The Big Wood
Hot and sunny weather, big bugs, wet wading, and dry flies; summertime on the Big Wood has arrived. We are in the midst of the Green Drake bonanza mid-river between Hailey and Ketchum. However, Drakes can still be found throughout the river in lesser numbers. The epicenter of this hatch moves along upstream about one mile a day. Look for the bulk of these bugs between 11am and 3pm. Many fish are moving out of the deep holding water and into shallow feeding riffles and runs as they scan the surface for floating meals. A collection of late evening Caddis, Pink Alberts, some Yellow Sallies, and slate colored Mayflies (real life Parachute Adams) are adding to the dry fly action. Standard midsummer searching dries like the Chubby Chernobyl, Purple Parawulff, Pink Albert, PMX, and Parachute Adams with a Zebra Midge dropper will cover your bases when not fishing the Green Drakes. Crossings can still be a bit tricky in places, but for the most part a pair of wading boots and neoprene socks will get you anywhere you need to go.
A great option for the kids! Warm Springs provides easier wading while hunting for gullible fish with bushy dries. Keep this one as an option if you want a fun and easy going trip. Fish from recent stocking have had time to spread throughout the river by now but there still should be the biggest concentrations by the bridges. Flows are getting a bit low about Frenchman’s Bend but still worthy of an afternoon. Small Stimulators, Purple Parawullfs, and small Hoppers will get plenty of attention.
Usually the last tributary to come down, Trail Creek is now in great shape to wade. The footpaths around Boundary Creek lead to great beginner holes usually full of willing fish. Trail Creek has a higher percentage of stocked fish than it’s cross-valley cousin Warm Springs meaning these trout prefer the safety of deeper pockets and holes as opposed to shallow riffles. Dropping a Zebra Midge or Copper John off of a bushy dry fly will increase your odds tremendously when fishing this pocket water.
Morning hatches are picking up in intensity. Beatis, PMD’s, and Tricos are stirring pods of fish into a frenzy. Most of these bugs are tiny baetis but fish are keying into the bigger PMD’s when they have the opportunity. A #16 Hackle Wing Dun PMD with a smaller trailing Baetis can act as a dry fly indicator for those struggling to spot the tiny bugs. So far the Trico hatch is short lived but with each 90 degree day it gains momentum. The Callibaetis hatch has been longer lived and more consistent throughout the morning into early afternoon. In the evening a PMD spinnerfall, early evening Beatis, and Caddis keep fish looking up. Dont be afraid to throw terrestrials and damsel flies when the morning hatch subsides. Beetles, Ants, and small hoppers with a Zebra Midge or Crackback PMD dropper can draw strikes when things die down. In the newly renovated Kilpatrick Pond nymphing the deep dredged channels deep with weighted PMDs, Pheasant Tails, and Damsel Fly nymphs can pull fish out from hiding. Pack fins if you are floating the Lower Kilpatrick Pond.
The Big Lost
Flows below the dam are dropping but still too high to effectively cover water. Hot and sunny days ignite the fishing in the Copper Basin. Green Drakes, Golden Stones, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, and assorted Mayflies are making up the bulk of the bug activity. Moderately sized Stimulators, Mackay Specials, Craneflies, and Parawullfs with a Zebra Midge or Lightning Bug dropper make for good prospecting rigs. Fishing pressure pushes fish around in these stretches so if obvious looking water is devoid of fish- move on.
Inlet streams flowing into the bigger Sawtooth lakes like Redfish, Stanley, and Alturas have been giving up nice fish. Look for these fish holding right off the drop offs. Sink tip lines and flashy steamers can produce some unexpected surprises. All but the highest lakes are iced out and fishing hot! Pine Moths, small Parachute Adams, and white Woolly Buggers are standard tackle in the high lakes.
Snake River Carp
The forecast is calling for Carpin’ weather- the hotter the better. Flats near Hagerman will come alive in 100 degree heat, if you can handle it. Look for mudding and tailing fish in the reeds, shallow bays, and near seams where the springs creeks meet the Snake. Dead drifting large Prince Nymphs, San Juan Worms, and Cranefly Larvae below rapids can fool these picky fish.
Above the reservoir wading is easy and the fishing is consistent. Attractor patterns and the ol’ trusty Parachute Adams will bring fish to the surface. Fish the inlet to the reservoir with small streamers and Woolly Buggers for consistent action.