Due to a cold and wet spring, our local freestones are still flowing relatively high and fast for this time of the year. Luckily, as we head into July, our local waterways will continue to drop and clear and give us some of the best fly-fishing of the year. Look for the Big and Little Wood Rivers, Copper Basin and the Salmon to continue to drop while Silver Creek continues to fish well. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, the Big Lost remains too high to fish safely. Altogether, local fishing opportunities are on the brink of expanding and the fishing will start to heat up as summer arrives!
The Creek continues to fish well with good PMD and Baetis activity in the mornings and afternoon/evenings. PMDs in all phases can be thrown to sipping fish on 5X and 6X in size 14-16, while the diminutive Baetis should be thrown on 6X in size 20-22. Watch the rising carefully to discern whether the trout are feeding ON or just UNDER the surface. This will indicate if you should be offering emergers or duns to these highly selective fish. Damselflies will continue to increase in number and can be effective attractors during the middle of the day. Also numerous throughout midday is the Callibaetis, especially on the still-water sections of the Silver Creek Preserve. These sizeable Speckled-wing Duns are best imitated with gray mayfly patterns in size 14. Cripple patterns fished in a wind chop can often pull fish from the depths as well as nymphs and emergers sight-fished from the banks.
Big Wood River
The Big Wood water levels have increased slightly this week, but they will soon begin to drop back to more normal levels. For now, most fishermen are throwing large stonefly and mayfly nymphs such as the Green Drake (sizes 12-14) and Terranarsus (size 8-14). Bead-headed stonefly nymphs in black, brown and orange will sink quickly and attract the attention of Rainbows. Also try Woolly Bugger and Sculpin patterns in olive, black and brown. On the surface, the action is quickly heating up. Green Drakes midday will continue to be prolific. These large mayflies should be imitated with a variety of patterns from emergers to cripples to duns in size 12. PMDs have become numerous in the afternoons and fish are actively rising to these ephemerella on tippet as stout as 4X. A few Pink Alberts have been spotted lately and, along with the PMDs, should be cast in sizes 14-16. Expect to see a large population of stoneflies frequenting the Big Wood now in various sizes and colors including Californicus (size 8-10), Yellow Sallies (size 12-14), Lime Sallies (size 14-16) and orange and red-bodied stones (size 14-18).
Big Lost River and Copper Basin
The upper stretches of the Big Lost River system are clear although still flowing at a relatively high rate. As the snowpack diminishes and temperatures rise, these alpine streams will begin to fish well as insect activity increases and fish continue to migrate back up the system toward their summertime haunts. Gray Drakes (size 12), stimulators in a variety of colors (size 12-16), Parachute Adams (size 12-18), Royal Wulffs and Adams Wulffs (size 12-16) and Caddis (size12-16) will draw fish to the surface and make for excellent angling. Currently, the main stretch of the Big Lost remains too high to fish safely. Once the Lost drops below 500cfs it will be safe for wading and worth the drive over Trail Creek Pass.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork of the Boise will become a serious focus for anglers this upcoming month. Salmonflies, Caddis, Cicadas, Pink Alberts and Baetis will become the stars of the show. At nearly 2000cfs, this river is not safe for walk and wade fishing although it is a superb level for drift boating. Look for the number of anglers to increase as word of the Salmonfly emergence spreads. Streamers and Woolly Buggers are good patterns to dredge down deep when the surface activity subsides.
The Salmon River remains higher than average but is slowly dropping toward a more normal July flow. Currently, Slate Creek and East Fork are completely blown out making for very colored water below Clayton. Above Slate Creek to the Yankee Fork is fishable though high and dangerous wading. Above the Yankee Fork to Stanley, the water color is quite clear though higher than would be optimal. Salmonflies, Large Golden Stones, Drakes, PMDs and Caddis are the most prevalent insects on this waterway and their nymph and pupa stages can be also be thrown during less active surface feeding periods with good success.