It finally feels like true fall fishing has arrived in the valley. For fly fisherman and fish, fall signals the last good wave of hatches before the onset of winter. The surface feeding window tends to shift from the morning to the afternoon and it can also shrink in duration, but when the bugs are out, the feeding can be intense. Multiple techniques can also be productive when the fish are not up on the surface. This is a great time of year to hone your streamer skills or to work on sight nymphing. Either way, get out and enjoy!
BIG WOOD RIVER—The cottonwoods and willows have mostly turned and golden leaves blanket the water every time the wind blows. Fall Baetis are also blanketing the water in the afternoon and are bringing some fantastic fish to the surface. With the low water conditions, anglers need to be extra stealthy when approaching and pursuing these Baetis feeders. When the Baetis are not about, the fish are still willing to take a well-drifted caddis or small hopper pattern in the riffles, runs and seams. A small Zebra midge (black, red or olive) or Baetis nymph run as a dropper can be deadly as well.
SILVER CREEK — Fall on the Creek is a special time. Baetis and Mahogany duns are the main fare this time of year and when they are out and about, the fish tend to feed on them with abandon. We are still in the pre-spawn stage for the browns, so ripping a large streamer past these feisty fish is a good idea. On windy days, don’t hesitate to tie on a large grasshopper or two. Remember, when fishing the Preserve, the visitor center remains closed. Look for posted information at each access allowing you to sign in via your phone with a QR code or by texting “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682.
UPPER BIG LOST RIVER—This is a great location for an afternoon fishing excursion during pleasant fall days. There really is no need to get up early and rush to the river. Instead, sleep in and then leisurely make your way up Trail Creek Pass. Focus on the main stem and hole hop around the river to your favorite spots. Terrestrials, like hoppers and ants, work really well this time of year.
LOWER BIG LOST RIVER— Fall Baetis love inclement weather and last week’s rain really kicked this hatch into gear. Expect the bugs to be on the water in the early afternoon as the air temps warm up. With the flows around 200 CFS, the river is easy to get around; however, with the limited access points avoid walking on private land and stay within the high-water line at all times.
SALMON RIVER—The area around Stanley has been fishing very well both above and below town. Your fishing strategy is simple: once the air temps warm up, find a good pull out along the river and seek water with a variety of depth and structure. With the low flows, the fish are concentrated around the runs with decent holding water.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE—The flows have dropped to around 300 CFS so it is perfect for wade fishing. As always, look for Pinks, Flavs and Baetis during the comfortable times of the day. Also, expect to see small cream-colored crane flies skittering about followed by a vicious take. The caddis in the evenings have remained quite strong and it is worth fishing right to dark during these unseasonable warm days.
LOCAL PONDS—Gavers Lagoon, Penny and Lake Creek ponds have been stocked and make a great location for a family picnic.