Now that fall is officially here, my column will appear on a biweekly basis. I'll try to convey what is presently occurring but what you can expect in the days to come. Fall is the greatest time of the year and currently, fishing has been very good. That's despite the fact that some hatches have either been untimely, non-existent or about ready to disappear for the year. If this sounds odd, it's been that kind of year. In general, all of the best activity will officially shift to the very late morning (if it stays warm) into the afternoon. As the days progressively get cooler, you can also eliminate much of the evening activity as well. Let's have a look:
SILVER CREEK—The Creek has been both up and down. It just depends on what day you hit. At times it is relatively easy. At other times it can be tougher than weather-worn leather. Trico has shown up occasionally but I wouldn't put my money on its future. Beatis spinners will always be lingering and a Mason Quill Beatis Spinner #22 is a deadly weapon. It's Callibeatis that has been a bit funky. It should be strong through this week but the hatch now drops in size and this is critical. Size 18s are out, size 20s are in. A Thorax Speckled Dun #20 (I've been known to trim hackle on it), a Slate/Gray No Hackle #20 and a Crippled Callibeatis #20 should do the job. Finally, we're now approaching the in-between stage in hatches and are 10 days away from which, in my judgment, will be the greatest time on the Creek (BWO and Paraleps). Stay tuned.
BIG WOOD RIVER—Has been fishing well despite the fact that some of our hatches have been absent and some creativity has been needed to take the better fish. Trico has been strong in the morning but I don't expect it to last much longer. Parachute Trico Dun #20-22 or a Para Adams #20-22 does the job. The biggest disappointment has been the lack of the Red Quill (T. Hecuba). It has always been a hatch that tends to be cyclical from one year to the next but this year I thought conditions were ripe for a good one. So far, it hasn't come to be. A few (very few) duns have been seen but what concerns me the most is complete lack of nymphs found throughout the system. Because it can last into late September, I suggest that a Mason Red Quill #10-12, Mason Red Quill Cripple #12 and a Para Hare's Ear #10-12 be carried but the glimmer of hope I have is beginning to fade. As a result, Hoppers either Parachute or Rubber Leg's #10-12 have been very successful moving the better fish on most but not all of the river stretches. Beatis and some Flying Black and Cinnamon Ants have been seen in the late afternoon. A BWO Parachute #20 (18s get refusals) and Black and Cinnamon Flying Ants #14 will produce results. Prince Nymphs #12 and Pheasant Tail Nymphs #14 work underneath.
BIG LOST—The upper river (East Fork-North Fork) continues to fish very well and has been where a great deal of activity has taken place this year. The Cutthroat population is strong and Para Adams #14-16, Para Lt' Cahill (PMD) #14, Para Tan Hoppers #12 and Para Hare's Ear #14-16 are all taking fish. The lower river is now in very prime shape. Trico is still seen but the next real hatch of consequence won't be seen until October. Tan Gulper Specials #16 are taking some fish on the surface but the nymph has and continues to reign supreme at this time of year for the bigger fish. Prince Nymphs #10-12 and Copper Johns #12-14 are always my fly of choice. In addition, some split-shot added can be helpful getting the fly down.
WARM SPRINGS/TRAIL CREEK—Both are in low water conditions but fishing has been very active and productive. The fish are not necessarily big but the fishing is just fun. Parachute Adams #14-16 and a Bead Head Prince #14 are about all you need. If you want to learn or teach somebody to fish a dryfly or nymph successfully and with lots of activity, these streams would be a good choice.
PENNY LAKE/LAKE CREEK/GAVER'S LAGOON (Hayspur Fish Hatchery)—All have holdover planted fish with Gravers at Hayspur Hatchery getting the bulk of the larger trout. All should fish very well until either the fish are gone or until they ice over. Bait and flys should both do well.