Though all of our local rivers remain slightly above their normal annual stream flow for mid-July, fishing conditions have finally stabilized. The Big Wood is fishing exceptionally well with pronounced dry fly activity throughout the day while the Big Lost has been lowered to a fishable, though still high, water level. Silver Creek is fishing relatively well as we move toward the “Trico Madness” which waits right around the corner. The South Fork of the Boise and the Salmon River offer drift boat opportunities as well as some excellent walk and wade fishing near Stanley. Summer fishing is in full stride and the dry fly fishing couldn’t be more fun!!
The Creek has been fishing relatively well although slightly less productively than the prior two weeks. Baetis are the most numerous mayfly in the mornings with surges throughout the day. PMDs will still bring fish to the surface but the Browns and Rainbows have become a little more selective due to continued fishing pressure. If you look closely in the mornings, you will likely see a few Tricos mixed in with the other mayflies. These diminutive Tricorithodes will grow in number throughout the rest of July as we head toward the annual Trico spinnerfall which reaches its peak in the first ten days of August. Midday offers Damselflies and terrestrials on the moving water and Callibaetis on the still water. Caddis can be numerous in the evenings and well after dark on both sides of the highway.
Big Wood River
The Wood has been on fire the past ten days and will continue to be for the next two weeks or so. For the time being, there are several patterns working well including the Parachute Adams (size 12-16), Green Drake dun/cripple (size 12), orange, yellow or Royal Stimulators (size 12-16), Quill Gordon (size 14), PMD (size 16) and a variety of Caddis (size 12-16). Middays and afternoons are the most active periods for dry fly fishing but evenings on the Big Wood this time of year can be very exciting as the PMDs and Caddis become prevalent.
Big Lost River
The Big Lost has been lowered to 539 cfs which, though still a high flow for beneath the Mackay Dam, is at a fishable level for intrepid waders. PMDs (ephemerella deceptiva) in size 16 will be numerous on this waterway as well as Baetis (size 20-22). Look for Craneflies and imitate them with a quartering-down presentation while skipping them along the surface of the water. This technique can convince even the largest of Big Lost River trout to voraciously attack your “mosquito eater”. Fished under an indicator, large nymphs such as the Prince, King Prince and Flashback Pheasant Tail (size 12-16) will likely turn the most heads subsurface. Zebra Midges (size 18-22) are also a good option underwater.
Upper Big Lost
The East, North and West Forks of the Big Lost have dropped significantly and have begun to fish well. Use attractor patterns such as Royal Wulffs, Adams Wulffs, Royal Trudes, Gray Drakes, Stimulators and Caddis in sizes 12-16 and enjoy a beautiful day in the high country chasing Rainbows, Cutthroats, Cutbows, Brook Trout and Whitefish. Are the rumors of California Goldens and Grayling true? You better go find out!
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork of the Boise has been fishing very well. Fish have been rising aggressively to the Salmonfly as well as small gray and cream caddis. Pink Alberts, Baetis and a few PMDs may also be encountered on this tail water. At 1800 cfs, drift boating will be the most successful approach to this river and when all else fails, try large nymphs and streamers subsurface to entice the behemoth Rainbows and Bull Trout that lurk down deep.
The Salmon is fishing very well for both drift boaters and walk and wade fishermen. Although most of the Salmonflies have come and gone, Golden Stones (size 14-16), Gray Drakes (size 12), Orange-bodied Stones (size10-14), and PMDs (size 16) make for some superb dry fly action. In the evening massive clouds of Caddis descend upon the river bringing trout to the surface en masse. Try beige Elk Hair Caddis (size 16) and be ready for some hot and heavy action until darkness falls.