“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
The Sun Valley Symphony Season has arrived and fly fishing is a great way to spend the day prior to enjoying the music. After all, there is a musical quality to fly fishing and rivers if one cares to listen. The fly rod whispers as it swishes fore and aft, the same sound the wind makes over a wing in flight. If done right, the fly and line land without a sound and the take of the trout, too, is silent. As line peels off a classic click and pawl reel, the air is suddenly filled with a mechanical crescendo matched only by the clatter of grasshoppers. Riffles sound like muffled laughter and rapids a thunderous applause. The symphony is complete, the trout is quickly released, and the music begins again.
The Nature Conservancy continues to restrict access to the Preserve due to the low dissolved oxygen content of the water. The hours for fishing will be from 10 AM to 10 PM. With the Preserve restricting access in the early mornings, this is a good time to go explore the other parts of the Creek like the Willows, Point of Rocks or Priest Rapids. On a side note, downstream of the Conservancy, in the newly restored Kilpatrick Pond, the water is a few degrees cooler and preliminary reports indicate that the water exiting the Pond is cooler on average than last years temps at this same time. As for the Tricos, they have been hit or miss lately depending on the winds and where you are on the Creek. The Baetis have been more consistent in the morning and fishing a small 22 or 24 Hen Winged Baetis Spinner during the Trico spinner fall is very effective. As we head into August, the midday Callibaetis in the Pond area should start to pick up. Be sure to have all phases of this bugs covered from emergers, to duns and spinners in a variety of patterns. Remember this is one of the few mayflies impervious to windy conditions. The evening fishing remains spectacular with a smorgasbord of bugs hitting the water as the sun goes down.
With the arrival of August we can expect the Wood to get a bit more technical. Still angler’s willing to make a few tactical changes will remain successful. First, anglers should consider being more stealthy; longer casts and lighter tippet may be required. Also, fishing smaller dry flies (Tricos , midge and Baetis) and nymphs will become the norm. Most importantly is line management; all presentations should be made in a manner which allows the angler to quickly set the hook. This requires managing your line both on the water and in the hands with precision. August fish will show no mercy to anglers with sloppy line management skills. As for the fish, start looking for them to hold in the shallow riffles during the heat of the day seeking extra oxygen and food. When required, using flies that match the hatch will be most effective; however, searching with standard patterns is still effective. Try small (12-16) yellow Stimulators, Parachute Hare’s Ear, Adams, or Purple Haze trailed by a Rainbow Warrior, Zebra Midge, or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 or 18. The best fishing windows are early and late.
Fishing these tributaries to the Wood can be good if you are looking for easy wading. Fish and Game has recently stocked these rivers and it shouldn’t be hard to find willing trout to take a fly.
THE BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows have fluctuated a bit, but are holding somewhere above or below 200 CFS. The Trico hatch continues to gain momentum in the AM and the fish are beginning to get more selective, so having a good selection of Silver Creek style patterns to match this hatch is essential. During the pre or post hatch activity, fishing Small Zebra midge, Iron Lotus, Pheasant Tails, Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 18 is productive. If you can stick out the late afternoon slump, the action picks up again in the late evening when the Caddis come out.
THE UPPER LOST
Fishing opportunities can still be found up the East Fork, Wild Horse and North Fork; however, most of the action has shifted to the main stem of the upper Lost below the North Fork confluence. While not huge numbers of fish are being caught, the quality of the fish is outstanding. Be prepared to search large sections of river with hoppers and small nymphs.
Below Torrey’s Landing the floating is still good and many anglers are enjoying the plentiful walk and wade opportunities above and below the town of Stanley. Dry fly action is still good with fish looking for spruce moths and hoopers throughout the day. Plenty of whitefish can be caught if you choose to fish a beaded nymph. Hopper dropper rigs are very productive. Anglers can find plenty of stocked and wild fish if you choose to explore one of the many tributaries to the Salmon including Valley, Marsh, and Bear Valley Creeks.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are up a tad to 1,700 CFS, otherwise not much has changed on this tailwater fishery. Midge and Pink Alberts are the main staple for the fish, but the dry fly fishing is spotty. Fishing the side channels and shallow riffles is most productive with large stone fly nymphs and small midge imitations. If you are looking for an alternative venue to fish, the upper reaches of the South Fork above Anderson Reservoir can be fun.
Penny, Lake Creek and Gavers Lagoon have been recently stocked and can provide a nice day for a family picnic or if you are looking for something to fry for dinner. Come on by the shop and we can provide you with the appropriate bait or suggest some flies that will work.
Shop our House of Harrop Fly selection!
Current Water Flows
Upper Big Lost
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise