September & The Big Lost River & A Quick Sun Valley Fishing Report



Big Lost River, Idaho

Thunderheads and just a hint of Fall color.  It's the slow change from Summer to Fall.  Overnight lows in the upper 30's and highs somewhere in the mid 70's.  Look for hatches and conditions only to improve as daytime highs begin to cool.  Crowds on the river have already waned substantially post Labor Day Weekend.  Tricos and baetis and a few remaining crane flies on the Big Lost.  The current flow on the Lost is 267 cfs.  Silver Creek too should be getting better and better as the day time highs cool.  The 1:16 PM callibaetis event is becoming more and more consistent while as usual the baetis have gotten SMALLER.  Bring the smallest baetis you have along with a bag full of patience...  Damsel flies, beetles, flying ants and hoppers too.


Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E

Fly Fishing Photography & Sun Valley Fishing Report

feeding rainbow troutSilver Creek Riser

callibaetis spinnerSilver Creek Callibaetis Spinner


silver creek hopperHopper.  Silver Creek

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lenses: Nikon afs 80-200 f2.8  & Nikon Micro 105 f2.8


The Fishing:  The Big Wood is currently running at 379 cfs with the historical mean at 285 cfs.  The fishing on the Wood has been so-so with sporadic caddis and small stones.  The thunderstorm activity is supposed to wane starting Wednesday and we'll see how the warmer weather changes the fishing.  As it is, I would be on the water around 9:30.  Every day has been a little different but it has been slowing down around 4 PM.  The evening fishing is far better when we have hot daytime temps...  Silver Creek has been pretty consistent in the morning starting around 8 or so.  Think tricos, baetis and still a few small # 18 pmd's followed with callibaetis.  With the cooler weather we have been enjoying the hatch time has lasted until or after 12.  Damsel flies, hoppers, beetles and ants have also been good stuff in the afternoon.  Like the Wood, the evening fishing is far better when we have hot daytime highs.  The Big Lost is running at 489 cfs with the historic mean at 484 cfs.  Still a few golden stones and pmd's and yellow sallies with craneflies and caddis added to the mix.  Every section is fishing a little different so be prepared to observe a little and adjust.  Remember, "you can observe a lot just by watching." YB

Sun Valley Fishing Report & Wild Rose Images

Wild Roses

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon Micro 105 f2.8


The Fishing:  Lots of positive changes as the Big Wood has dropped considerably and despite the swift water is fishing, at long last, really well.  The current flow is 855 cfs with the historic mean for this day at 600 cfs.  It's still high but we are getting there.  The clarity, incidentally, is good, even below the confluence of Trail Creek.  There are lots of bugs though; Green Drakes, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies and a few # 12 tan caddis.  Large Royal Stimulators and Green Drake patterns have been working well in any of the soft water for which there is more and more of daily.  The Green Drake thing won't last much longer...  The Lower Big Lost has dropped to 793 cfs with the historic mean for today at 625 cfs. Golden Stones and PMD's if you can find soft enough water...  Silver Creek is slowly starting to fish better in the AM.  Tricos are starting to appear throughout the Nature Conservancy section and they often happen in conjunction with baetis and pmd's.  The Green Drakes on the Creek seem to have finished.  I fished Silver Creek this morning and the bugs, at least where I was, were all but done by 10:30 AM.  Every day has been a little different and I would expect inconsistency for about another week before the tricos really start, hopefully, going like clockwork.  The evening fishing on Silver Creek has been the best time of day to be there.  Pmd's, baetis & #16 or smaller olive caddis.  Bring mosquito repellent!

Sun Valley Fishing Report

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E


Finding clear water other than Silver Creek right now is hard.  While the Big Wood has finally started to drop, it's still flowing just over double where it usually is this time of year.  It's really anybody's guess as to exactly when the Wood will become easily fishable, but it won't be long before the aggressive wade fishermen can get out there and enjoy some big water dry fly fishing.  Think green drakes and big stimi's.  The Big Lost has dropped to 1,350 cfs which is still pretty high...  And, well, Silver Creek.  Silver Creek has been busy and difficult and inconsistent but the wind the last couple of days has not been a problem.  The water level seems to have gone up a bit and there have been plenty of risers but they have not been easy.  Still the same bugs: Baetis, pmd's, green drakes, and a few callibaetis.  The day time highs are forecast to be in the upper-eighties for Picabo.

Sun Valley Fishing Report & Black & White Tilt/Shift Images

Lines & Sky 1

Here's a series I am calling, "Lines & Sky." 

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E

Ok, the fishing:  The Big Lost and the Big Wood are still blown and it's really looking like it will be at least 10 or so days until we see any worthwhile changes.  The Wood, even north and upstream of Trail Cr. & Warms Springs Cr., is super high and chocolate milk; just about zero clarity.  That leaves us with Silver Creek which is still pretty inconsistent.  The high in Picabo today was somewhere just under 90 degrees and the wind picked up by 9:45 AM which blew many of the little bugs right off the creek.  The wind did taper off by 12:30 or so.  The bugs are: baetis, pmd's, green drakes, and callibaetis.  Think beetles and ants too.

