Hello Everyone! Hans here with the Sturtevants fishing report.
As the summer crowds disperse and hunters flock to the hills, our rivers enjoy a sigh of relief. The lucky anglers left on the water reap the rewards of beautiful weather, little pressure, and willing fish.
The Big Wood
Finally the ‘Wood has cleared. After a long wait the Big Wood is fishing top to bottom. Though fishermen should be wary of the accumulated silt deposits on the bank, as it can be extremely slippery, the water clarity is perfect. Clear enough to fish dries but just enough tint to mask a fisherman’s presence. In the last month the lower Big Wood has been relatively unfishable and therefore seen very little pressure while above Ketchum has seen quite the opposite. Expect willing and eager fish below Ketchum and wary fish above. Mornings still buzz with Fall Baetis and Tricos but the real meal ticket are the Hecuba. Otherwise known as Red Quill, these large mayflies are drawing attention towards the surface. Fishing a #12 Parachute Hare’s Ear or Red Quill Dun with a zebra midge dropper deep beneath makes for a good searching rig. Fishing your dropper at least 4 feet below your dry will ensure you get deep enough- these fish will either be shallow enough to eat your dry or belly to the bottom. With our cold nights the river wakes up late, things pick up once the sun warms the air a bit– so don’t get out of bed too early.
Still choked with ash…not a great option yet. Warm Springs will take some time to clear up.
Low but cool and clean. This little tributary is very worthy of exploring in the willows and bends that make up the upper reaches above Boundary Creek Campground. Small beadhead nymphs drifted through holding water should pick up fish if they are around. The lack of water pushes many fish into obvious pools.
Miniscule Fall Baetis and Tricos keep the classic Silver Creek morning hatch chugging along. But for anglers the arrival of fall bugs keeps options open when fishing #24 Baetis emerger isn’t your thing. Mahogany Duns are showing up in scattered numbers, especially in cloudy and breezy days and will pick up steam as the month goes on. Particularly in the slough and lower half of the Preserve, the Callibaetis hatch keeps fish looking up throughout the day and has been the real producer as of recent. Hoppers, Ants, and Beetles are still fishing well when the hatch dwindles. Swinging an olive or burnt orange Wolley Bugger is increasingly effective as Autumn arrives and may even produce large and temperamental Browns.
The Big Lost
The Lost in the fall: this is the place to be. Compared to the peak summer season the Lost feels deserted. Below the dam an incredibly high fish-per-mile count is now matched with a relatively low angler-per-mile ratio and the fishing reflects that. Low water has concentrated fish into obvious water and wading is easy. The morning hatch is an intense flurry of Tricos and Fall Baetis whipping fish into a frenzy. Still, a combination of small Zebra Midges, Baetis Nymphs, and Attractors like the Rainbow Warrior produce day-in day-out. In the early afternoon the river shuts off like a light switch and most people are moving on to fish their way back to Ketchum. Above the Mackay Reservoir the Kokanee spawn is in full force. Fishing small egg patterns, San Juan Worms, and red Zebra Midges can potentially hook into behemoth reservoir rainbows and whitefish that are feeding behind the little red Salmon. Along the main stretch not much has changed. High floating attractor patterns with a Zebra Midge or Lightning Bug dropper deep below produce beautiful wild Cutthroat for the anglers persistent enough to cover large swaths of river.