My final report of 2014 will hopefully carry you through the rest of the fall and into the early winter. It’s been an interesting year to say the least. We’ve seen plenty, from the restructuring on Silver Creek to the muddy water conditions on both the Big Wood and South Fork of Boise reflecting past fires, and the exceptionally low flows on the lower Big Lost. My early Christmas wish list for 2015 would be heavy snowpack and the water that comes with it. Good for skiing, it would recharge aquifers and fill reservoirs and with a heavy runoff in the spring. It would scour and clean out the mud build-up that occurred in August. Currently, fishing has been quite good and this fall should be no exception. Have nice, fun and safe winter. Keep your fingers crossed on a good snow year and I will talk to you next spring.
SILVER CREEK—Short and simple. The afternoon fall Beatis (B. tricaudatus) and the Slate Mahogany Duns (Paraleptophlebia) should carry us through October or until the snow flies. Para Lt. Olive Beatis #20, Mason Beatis Nymph or Pheasant Tail Nymphs #18 and Thorax or Parachute Slate Mahogany Duns #16 should get the job done depending what’s on the water. Browns will be spawning in earnest and various egg patterns and small Wooly Buggers and Jigs will entice them to take. The waters above Magic on the lower Wood are a great place to find Browns as well.
LITTLE WOOD—I never talk about this water system during the hot summer months, yet the Little Wood can be a real sleeper this time of year. Back in 1971, before I was brought here by Bill Janss a year later, my dear friend Jack Hemingway invited me fish his beloved, recently purchased Bear Tracks section on a mid-October weekend. Knowing and instantly recognizing the fall Beatis hatch we encountered but at the time, not fully grasping its large distribution throughout the area, a docile river with seemingly minimal fish populations exploded into more fish and great fish than I could count or catch. It’s been a while since I have ventured forth but if you are in the area and looking for something new, it could provide a memorable afternoon.
BIG WOOD RIVER—Hatches will be dwindling and minimal at best. But decent surface, albeit smaller fish size, can still be found using Para Adams and Para Hares Ear #14-16. For the bigger fish, nymphing is your preferred choice until Midge activity occurs in the spring. Green Drake Nymphs #12-14, Prince Nymphs #12-14, Hares Ear Nymphs #14 and Flashback Pheasant Tails #12 should find and turn some nice fish.
LOWER BIG LOST RIVER—Because of low water flows through much of the summer, it has been a spectacular fishing season in the Mackay area.Although not quite at winter flow rates, the water is low and one of the best hatches of year, the Fall Beatis (see Silver Creek, Little Wood etc.) at its peak in October, will cause the river to explode with feeding fish in the afternoon. If you’re looking for some fish that can tear tackle up, Prince Nymphs #10-12, Copper John’s #12 and San Juan Worms will find them.
STEELHEAD OUTLOOK—Reportedly, the number counts are very strong. Although it’s a long haul, I’ve had some nice results from early fish arrivals in and around the City of Salmon/North Fork area. It’s always wise to check on things before you go.
PENNY LAKE/GAVER’S LAGOON (HAYSPUR)—Both should have some holdover trout from the summer and should fish well until it freezes over.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE—Now at winter flows of 300 cfs, it’s been a tough, tough year on this fabled river. As a result, I can’t give it a favorable nod from this point forward. Let’s hope for a strong winter snowpack and a good spring flushing to help its recovery.