“The great charm of fly fishing is that we are always learning; no matter how long we have been at it, we are constantly making some fresh discovery, picking up some new wrinkle. If we become conceited through great success, someday the trout will take us down a peg.” ~ Theodore Gordon
As we roll into August, we cannot rely on the successes we had while fishing in July. The water is getting lower, the flies are getting smaller, and the fish are becoming more selective. It is time to up our game. Plan on attending one of our free casting clinics to help refine a skill, or hire a guide and let him/her teach you a new wrinkle. Let August be a time for fresh discovery.
The most dependable part of the Creek lately has been the wind. This has made the small bug fishing, Tricos and Baetis, very unpredictable. It has, however, made for some spectacular Damsel fishing in the afternoon as the wind knocks singles and mating pairs down onto the water. Watch for aggressive takes near the rafts of weeds contrasting with the subtle sips on the remaining small mayflies. This indicates the fish have begun taking Damsels. For those who go early, you will see a complex array of bugs in the air and on the water: Tricos, Baetis, PMDs, and Calibaetis. To be successful, you will need to have all these bugs in their various forms. Lately the diminutive Baetis seem to out shine the other insects in numbers and as a result the fish tend to focus on them. As the morning activity wanes, the Damsels take center stage. That said, the fishing in general remains spotty on the Creek. 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 is rebounding from a few tough years of drought and fire. With this years snow pack, the flows remain excellent and most of the soot has been washed away. Also, there are good numbers of small fish from 3 to 8 inches throughout the river. Be kind to these little jewels as they are the future of this fishery. If you keep searching, you will find some very healthy larger fish. In the mornings, there have been good hatches of Tricos and PMDs, and during the heat of the day, grass hoppers have been clattering up and down the banks. Caddis remain very good in the evening. Fishing small parachute patterns or dry dropper rigs in the shallow riffles and seams along the sides of the heavy water is effective. Also, fishing Euro style while nymphing will allow you hook up with the quick eats that happen in August. For flies try small (12-16) yellow Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Hare’s Ear, Adams, or Purple Haze trailed by a Rainbow Warrior, Zebra Midge, or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 18 and 16.
The flows are getting low making the wading very easy. If this sounds good, then Warms Springs is a great option for you. With the low flows, the fish are concentrated in the deeper water and around cover; you will need to employ stealth to fool the wild fish. For some easy fishing, Fish and Game keeps this river well stocked around the bridges. 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.
With the appearance of the Spruce Moths, the dry fly fishing has really improved and should continue to be productive. Now that the flows have dropped, the upper river around Stanley is very easy to walk and wade. If you like to fish from a drift boat, the lower river remains very floatable. For the Spruce Moth, a size 16 or 14 cream colored Elk Hair Caddis or Yellow Stimulator works well. Focus on the areas that are heavily wooded and you will find the moth. Fishing dry dropper style with size 14-16 bead head nymphs is also productive for trout and whitefish. Of course, Valley, Marsh, and Bear Valley Creeks are all fishing well for those looking for small streams to wade fish.
BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows seem to change daily on the river and could be anywhere from 400 to 500 CFS; be sure to check before you go. For most, flows above 400 CFS are simply too high to wade comfortably. For those willing to seek fishable water, nymphing is the most productive technique even though there are some Tricos, Baetis, and PMDs in the air throughout the morning. Try a variety of different nymphs: San Juan Worms, King Prince, PTs, and small Beatis and Midge patterns. Large crane flies may be skittering across the water,so have some Mackay Specials in your box.
UPPER BIG LOST
This area has received a lot of fishing pressure over the last month and as a result the fishing can be unpredictable. For best results, stay mobile and cover a ton of water. The river is very fishable up and down the entire system and you should be able to find your own stretch of river to enjoy. Remember, these fish are opportunistic feeders and they will often take the first presentation, but seldom give you a second chance. For flies, try Parachute Adams, PMD or Purple Haze along with small nymphs, like Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamite, Pheasant tails or Prince Nymphs.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows remain around 1700 CFS. For drift boaters, hoppers along with a trailing nymph are a good way to search the banks. You might try a double hopper rig with one high floating hopper and the other just below the surface. Pinks Alberts continue to hatch throughout the day. You will want to have this pattern in a cripple for selective fish. Also, be sure to have some crane flies to skitter across the riffles. 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
This is a good 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.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Lost