The FISHING REPORT
The Owyhee River
The Owyhee River:
Fish are still on the spawn, but most of the primary spawning has already taken place. It’s important to note that the reds should be avoided for the safety of the eggs and fry.
Midges make up the bulk of the hatch. A large midge would be a size 20, whereas a small midge would be a size 26. Though you will see smaller midges out there, we have never had to throw smaller than a 26….unless you want to. The RS2 midge is almost impossible to see, but can pay off if you present that pattern. An adult midge can also work, but can be bulky on the water. Often times we can see rising fish in the more stagnate water and those rises can seem sporadic. However, gently skating the midge across the water can result in a strike. Keep an eye on how a fish is rising. The fish this time of year can perform a “complex rise”, meaning it follows the fly under the water and will eat the fly facing downstream. If you see this particular behavior it’s important to know this kind of rise can take anywhere from seven to fifteen feet. So timing and longer casts to such behavior can result in success.
BWOs (size 18-20) and mahogany duns (size 14-18) will start to hatch in the afternoon. When this happens, we see a shift in what the fish will rise to. Overall, the fish seem to enjoy the mahogany over the BWO and the midge. We always recommend starting off with a size 16 emerging dun. It seems big this time of year but, believe us when we say, it can surprise you. You can start to drop in size if the fish seem interested but are refusing your fly.
The BWO will likely start to hatch late in the morning to early afternoon. It all depends on how cold the day is. The emerging dun in a size 18 usually does the job well; however, the trout can be selective on an adult vs. an emerger, or a comparadun for that matter. It’s best to have a few different patterns to try out on selective trout.
South Fork & Middle Fork of the Boise River
South Fork Boise River
The first thing we should mention is the stellar mahogany hatch on the river. Look closely at the rocks and you will see the dark mayfly crawling about. Most are a size 18, but scattered amongst the herd are a few larger, size 16 mahoganies. We could see the fish rising to the full adult mayfly; however, they were more eager to eat the emerging stage. Though the peak of the hatch started in the afternoon, the mahogany was spotted on the rocks early in the morning. As a result, the fish we spotted rising earlier in the day were willing to take the emerging mahogany dun before the hatch really took place.
The BWO (size 18-20) could be spotted on the water as early as 10am, and the fish would often switch from feeding on the mahogany to the BWO. One fish would eagerly feed on the BWO while another would refuse the same fly, resulting in switching fly patterns for a particular fish. The adult mayfly was seen on the water, yet again the fish were eager to take the emerging stage of the mayfly. If a fish was particularly difficult, it would often fall for a cripple pattern, or the looped-wing emerger.
Midges (size 18-24) were on the water as early as we arrived, and were seen as we left the river. We are sure there are locations where the mahogany and the BWO are not as strong, so the fish will key in on the midge. The best midge pattered we used was the looped wing midge and the RS2 midge. However, it’s almost impossible to see either on the water. Often we would cast in a location and lose sight of our midge; yet setting the hook to a rising fish often proved successful if our fly was in the vicinity.
Caddis are sparsely on the water, and we can’t say there was a “hatch” but we saw a few fluttering around. After the end of the Mahogany hatch, fish were seen rising and were willing to take an October caddis (size 10-12). If you want to stick with a dry fly for the rest of the day and are not seeing any steadily rising fish, it’s worth searching with a caddis. You can drop down to a tan size 12 caddis if you prefer. Fish were willing to take both.
It’s not uncommon to hook into a white fish and have a larger trout take a swipe at it. Lighter colored streamers can often mimic a struggling white fish, which seems to be on the menu lately. We do recommend having a variety of light and dark streamers, as each day could call for one or the other. As the temperature continues to drop in the season, play with your retrieve. As you bring in your streamer, we often find that a slow retrieve, or simply letting your fly swing with the current, can be effective when searching for bigger fish.
Larger stonefly nymphs can grab the attention of trout this time of year. Small dropper flies can easily get picked off by the whitefish while in search of a rainbow trout. As most anglers would say: whitefish are still fish and they are still very fun to catch. We recommend all kinds of nymphs when fishing this river, and each of us have our favorite nymph. From perdigons of all flavors to traditional Copper Johns, getting your fly in the face of the fish seems to be the key element in any approach.
The Boise River
Boise River in Town:
If you can brave the cold, the Boise River can be a great place to fish. All winter long the fluctuation of weather in the Treasure Valley can bring us high pressure systems and inversions. During an inversion, the air temperatures tend to drop and stay that way for days and days. When this happens, we can run into our line freezing and higher pressure systems. High pressure systems can lessen your chance of catching trout; however, the white fish seem to still feed. The effect of the pressure system on fish is only an observation, but a steady observation that seems to be relevant.
Nymphing will be your best approach. Bigger, heavy nymphs will get your fly down in the fish’s face. Perdigons of all different colors work great on different days, and it’s worth changing colors if you are not finding success. A small Juju Baetis nymph has come in handy as a dropper. If you run into a hatch, it will most likely be a BWO (size 18-20) or a midge (size 20-22) hatch. Though a hatch doesn’t always bring up the fish, it’s worth having a few dry flies on you.
The BWO (size 18-22) and mahogany dun (size 16-18) have both been reliable hatches. There are plenty of fish rising to these flies; however, the BWO that was working best was a size 20 emerger. The mahogany started to hatch in the afternoon, and the fish didn’t hesitate. We saw both sizes of this fly and are happy to report that the size 16 emerging mahogany did the job. Leaders were over fifteen feet long, and tapered down to 6X tippet. Midges (size 20-24) were seen, but the fish seems to be keyed onto the mayflies. In the middle of the mahogany hatch, a few October caddis (size 12-10) were present. A few fish took our larger caddis fly, but fishing the smaller mayflies was superior.
Silver Creek Plunge is rising very well, with brook trout in every pocket of water looking for a dry fly. This is a great spot to take young kids where the creek and water is not too deep at all.
Mores Creek can be a fun little getaway that is close to home. Right now there is a possibility of finding Kokanee Salmon running up the creek. The Kokanee can be very aggressive, and will chase any trout out of its home. The red colors of the salmon are always a beautiful sight when fishing our Idaho headwaters.
The water is starting to get weedy, but fishing is fantastic. Buggers (size 8-12) of all kinds can attract hungry trout, and be sure to trail off a small damsel nymph (size 12-14) to get the fish that are after those. This is a great time to fish right now because the cooler weather has kept the water temps down; however, with warmer temps the bugs are going crazy. If you have ever wanted to fish Duck Valley now is the time. A floating line will work, but an intermediate line can bring you far more success. Play with depths, sometimes counting to 30 can really change your success rate.
Bass & Warm Water Fishing
Warm Water Fishing:
We are near the end of warm water fishing.
High Mountain Lakes
High Mountain Lakes
No recent snow suggests the mountain lakes are fishing fantastic. However, after the first snow, the trails will be covered and the lakes will soon ice over. The lower reservoirs in the mountains will remain open and can be fished as long as the roads stay open.