“About the only certainty, other than uncertainty, in fly fishing is that a fly won’t catch a fish if it stays in its box.” ~ Arnold Gingrich
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony is coming to an end and many schools around the country are beginning again. These things are as certain as “death and taxes.” So if you have been putting off fly fishing this summer, get out while the days are still warm enough to wet wade, the Tricos are still alight in the morning air, and the hoppers are clattering up and down the valley. Simple truths are often the most obvious…you can’t catch fish if your flies are not on the water.
The Creek has been seeing relatively light angler pressure lately as the Tricos wane and we wait for the Callibaetis to ramp up in the afternoons. In the morning you will still find decent bugs (Tricos, Baetis, PMDs, and Callibaetis) with the peak surface activity between 9 and 11 AM. After the morning activity, the fish will start looking for hoppers, beetles and ants blown into the river as well as any remaining Damsels that may be fluttering about. Of course, which bug you find in the most abundance will depend on where you are on the Creek. If the wind blows the hatch off, nymphing with small Baetis, Midge, or Trico nymphs can save the day. If you stay into the afternoon and evening, look for the Callibaetis hatch to really get going in the pond. Remember, while fishing the Creek this season can be spectacular at times, the fishing in general remains spotty due to low water and erratic hatches. Much of the walk and wade portions of the Preserve are simply too shallow forcing most of the fish to seek the protection of deeper, cooler water
The Wood has fished well this August for small fish with the occasional larger fish and should continue to do so. The key is finding water that has not been overly pressured. The fishing really seems to turn on mid morning and can stay good most of the day with a lull in the late afternoon before the evening hatch. Depending on where you are on the river, you may find good numbers of Tricos anytime between 9 and 11AM. Use your Silver Creek arsenal and skills on these fish. There are also good numbers of Caddis throughout the day and a mix of mayflies including Pink Alberts, Rusty Spinners, Baetis and PMDs. Black ants and hoppers are worth a go during the heat of the day. If there are no visible feeders, a dry dropper rig is very effective. For a nymph try a small brown, black, olive, or red Zebra Midge beneath your favorite hopper or parachute pattern. Euro nymphing is very effective this time of year as well with a double nymph rig. Try a large Beaded Pheasant Tail trailed by a more diminutive Zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’s Dynamite in the faster water.
If you love fishing small creeks, Warm Springs is just the place. As you work through a stretch of river keep in mind the fish will be concentrated in the deeper water and around cover. Be stealthy and you will have a chance of fooling the wily, wild fish. For beginners, Fish and Game keeps this river well stocked around the bridges. Fly wise, try yellow or orange Stimulators or Spruce Moth patterns for dries. Tying on a dropper is a good idea as well; Bishop’s Dynamite, Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs all work well.
The fire near Stanley Lake is out! The upper river is very low and perfect for wade fishing, and we are still floating the lower river for at least another few weeks. The fishing is good on both the upper and lower Salmon River and spruce moth patterns have been turning fish along the stretches of river lined with evergreens. Even if you don’t see any bugs in the air, try using a tan stone fly in size 14 to 8 trailed by a smaller beaded nymph like a Pheasant Tail or a Bishop’s Dynamite in the shallow riffles above the deeper runs. You might also try swinging black, brown, and olive streamers or buggers.
BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows have dropped for the second time this summer to just below 400 CFS. Be sure to check before you go and know they may go up, or down, while you are there. As a general rule, if the flows are above 350 CFS it is very difficult to wade comfortably. With the high flows, the fish are early fishing on the surface and nymphing is the most productive technique even though there are scads of Tricos, Baetis, and PMDs in the air throughout the morning into the early afternoon. Try a variety of different nymphs: San Juan Worms, King Prince, PTs, and small Beatis and Midge patterns. You might also try a dancing large crane fly pattern; we have a great selection of Mackay Specials.
UPPER BIG LOST
With the cooler morning temps, the fishing is best late in the morning into the afternoon. The water is very low and the trout are concentrated in the best water. As a result the fish have seen some pressure over the last several weeks. As a rule, if the fish are there, you will catch them on the first few well presented casts; if nothing moves to strike your fly, move to the next spot. The most successful anglers cover large expanses of water. For flies, try small hoppers, caddis, stimulators and other small high vis attractors with a trailing nymph such as a Zebra Midge, a Bishop’s Dynamite, or a Beaded Pheasant Tail.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Not much has changed here all summer. The flows remain around 1700 CFS. While drifting, try hoppers along with a trailing nymph to search the bank. Pinks Alberts have been spotty, but should continue to hatch throughout the day depending on where you are on the river. Be sure to have this pattern in a cripple for selective fish. In the evenings, caddis are still the main course. Nymphing the riffles and seams with large stone fly imitations, caddis larva, and small zebra midge is effective all day for trout and whitefish.
STILLWATERS & LOCAL WATERS
Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon have been stocked and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season. These are great places for a family picnic or a fly fishing lesson. Whatever style of fishing you want to do, we are your headquarters, so drop on by and we will make sure you have the right gear to be successful.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Lost