Sun Valley Fishing Report

Big Wood River:  Running around 2,450 cfs the Wood is off color and cruising.  It will be awhile, probably after the 4th of July, before it becomes reasonably fishable.  The Big Lost keeps going up as expected and is running at 1,350 cfs as I write this.  Silver Creek is our only real viable option and has been inconsistent.  Pmd's, baetis, callibaetis and a few green drakes in the Nature Conservancy area.  I fished the S-Turns in the Nature Conservancy today and it was SLOW.  We had a good but short pmd and baetis emergence and by 10:30 or 11 it was over.  On the brown drake front, it could be over other than a few little trickles here and there.  Could still be worth the effort to head down tonight but there were very few bugs in the grass today which means you would be hoping for a spinner fall...


Here are a few images taken on Silver Creek 2 nights ago:

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 24 PC-E

Brown Drakes & Spring Green


Camera: Nikon D3S

Lenses: Nikon 24 PC-E & Micro 105

The Big Lost is now just over 1,000 cfs and is cruising right along and the Big Wood is just under 2,500 cfs.  Silver Creek is in the middle of brown drake madness and there are baetis, pmds, callibaetis and a few green drakes in the Nature Conservancy area.  The mosquitoes have also arrived...

Sun Valley Magazine

The new summer issue of Sun Valley Magazine is out and I have done the photography for a feature piece titled, Fish Food.  Check out the new issue in person or visit their web site.  Here's a link to my piece on their site:  Fish Food

Camera: Nikon D3S

Lens: Nikon 14-24 f2.8


On a fishing note: I was back on Silver Creek again this morning through the early afternoon and did not see a single drake...  The wind event was not bad and the temps were quite nice; mid to upper sixties.  The late morning baetis seems to be picking up momentum.  It has been starting around 10:30 or 11 and coming off in pulses contingent on the weather.  They are small so bring plenty of #20 patterns with you.  There are also pmd's lingering.

Are those temps coupled with our very cool spring enough to get the brown drake hatch going?  Who knows...  You can either head on down or read about it here once it starts.

Silver Creek Update


Having some fun while waiting for brown drakes.  We found a giant beetle and hucked into the creek.  No takers, but it made for an interesting minute or so as we watched it float downstream...

First, the answer is I have still yet to see brown drakes on Silver Creek.  The evenings have been spectacular but essentially bug free.  Who knows when this thing will actually get going but it is very likely to be this week.  There were enough baetis around 8 PM to get a few fish up but that was it. 

Images taken with the Nikon D200 and 14-24 f2.8 lens

Sun Valley Fishing Report


Nature Conservancy.  Silver Creek Preserve

Rain Drops On Silver Creek

Quick update on our local water:

The Big Lost is running about 288 cfs which cannot last that much longer...  Get it while you can.  The Big Wood is running a hair under 2,000 cfs with very little clarity.  It will be awhile, like the end of June or so, until the Wood becomes easily wadeable.  On Silver Creek many of us are waiting--no real sign yet-- for brown drakes.  The weather has ever so slowly gotten nicer and nicer with highs near 70 in Picabo daily.  While the Nature Conservancy section does not see any brown drakes, the bug deal there has been sporadic with baetis and pmd's coming off here and there.  The Nature Conservancy section has NOT been crowded at all and is quite fun if you are willing to hunt for rising fish...

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report

OK..., the Big Wood has just about doubled in volume since I last reported here.  It's flowing just under 2,000 cfs and is OFF color.  It's essentially unfishable...  More rain and cooler temps in store for Ketchum.  The amount of rain we get will dictate just how much runoff the Wood will see this year.  It's really anyone's guess as the weather continues to be volatile and anything but predictable.

The Lower Big Lost is hanging in there and has at least for the short term dropped down to 340 cfs.  That water flow will not last for long.  If you are thinking of hitting the Lost anytime soon, you should head over within the next couple of days.  The Mackay Reservoir is nearing capacity and will any day now hit the tipping point, especially as the upper river has seen a good bump in volume and is contributing a lot of water to the reservoir.

Silver Creek of course is not really affected by high water and will be for much of June our local trump card.  Expect PMD's and baetis throughout the day and cloudy windless days should be the best.  Brown drakes are just around the corner...

Mt. Haynes & Lone Madison River Fisherman

Lamar Valley Looking West

Sun Valley Fishing Report & More Yellowstone Images

As I am on our local Sun Valley area rivers almost daily, I have decided to add a fishing report or rather, a "conditions report" to this blog.  It is a report based on regular observations of water flows, hatches, temps, anamolies, wildflowers and subtleties, etc. I'll note any regulation changes here as well.

