Most of the kids are back in school, the leaves are beginning to change, there’s frost on the pumpkins and we’ve seen our first snowfall in the high mountains marking a true change in the seasons. As we move later into fall and the cooler temperatures begin to prevail, fishing will get better and better until the snow begins to fly and the bugs dissipate. Hatches will become stronger, the time frame more condensed, and the fish sensing the waning opportunity for some good feeding. Another advantage in the late season is that our hatches are reduced to just a few bugs. Of course some experimentation with fly patterns to match these hatches will be in order, and as always, presentation will be of greatest importance. However, the lower light levels of fall will bring the fish more into the open water and finding good numbers of fish actively feeding on the surface will become more the norm. Our best fishing on all waters now will be between 10:00 and 5:00, and the productive window will get smaller as it gets colder. Here’s what we may expect to see on our local waters.
On the Big Wood, the water temperatures are dropping and with it we are beginning to see more hecuba. This is the largest mayfly the fish have seen since spring and when they get on this bug, they will attack these with a vengeance. This bug will come off more in the head ends of the runs in the faster shallower water. Look for fish in the usual seams and pockets flanking the faster water. Red quill, parachute, and wulff patterns in sizes 10-14 will all work for this hatch. We should begin to see more baetis as we get later into the fall and this tends to be our most consistent and productive hatch. Conversely to the hecuba, look for fish rising for this bug in the slick tail outs, bank edges and the eddies behind the log jams. Hoppers may also produce some fish for the next couple of weeks. Zebra midges and other small nymph patterns fished behind a larger attractor pattern or hopper should produce in times of limited surface action.
Fall is a special time on all the rivers and my personal favorite time to fish Silver Creek. Fishing pressure on the creek now becomes greatly reduced and with all the birds in migration it’s an especially spectacular environment. We should still have a bit of hopper fishing left on the warmer afternoons. Baetis will become the predominant hatch and will become stronger as we get later into the season, especially with some overcast. Mahogany duns will also appear for a short time and allow us to fish a bit larger fly. The browns begin to get aggressive as they prepare for spawning, so it will also be a good time to try some streamers.
Up for a short road trip? We’ve had some great reports coming form the tailwater fisheries of the Big Lost and the South Fork of the Boise. Both are now at great wading levels and fishing well. Baetis and midge patterns on the Lost and baetis, midge, pinks and hoppers on the Boise.
In closing, I’ll be brief. Go fish!
Fly Fishing Report provided by Jim Santa-Sturtevants Mountain Outfitters