This week's column is tough to write but is probably long overdue. Here we've moved into August and our fishing in general hasn't had its breakout moments. Sure, it's been decent and has been active enough to keep our interest. But it hasn't been the type of fishing I fully expected. Really, it's been a strange and "funky" year for fishing. Maybe it's something in the air but quite honestly, hatches have been all over the place in terms of consistency, quantity and overall effectiveness. We're still fighting water levels. Since hatch sizes tend to be small this time of year and as yet, insects go unnoticed and/or are of little consequence to the better fish. It is what it is and we all have to adapt. Water can't stay high forever so August should see a turn around.
SILVER CREEK—Fishing has been quite good with just enough bug activity to get fish working in the morning. But the overall bug quantity is generally weaker than normal. To the many fishermen dealing with Trico, that may be a good thing. At least it's manageable and workable, compared to past years with 60 bugs per square foot. Dave's Trico Spinner #22 and a Cut-Wing Trico Spinner #20-22 do the job—period. Beatis spinners (D. hageni) is also very important and a Mason Quill Beatis Spinner #22 is very effective. PMD spinners (E. dorthea inermis) have been very weak but the duns in the evenings have reportedly been strong. A PMD Parachute #18 or Cut-Wing Para #18 works well. Take advantage of the PMDs now for it will slide away quite soon. Callbeatis spinners and Blue Damsels have also been slim but Callibeatis duns will get very strong by the end of the month.
BIG WOOD RIVER—Funky at best, with water velocity complicating the issue. You can catch a boat-load of fish using Para Adams #16 or Tan Gulper Special #16 (fly size is becoming important) in the side or soft water, but the vast majority of these fish are quite small. They are driving everybody nuts. Midday and into the afternoon, there are hatches of Cream Duns #16 (E. deceptivus) and Beatis #18-20 (B. propingus) but because of water speed, they are not being picked up and are ignored by the larger fish. The hatches are also inconsistent from one day to the next. I had a great afternoon (heavy overcast) early last week with Beatis in the flats but the next day, same time, same place--Zippo. To catch the bigger fish, all of my recent fishing has been underneath using Flashback Pheasant Tails #14 and Copper Johns #14. Because Caddis are still about in the morning but with the adults being ignored, Olive Soft Hackles #14-16 all work with pretty good success. Right now, it's all about water speed and it will get better as time goes on.
WARM SPRINGS/TRAIL CREEK— Both are low and in great shape. Fish are smaller in size. A Para Adams #16, Para PMD #16 and a Bead Head Prince or Pheasant Tail #14 will take fish and provide a delightful few hours of fishing.
BIG LOST—Have had some good, solid reports on the upper main Lost but it is still carrying enough water that you need to be careful getting around. Para Adams #14, Stimulators #14 and small Golden Stones #12 seem to be the flies of choice. The water in the Basin is much lower and the same flies about one size smaller with a Prince Nymph added, should do the job. Not much change in the water levels on the Lower Lost. That situation makes things fishable but still tough to maneuver and wade. Prince Nymphs #10-12, Copper Johns #12, Olive Cranefly Larva #8 and San Juan Worms #10, with weight, will take fish. Until they turn the water down to below 400cfs, this is about what you can expect.
PENNY LAKE/LAKE CREEK—Planted on a regular basis and a great place for kids. Bait and flies are always effective.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE—Still at mid-season flows (1600 cfs) which is floating only to be effective. Look for Pink Alberts, Caddis and especially Green, Yellow and Tan Hopper patterns #8-10 for success.