First, as opening day is just behind us and this spring has been cold and a bit wet, the rivers have a ways to go prior to hitting any peak flow.  Today hit fifty degrees in Hailey with some hail showers for good measure.  Overnight lows are still cool in Ketchum making for a delayed runoff.  Tonights low in Ketchum is slated to be around 30 degrees which should bring the Big Wood River down even more.  The current flow on the Wood is 1,040 cfs with some clarity, like 2 feet.  The historic mean flow is 1540 cfs.  Here's the link to the Big Wood Flow.  What does this all mean?  Well, for one the Wood is fishable but high.  Side channels and braided water and any soft water on the sides should work.  Keep your eye on the water flow as it's looking like it should warm up on Sunday which will translate to higher water levels...  Enjoy it while it lasts...  Could be a while, like around or after July 4th, before we see wadeable water on the Big Wood.

Silver Creek between gusts and hail storms, is the best, easy to get to option at the moment.  Hatches are sporadic with some baetis and PMDs popping off here and there over the course of the heat of the day.  The PMDs are at their biggest this time of year and will slowly get smaller and smaller into early July.  You can check Silver Creek's streamflow online AND the up to date water temp as measured at the upstream section of the willows.  That's just downstream from the highway 20 bridge.  Here's the link that includes the very useful temperature chart:  USGS Silver Creek Flow  Also, brown drakes are likely to show up in a couple of weeks, and that's just around the corner and one of the most amazing and prolific "big bug" hatches around...

The Big Lost is flowing at 395 cfs with the historic mean at 888 cfs.  That makes the river fishable, very fishable.  There are still a few baetis and on cloudier days the dry fly fishing could be really good.  If you are thinking of heading over there, go soon, as the reservoir is near capacity and the flows should go up within a week or so and make it unfishable for quite awhile...  Here's the Big Lost flow link.  Trail Creek Summit is now open to car travel.


A few more images from Yellowstone:

Late Spring Bulb On Slough Creek

Neverending Telephone Poles.  East Of Arco, Idaho

Power Line And Alfalfa Field.  Idaho Desert

Clouds And Desert And Alfalfa.  Idaho Desert

The above image is a 16 image pano taken handheld with the Nikon 35 f2 lens.  See my pano section on my galleries page to view this image larger.  I am still using Adobe Photoshop CS5 and the photomerge tool for generating panos.

Silver Creek Wild Flowers And Current Sun Valley Conditions

Upland Larkspur--Taken at The Silver Creek Preserve With The Nikon 105 2.8 Lens

I drove down to Silver Creek yesterday and spent the morning shooting.  The skies were gun-metal gray and it rained on and off lightly.  Raptors were perched here and there on fence posts and telephone poles.  The soil was damp and it finally smelled like early summer despite the cool, wet weather.  There was not much going on in the way of hatches--I was hoping to see a few baetis or PMD's.  It really feels like everything is almost two weeks later this year.  The Big Wood water flow has essentially dropped to half the flow of 4 days ago--it's roughly 1,000 cfs at the moment with about 3 feet of clarity.  That won't last for long though...  By next week the daytime highs are supposed to be in the 70's and depending on how warm it stays and for how long and how warm/cold our overnight lows are will tell the story of just how big the Wood will get this year.  Add to that a little rain and well, we'll just see.

The Big Lost has DROPPED back down to 214 cfs.  Again, that could change any day but at the current level it should be nothing short of stellar!

The one promise of Summer, though, that I discovered walking around the Nature Conservancy were a few of the wildflowers which had emerged here and there.  Phlox and Bluebells & Upland Larkspur littered the trail from the cabin down to Silver Creek.  The light was perfect for wildflower close-ups.  Here are a few more...

Upland Larkspur



Bluebells 2

Midges (Chironomidae or True Fly Family)

Undoubtedly, midges are the most important aquatic insect for us fisherfolk during the Winter on the Big Wood River.  On warmer days the number of midges on or near the water can be quite phenomenal.  Today was around 44 degrees in Hailey!  Spring like.  Incidentally, according to The Mountain Express Newspaper, our largest snowfall since New Years has been 1 inch.  3" to 5" inches are expected on Wednesday...  Anyway, as it was so warm today I checked out a couple of spots on the Wood, both of which were in Hailey.  Needless to say, there were MANY midges.  I sat near a deep eddy and watched tiny rise forms blip away on the foam line.  The fish were spooky, but gorging on the little morsels that were readily available.  Here are a few images from today.

Images taken with the Nikon 105 2.8 Macro & Extension Tubes.

Midge shucks on the Big Wood River



Water Levels & More Rising Trout

Here are a few quick river flow updates:  Big Wood--632 cfs and the mean is 1,510 cfs

                                                                 Big Lost--218 cfs and the mean is 664 cfs

                                                                 Silver Creek--95 cfs and the mean is 123 cfs

                                                                 Silver Creek Temperature--58.1 degrees and the mean is also 58.1

Here are some river flow links to check out for yourself.  The Silver Creek USGS station also monitors the temperature.  Silver Creek:

                     Big Wood:

                     Big Lost:


Here are a few more rising rainbow pics from today: