Hello Everyone! Hans here with the Sturtevants weekly fishing report.
Due to a combination of low water, low dissolved oxygen levels, and high temperatures Silver Creek Preserve will be closed from 10PM to 10AM until conditions improve. Think of this not as losing water, but rather a reason to explore. It would take a lifetime to fish all the water in our region and now is the time to check some new waters off your list- get creative.
If you need a little inspiration here are Hans’ personal picks for adventure days:
- Venture into the headwaters of the Middle fork of the Salmon to catch a glimpse of the spawning wild Chinook Salmon while casting dries to wily Cutthroat. Marsh, Bear Valley, or (for the determined weekend warrior) Loon Creek offer up the goods.
- Hike into the far upper reaches of the Little Wood to experience an under-fished jem of tumbling plunge pools and less-than-educated Brookies. This is best done as an out-and-back overnight.
- Take the rugged road over Dollerhide Summit to the remote and hotspring laden stretches of Big and Little Smoky Creek in search of backcountry rainbows and carnivorous Bull Trout.
- Finally, and I warn of the addictiveness of this habit, you can sight cast to gargantuan Carp on the Snake River. Watching your 8 weight double over as backing disappears across the flats by an oversized Goldfish has the tendency to ruin a perfectly good trout fisherman- join the darkside. Come into the shop for the insiders scoop, good Carpin’ holes are usually closely guarded beta.
Free casting clinics are being held at Atkinson’s Park every Monday night at 6pm as well as Sturtevants free Bugs and Brews entomology classes taught by our resident bug nerd and lead guide Carl Evenson. For beginners of all ages we are offering a Learn to Fish and Youth Fly Fishing Kids Camp. So give us a call 208-726-4501 or stop by the shop for up to date info and friendly free advice.
The Big Wood
As expected, the Wood is going through the mid-summer dry fly doldrums. Fish are a bit tight lipped in the heat of the day between noonish and dinner hour. To work around this get an early start in the morning and size down. Smaller Parachute Adams, Pink Ablerts, and Purple Haze will trick the increasingly wary trout. This time of year feeding water and holding water will likely be different so focus on systematically covering long riffles and runs rather than pinpointing the deep eddies and pools. In the evening the Caddis hatch is picking up steam accompanied by a smattering of small dark craneflies. If you are fishing midday a small zebra midge or standard bead head nymph dropped deep off of a hopper will pull fish out from hiding. Feeding fish are triggered by biomass; when more food is available more fish will be actively feeding. As Hoppers and Tricos begin to pick up in the coming days these fish will begin to look up again. In a few areas this is already getting started. Where the Beaver Creek Fire reached down to the river the Hoppers are around in significantly greater numbers and so are the actively feeding fish.
The middle stretches of this small stream are fishing best. Continue past the pavement and pick a pullout to explore with any basic parachute pattern or small beadhead nymph; these are not terribly picky fish. A late evening Caddis hatch and a soak in the hotsprings is a great way to end the day.
Kids and beginners will find plenty of willing fish around the footpaths by the Boundary Creek campsites. For those willing to explore the upper section beyond Boundary Creek see very little fishing pressure. Pull off the road anywhere and find some water to explore, but be wary of Moose.
High temperatures, low water, and low dissolved oxygen levels have triggered a closure to fishing on Silver Creek Preserve until conditions improve. Because dissolved oxygen levels are lowest at night, fishing will be closed from 10PM to 10AM. So technically you can still fish during the day on the Preserve and at anytime on the rest of the Creek. You could still catch the tail end of the Trico hatch and midday terrestrial fishing keeps your options open. However it is best to leave these stressed fish alone and find better fishing elsewhere.
From the alpine headwaters all the way to the tailwater stretch below the Mackay Reservoir the entirety of the Lost River System is in fantastic shape. The lower lost has dropped below an easily wadeable 200 cfs. Stones, Midges, Sallies, Craneflies, and a few Tricos are around but are yet to surmount to a ‘hatch’. In the coming days the Cranefly and Trico numbers will gain momentum and dry fly season will be here to stay. In the meantime Skating a Mackay Special or Cranefly pattern can draw vicious strikes and expect to see airborne fish. Choose your favorite midge as a dropper. Heading upstream, the main stem is opening up and fishing has been fantastic. Hoppers, Craneflies, and bushy Stimulators with a beadhead dropper make a good prospecting rig. Nymphing deep in slots and runs can often pick up the large and genetically unique Lost River Whitefish. Fish are cooperative in the Copper Basin when you can locate them. Again, Craneflies and Hoppers with a midge dropper will be the go-to. This has been a bumper year for the rare Arctic Grayling in the far upper stretches, these fish cannot resist a well placed Parachute Adams.
Snake River Carp
For those with a bit of a screw loose, deprived of their saltwater fix, or just like to wail on huge fish- Carpin’ is the answer. Its a bit of a fly fishing fad, but for good reason. A #6 to #8 rod paired with a saltwater class reel plenty of backing is standard tackle. Hot and sunny days bring fish into the shallows to feed. The average Carp on the Snake river is pushing 20 pounds and be prepared for a long fight; these fish have serious endurance and strength. Most Carp anglers begin their search around public access points near Hagerman. Finding fish is a non issue, the sheer numbers that inhabit the river is staggering- figuring out how to get them to eat is another story.
Headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Mid-July is the best time to explore the stunningly Beautiful headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Marsh Creek, Bear Valley Creek, the Upper Middle Fork, and the numerous tributaries offer excellent light line fly fishing for wild Cutthroat and Brookies. This is the best place to view Chinook Salmon spawning in the wild. If you are lucky enough to witness this incredible sight be very cautious not to disrupt these fish.