Owyhee River Fishing Report
Flows are at 39cfs, which is quite low and can make fishing difficult. This time of the year, we recommend another fishery because of the Brown Trout Spawn. If you do head out to the Owyhee, please don’t target fish on redds as they are incredibly vulnerable and using all their energy to successfully spawn and provide a future healthy fishery.
With that being said, if you still decide to head out, you can expect some BWO and midge hatches for dries. Look for these fish in the flats sipping. Light tippet of 5x and 6x is mandatory, and using a longer leader than 9′ might help to get those fish to eat in the slow flows. For fly selection of your dries, BWO’s in size #18-22 and midges #20-24 will be sufficient. Have emergers, cripples, and duns as well. If you want to nymph, I suggest using a small pinch-on foam indicator or another type of indicator that is very small. Zebra midges in size 20-22 will be good, with color variations of black with silver wire, red wire, and any small slim profile Baetis nymph will produce.
If you throw streamers, again, DO NOT target fish on Redds as they are very protective and will strike.
Boise River Fishing Report – In Town
Flows are holding steady at 270cfs and will remain around these flows till March when we start experiencing run-off. The river has been fishing great this fall, and all of our guide trips have been very successful!
The streamer bite has been very productive as of late but will slow down with cooler weather as we get closer to Thanksgiving. All this means is that you need to slow down your retrieve and do more swinging and slow strips and bumps. Sculpin variations in olive/white and natural colors have been very productive, and the sculpzilla streamer in different variations is a must-have in your box. No streamer is too big as there are browns and bows locally that have no problem smashing a big double articulated streamer. It’s only a matter of time that you will find one of those large resident fish that live here, and its all about covering as much water as you can!
There has been decent BWO hatches in the afternoons around 2-4pm that have fish looking up, depending on where your at. Look for the foam lines and slower seams to target these fish.
Nymphing has been most productive as it usually is, and as we get more into winter, nymphing will be your go-to tactic. Remember that as temps cool off, so does the fish’s metabolism meaning they will not move very much to eat. They want it right into their mouth with little effort to save energy. So make sure your set up has the right amount of depth and split shot as this can be the difference between being successful and or having a nice fishless day on the water. Your go-to standard nymphs of hares ears, pheasant tails, copper johns, and zebra midges will produce. Fishing a size 16 or 18 upfront and tag a dropper in sizes 18-20 behind it.
Stop by the shop as we have a great selection of jig head nymphs with tungsten beads and non-tungsten that produce and help get your flies down into the zone quick.
South Fork Boise Fishing Report – Tailwater
Flows are currently 319cfs, which makes for perfect fall/winter/spring walk n’ wade. As we roll into December, you can expect occasional BWO hatches and Midge hatches. These fish can be very picky, so downsizing your tippet of the usual 5x to 6x can be a big difference. Make sure you have a good selection of small BWOs in sizes 18-22 of cripples, spinners, and emergers. Study the fish and find out if you see them mouthing flies meaning they’re eating duns or barely breaking the surface and seeing more top fin and tail, meaning they’re sipping cripples and emergers.
During cold weather, it makes it tough tying on tiny flies and light tippet, but catching fish on dries in the winter is an accomplishment! I usually have two setups, using my 5wt for dries, and a 6wt for nymphing so I don’t have to waste time switching setups and using cold, numb fingers. For your nymph arsenal, a go-to set up would be running a smaller girdle bug in sizes 8-12 and tagging a fly in sizes 16-20 behind. Jig head nymphs and your typical hares ear, zebra midges, and a variety of flashback and flashy nymphs can produce fish this time of the year.
The South Fork can be a very productive fishery throughout the winter, but can also be a headache. If you’re only catching whitefish, at least your still getting action and is obviously still better than a day at work!
Steelhead Fishing Report
As you all should know by now, we’re experiencing one of the lowest returns of fish on record. To put this into perspective, the five year average for fish as of Nov 2nd at lower granite is 97,000 fish. Currently, we are sitting at just below 30,000 fish. That’s a night and day difference. These low returns lead to an early closure of the Clearwater River on Sept 29th for the rest of the season. We’re fortunate that these low numbers didn’t lead to a full closure on the Grande Ronde and Salmon as well. We can all agree on the basis that we need more fish back, and fingers crossed that we’re at the end of a bad cycle and next year will be better and into the future, as it cannot get any worse then it already is…
With that being said, the people that have gotten out this fall have done pretty well considering the status of the return. Aaron and I have put in a lot of time and have had some outstanding success swinging flies on the salmon for the last couple of months. We also made our annual trip to the Grande Ronde recently with friends and other shop employees and had success in finding fish. Remember, Steelhead fishing is never easy, and you have to put your time in to find them.
If you’re still looking to get out, it will surely increase your odds using Skagit heads and sink tips. Throwing larger profile marabou, bunny leech flies swung slow and deep are keys to success. The black and blue hobo spey will never fail!
Tips to catching a steelhead… fish hard, all day long!
Stop by or call our Boise Fly Shop for up to date information on where to fish and what to use. (208) 939-6065
Boise River Fish & Game Regulations