The opening week of fishing was a mixed bag in the Sun Valley Area offering wind, rain, sleet and periods of sunshine. Silver Creek was the most visited of our local waterways with sometimes crowded fishing conditions under mostly cloudy skies. The Big Wood River has spiked in the last 24 hours and in all likelihood will not be fishable for another 2 or 3 weeks. There has been enough run off to put the Salmon River on hold for another couple weeks, while the Big Lost is fishing well and flowing at less than 200 cubic feet per second. The reports from the South Fork of the Boise were better than expected as fishermen were having good luck with large attractor patterns and terrestrials. The weather report for the upcoming week is mostly inclement but does appear to warm up in the middle of next week.
The Creek fished relatively well for opening week, especially considering an abundance of wind, rain and clouds. When the sun did come out long enough to warm the air and water, insect activity increased and fish were actively feeding. PMDs (size 16) are the prime patterns with a few Baetis making an appearance. Generally the action heats up in the mid-morning as the Pale Morning Duns arrive and the fish voraciously look toward the water’s surface. During midday, terrestrial fishing with ants and beetles is effective in the moving water as well as moderate Callibaetis emergence on the slack water on the Silver Creek Preserve. PMD fishing in the mid-afternoon is also a prime attraction for Silver Creek fishermen on both sides of the highway. As June progresses, some of the year’s best fishing can be found at Silver Creek. A warmer, consistent weather pattern will bring regularity to the insect activity at the Creek and a few new bugs will become prominent such as Prairie Caddis and Brown Drakes.
Big Wood River
The Big Wood fished relatively well for opening weekend with fishermen finding decent results using large nymphs such as Princes, Flashback Pheasant Tails and Green Drake Poxybacks (sizes 12-16) as well as stripping Woolly Buggers and Mortgage Makers. In the last 24 hours, the river level spiked to over 900 cfs and has become off color, rendering it un-fishable. With a fair amount of high mountain snow remaining and continued precipitation and warmer temperatures in the forecast, it may be a couple of weeks until this river is fishable again.
Big Lost River and Copper Basin
The waters over Trail Creek summit will improve as June continues and currently the Big Lost is fishing well at a very low and wadeable level. Baetis will be present along with midges on the surface. Subsurface, try large nymphs, such as Princes, Flashback Pheasant Tails and Green Drake Poxybacks, along with San Juan Worms and Copper Johns to produce strikes. Cranefly Pupa can still elicit movement from large Rainbows when fished into the heads and tails of runs and holes. Check the stream flow data at the USGS website before traveling over the hill as the flow is regulated at the Mackay Dam and can be altered significantly at any time throughout the spring. The Copper Basin will improve as the runoff filters through the system and the water levels become low and clear. As temperatures rise and the insect activity increases, many trout will migrate their way back up the system toward the skinnier water which should lead to a superb summer of fishing these alpine streams.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork of the Boise is flowing at its springtime norm of 1600 cfs which is an excellent level for drift boating. Anglers on the South Fork found success throwing Chernobyl Ants, Caddis and Royal Wulffs, Trudes and other attractors. Stripping leeches, streamers and Woolly Buggers can also work well in this cold tail water. The real action, including blanket Caddis hatches, Cicadas and Salmon Flies, is only a few more weeks away.
The Salmon is showing strong signs of runoff, especially downstream of the East Fork. The higher reaches of the Salmon are fairly low and clear and are certainly fishable as long as Valley Creek and Basin Creek do not add a lot of runoff to the system. Large attractors with large nymph droppers are worth considering or try a double nymph dropper set up focused mostly on caddis pupa and stonefly nymphs. Expect this river to catch on fire as the summer progresses offering excellent dry fly fishing and a shot at a Chinook Salmon over the 4th of July holiday! Wading this river is a bit treacherous as flows are strong but drift boating is certainly an option. Do be cautious if you try to float this river at current flows as exiting the river can be difficult and dangerous. More than one boat has already been washed past its takeout this season!