch. I recommend a 12-foot leader to 6X along with Trico and Baetis spinners in size 22 and 24. The fish can be very selective at this stage of the hatch and a perfect drift matched with the right fly are a must to be successful. During the middle of the day, the Damsels are the main fare, but the fish have become quite selective so have a few different Damsel patterns to try and be prepared to drop to lighter tippet. Hoppers, beetles, and ants are also working if there is a slight wind chop on the surface. In the evenings, there is a smorgasbord of bugs right at sun down. For twilight fishing, always have a few flies that are easy to see in the fading light.
THE BIG WOOD
More and more of the Wood keeps opening up every week and anglers are finding fish that have not seen a fly since March. Still, wading the river below Ketchum remains a challenge, and the river north of town continues to see most of the angling pressure. Anglers who can find their way around the river are finding lots of little fish on dries and a few larger trout with nymphs. The best approach to the Wood is to move around and explore several different access points. There are a mix of bugs fluttering about including PMDs, Pinks, and caddis.
WARM SPRINGS & TRAIL CREEK
These rivers are a great alternative for those seeking a small stream experience but don’t have the time to drive over the hill to the Copper Basin. Fish and Game has stocked these rivers around the bridges and anywhere the rivers near the road. If you wish to seek wild fish, just leave the beaten path and explore. Expect to see PMDs, Pink Alberts, Caddis, and some Spruce Moths.
THE UPPER LOST
Now that the East Fork above Wildhorse Creek has dropped, the fishing pressure has dramatically increased as well. Still, persistent anglers are finding a decent mix of small Brook Trout, Grayling, Rainbows, Cutbows, Cutthroat trout, and Mountain Whitefish. The key is to cover a lot of water throughout the day. Some anglers are finding a few fish in both the North and West forks of the Lost as well. The main stem is still a bit high for comfortable wading.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows are down to 430 CFS. Keep in mind, ideal flows begin around 350 CFS. While these flows are still very high, some fishing has opened up for those who are willing to brave the strong currents and the nymphing can be good. We still expect the flows to rise again once demand for water down stream increases. With the flows going up and down, the fishing is unpredictable.
Flows below Stanley remain ideal and the fishing is still quite good. However, the fish are becoming weary of large stimulators and foam flies. It is best to size down to match the Yellow Sallies or Spruce Moths while working the banks. Wade fishing above and below town is also quite good as well. The Chinook season has come to a close for the year.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows remain at around 1,600 CFS. This flow is very good for drift boats, but limits the wade fishing. The fish along the banks have seen a lot of foam bodied flies and seem to have developed an aversion to them. Anglers tossing flies with less dressing are finding more success along with small droppers. The Pink Alberts have picked up in the afternoon depending on your location and the Caddis remain strong in the evenings. Skittering crane flies is also turning some fish.
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 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