Fish Rap by Pete Zimowsky: Hit high-country rivers and streams now

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.comJune 20, 2013 

The orange Stimulator bounced like a cork on the turbulent waters of the Salmon River near Stanley, spinning around rocks and then gently floating into slower water.

It was about 8 p.m. and evening light turned the water purple-pink.

Suddenly, a rainbow trout nosed the fly but wasn't that excited about getting hooked and landing in my creel. It took a dive back toward the gravel bottom.

If a trout won't take my orange Stimulator on the surface, it ain't worth catching.


I know, I've got the wrong attitude when it comes to fly fishing. But I like fishing with big flies I can see floating on the surface of the water, not those tiny No. 20-something fly patterns that are a mere speck in bubbling water.

I like big Renegades, caddis flies and hopper patterns I can see. If flies have a little white on them, all the better.

I love watching large flies floating on the surface of the water and seeing fish nail them with gusto.

OK, to make a long story short, I was fishing the Salmon River by Stanley last weekend and was surprised by the receding flow. Generally, flows in mountain rivers and streams have dropped dramatically this spring because of low snowpack over the winter.

That means prime mountain-river fly fishing should hit a lot sooner than in normal years, when we see high-country waters receding around July 4.


Flows in waters like the Salmon near Stanley, Big Wood near Sun Valley and the South Fork of the Payette near Lowman are coming down fast and fly fishing with attractor patterns will come on strong.

That's the fly-fishing season I like. When hoppers and Renegades reign.

Here's fair warning. If you normally start hitting your favorite mountain rivers and streams in mid-July, get out on them now or at least by the end of the month.

Good fishing. Pass the Renegade.

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