As we approach the end of June and the high mountain runoff decreases, it looks like we’ll finally be able to access our local waterways. As the water continues to drop and clear, the Big Wood River will offer excellent dry and wet fly fishing for the remainder of the summer and into the fall. Silver Creek has fished well since the season opener and will continue to see strong PMD and Baetis activity for the coming weeks. The Big Lost remains unsafe for fishing with flows around 700 cfs, but the South Fork of the Boise, still flowing at a torrential pace, does offer drift boat fishermen opportunities with upcoming Salmonfly, Caddis and Cicada hatches. The Salmon River continues to drop as various Stonefly and Mayfly emergences are only weeks away. The conditions are variable throughout the area, but as summer heats up, the fly fishing proves to be exciting and challenging.
Last week’s warmer temperatures prompted the most impressive entomological activity of the current fishing season. PMDs (sizes 14-18) were present in respectable numbers in tandem with Baetis emergences and spinner falls (sizes 20-22). A few Green Drakes emerged midday while the Callibaetis numbers started to build in the still water sections of the Preserve. Try a variety of Speckled Wing duns (sizes 14-16) on the surface when the wind creates rough water. When the water is less disturbed, throw nymph and emerger patterns both cast and stripped as well as dead-sunk to the muddy bottom. Trout will soon be feeding reactively to hoppers and other summer terrestrials which are excellent options during the middle of the day, primarily when the Camas Prairie breeze blows forcefully from the west.
Big Wood River
The Big Wood has lowered and cleared to the point where fishing can now be a serious consideration. The chocolate milk colored water has become moderately clear and more fishable as the majority of the mountain snowpack has melted and flushed down the river system. Large attractor patterns such as Stimulators, Turk’s Tarantulas, Salmonflies, Parachute Adams and Green Drakes (sizes 12-16) can be effective in raising trout to the surface. Large nymphs will also attract the rainbows of the Big Wood such as Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails and Stonefly nymphs (sizes 12-16). The Green Drake hatch, one of the premier emergences of the summer, is quickly approaching. The main Green Drake activity occurs midday and can last for more than two hours.
Big Lost River and Copper Basin
The Big Lost River is flowing too high for safe wading below Mackay Reservoir. The East Fork of the Big Lost and Copper Basin area should be fishable in the next week or so. When this river system lowers, Rainbow, Cutthroat, Cuttbow, Brook, Bull Trout and Whitefish will offer a wonderful summer of fly fishing for beginner, intermediate and expert fly fishermen alike. Wading near the mouth of the East Fork can be a little dangerous before it lowers to its summer flow, be cautious as you navigate this stream through the deep cuts and canyons.
South Fork of the Boise
Fishing camps have begun to take root on the South Fork of the Boise as Salmonfly addicts start to focus on the upcoming hot and heavy Teranarsis action. Soon Stoneflies will begin to become prevalent accompanied by significant Caddis presence as the Black Cicadas begin to sing. Drift boating is the name of the game currently and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Try large nymphs and streamers down deep if the surface activity is minimal or in the mornings before adult insects surge to the river surface.
The Salmon has dropped and cleared significantly in the last 2 weeks. The upper river between the Yankee Fork and Stanley is fairly clear and offers reasonable fishing. The water below the East Fork is off color but should clear just in time for a few Large Golden Stoneflies to make their annual appearance.