Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us last night. The massive spinner fall we were counting on never materialized. The stormy, windy, cool weather may have killed some of them, and the rest did there thing this morning. A few lucky anglers saw some of that action! There was a good emergence last night, and our weather is getting better. Don't give up because last night was tough. We should begin to see the show again tonight!
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The Wood River Sculpin is unique in that its home pretty much consists of the Big Wood and Little Wood Rivers. This dark olive bottom dwelling fish is not a target for fly anglers, but it is certainly a target of the biggest trout that live in the Big and Little Wood systems. The volume of Wood River Sculpin makes it a year around target of the fish and therefore a fly we cast all year long.
Imitating this Sculpin is not difficult and can be done with a variety of flies. Dark Olive Matukas, Olive Buggers, Sparkle Minnows and most olive colored articulated patterns work just fine. There is one fly tied as a specific imitation of the Wood River Sculpin, which is the Philo Beto. This fly is found at Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum and was developed by the owner Scott Schnebly and his son Blake in the early 1990s when Blake was a young boy. The fly is loosely named for Clint Eastwood’s character Philo Beddoe in the movie Any Which Way but Loose. Tied from the Philo Plume feather off an olive died Pheasant Rump, the Philo Beto Streamer is slam dunk when fished on the Big Wood, Little Wood or pretty much anywhere Sculpins swim.
Sculpin imitations are best fished with a bead-head, or some external weight. When I fish the Philo Beto I like to put a small split shot right at the head of the fly. This gives the fly a jigging action and also help me keep if from snagging on the bottom by controlling the depth right at the fly as opposed to several inches or feet above the fly. Try to fish the fly swinging across the river on a tight line, keeping the fly as close to the bottom as you dare. The true Sculpin will dart from rock to rock along the river bottom, trying to avoid being eaten, but plenty of them do get eaten and they represent a major calorie intake for wintering trout.
When fishing Streamer imitations fish them on Fluorocarbon Leaders so that when you strip strike the leader does not stretch, but instead buries the hook in the fish’s mouth. Fish a stout tippet, taper it to about 2X. Nine feet is plenty of length. Cast across the river and retrieve the fly with your rod tip on the water and the line coming into the tip in a straight line. Enjoy all the big fish you’re going to catch!
Happy Fishing Everyone!
We had some rough weather for a few days, but after a nice day yesterday, the Drake Spinner Fall began ramping back up. What anglers can expect the next few nights is great action around the Willows Access and near the Hwy 20 Bridge. The last week of the hatch also means sporadic events, like daytime hatches and spinner falls up and down the river. It is a bit of be in the right place at the right time, but if you are looking for something to do in the mornings, try looking for the Drake from Picabo upstream. You just may find the best hour of fishing this season!
If you listen closely you will hear the sounds of zippers being pulled closed on wader bags, float tubes being aired up, click and pawl drags being tested, and the sound of fly boxes being snapped shut. Opening Day is upon us Idaho!
Silver Creek is the place to be this weekend as recent rains have blessed this special body of water with a nice cleansing and levels high enough to spread the fish throughout the system. Partly cloudy conditions coupled with warmish temperatures spells great mayfly activity. Expect Baetis and P.M.D.s to take center stage, but also be aware the Callibaetis has been very strong here on warm days. No matter what, be sure to have Beetle and Ant patterns!
The Brown Drake is still a week or more away and will most likely appear once we return to a weather pattern of warm sunny days and temperate nights. Keep an eye on the forecast, or do it the fun way and just show up at Picabo Bridge every evening after the weekend and wait for the first big night!
The Big Wood may fish a little on the weekend, it really depends on the rain and how hard it is coming down. The clarity seems to be changing day to day, and although the flows aren’t huge, there are probably better places to be for now.
The Lost River is fishable as of now, but again, there are a lot of variables here, both above and below the Mackay Dam. Keep an eye on the CFS below the dam, if it doesn’t jump to high you may find some o.k. fishing. The upper Lost will fish depending on the clarity.
The Little Wood River will have some fishing above and below the Little Wood Reservoir Dam. Think big Stone and Salmon Flies.
The South Fork of the Boise is also worth a look, but this river is generally better the later we get into June.
All in all, Opening Day presents a few challenges to finding the best fishing. Pay close attention to the details like CFS and Weather before you decide where to be. You can count on Silver Creek fishing, and of course Picabo Angler and the Nature Conservancy will hosting our annual Opening Day parties, so no matter whether you fish or not on the opener, come on down to Picabo and enjoy a wonderful day with friends and all your brothers and sisters of the fly!
Happy Fishing Everyone!