300 CFS

Having the South Fork of the Boise River open the year at 300 CFS is a real treat, and one I couldn’t miss. I am fishing with my brother today, and although we got there early there were already other diehard anglers setting up gear as we drove passed. The lush landscape was a welcoming sight to see, and caddis were already flying around with a few fish taking them off the surface as we arrived to our spot. 

A fish rising to a caddis will behave differently. You will easily see the head of the fish fully come out of the water, or the fish can create a splash rise when feeding. All of this was happening, so it was obvious when it came to fly selection. The thing is, that with all the caddis on the water, there was a multitude of sizes to chose from. The largest caddis flying around was a size twelve, so that is what I chose. 

This was also my first real opportunity to try out my new 6X World Angler tippet on some mean trout. Sure I have use the tippet on bluegill, but that’s hardly a real test of the tinsel-strength. So with my leader built out, I secured a size 12 caddis to the 6X and targeted a rising fish. 

“First fish of the day!” I yelled out to my brother, Kris who was fishing on the other side of the river. 

“Oh nice!” He yelled back, as the fish put on quite the display of acrobatic as if completing for olympic gold in the high jump. 

“Whoa! Whoa, fish!” I yelled with every jump. The fish tired quickly, and I was able to get it to the net fast.  

It was a beautiful fish, but was it really a test on the 6X? I felt I could do better, and I quickly released the fish because there were several more rising.

Second third and fourth fish were all that same sixteen to seventeen inch cookie cutter size. Though they all fought differently, none were a real test.  With my success on the water, Kris was now on the same side of the river as me. Fish were still rising like dolphins leading a ship in the ocean, and Kris was ready with a caddis. 

“Brother what are you waiting for?” I asked, after several failed attempts to catch a fish.

“I don’t know. They don’t want this fly.” He said, eyes still on the fish. 

“They are looking at it, but wont take.” He finished, making another cast. 

“Stop.” I said, “We need to drop your fly down a size”.

After fishing the river for over 15 years, I have learned a thing or two. Very often a simply change of size is all you need to be successful again. Even when I was throwing the size 12 caddis, a few fish had snubbed it. There were so many rising fish that all I had to do was cast to a different fish. With those eager fish out of the way, I had left behind the fish that wanted a smaller fly. 

“Okay, here we go…” Kris said, zeroing in on his fish. His cast was spot on, and drifted right down the feeding lane of the fish. 

“There it is.” He said, and his rod shot up to set the hook. 

The fish bolted to deeper water. 

“Get it, brother, get it.” I said.

“It won’t stop, brother.” Kris said back. 

His reel screamed as line pulled out from the bolting fish. 

“Oh no!” Kris yelled, as the fish turned to wrap his line around a submerged rock. 

“Not good, brother.” I said. 

“Get over here.” Kris said with strain as he lifted his rod to do his best to control the fish. 

“Get, over, here.” He said again, each syllable as the line slipped over the rock regains control of the fight. 

“Nice move, brother.” I said, as Kris reeled in line to bring the fish into his net.

 Together my brother and I took turns catching fish. Some fish were so tight to the bank it was easy to land your fly in a low hanging branch. Every attempt to shake the fly free resulted in a cloud of caddis bringing up more fish to feed on them. 

We stopped counting the number of fish we had brought into the net after much success. 

“Well, should we try a new spot?” Kris asked, Securing his fly to his rod. 

“Sure… Just let me try one more thing.” I said, clipping off my caddis and securing a salmon fly to the line.

“Oh, nice.” Kris said, as I got into position to make a cast. 

We had seen a few salmon flies fluttering around so why not try it out before we leave? I had my target in sight, and although I saw no rising fish, I knew if I shot it under a overhanging tree it would be my best bet.

I launched my fly right under the bush, but as the fly turned over, it caught a low hanging limb. 

“What an idiot!” Kris said, seeing my fly stuck in the tree.

Ignoring him, I pointed my rod at the fly and gave it a little wiggle; the fly popped off the tree. 

“So lucky.” Kris said. 

The next cast hit the target way back in the shadow on the tree. All I could make out of this big fly was a silhouette that if I looked away would be lost. 


“ON THE SALMON FLY!” I yelled, setting the hook and watching the fish rocket out from under the tree practically tail-walking on the surface of the water. 

“Whoa, it’s a hot one!” Kris yelled. 

“Yes it is, brother. Yes it is.”

The fish was all show and no fight. After one solid run, It came to the net really quickly. 

We left behind rising fish to go look for a new spot. Sure we thought about staying, but it has already been great day of fishing, and now it’s time to try something new. After the success with the salmon fly I wanted a longer stretch of rocky bank that may hold hungry fishing looking for a hearty meal. Luckily we were able to find such a spot. Kris stayed up on the run working caddis on some rising fish, while I made my way downstream pitching the salmon fly in every pocket I could find. One fish flew out of the water to crush the fly. I felt the weight of the fish, but the hook didn’t set and the large fly came loosely sailing back towards me. It wasn’t until the end of the run where I stick a healthy fish and brought it to the net. 

It was near the end of the day and we were looking for our last spot to fish. Like anyone, I do have some favorite spots that I go check. Lucky for us there was some people fishing one in particular spot that just left it to head out. 

“There are rising fish everywhere, I wonder why they would leave this spot?” Kris said, grabbing his rod. Caddis were still swarming everywhere with the occasional bug flying in-between your sunglasses. 

“I bet they thought these fish were eating caddis.”

“Arn’t they?”

“No… Look at the way they are rising. They are siping on emergers. A BWO RS2 is what I am going to use.” 

“But theres caddis everywhere.” 

“Brother…” I said in a condescending tone.

“Damn it.” Kris said, clipping off his very visible caddis and tying on a hard to see BWO emerger. 

Just then a truck for of guys showed up and parked right besides us. 

“Hi.” Said the driver. 

“Hi.” I said back. 

There was a slight pause before he spoke. “We were wondering if we could fish here with you guys. We got yelled at by the people who were here before, and wondered if you guys wound mind.”

I looked in the truck, and it was packed with five guys. 

“How have you guys done today?” I asked. 

“We have done ok…” The driver said, gesturing to the two guys who have caught fish. 

“You caught one white fish!” One of the other guys yelled from the back seat to the successful angler. 

“Still counts!” 

Okay, so I would have loved to have just shared this stretch of water with me and my brother, but good etiquette on the water has to be rewarded. 

“Sure join us.” I said, and like the Coolio “Fanatic Voyage”  music video, one by one they came out of the truck. 

Every one of them thanked us for sharing the water, and honestly it is never bad to be nice to others. A lot of the times I learn from sharing the river like this, and in doing so people are willing to share their secrets if they have a special trick up their sleeve. Altogether the seven of us stormed the little section of river which may have looked comical to anyone driving by. 

Several rising fish were in my pocket of water, and I zeroed onto one. Timing the fish, I made a cast and WAM! 

“There it is, brother!” I yelled, as the fish bolted downstream jumping clear out of the water like a trained dolphin. 

“Oh! BROTHER! A DOUBLE?!” I yelled, as Kris hooked into a fish as I was still fighting mine. 

“Yeah!” Kris yelled back, as splashes from his fish echoed across the water. 

I had my net in hand and reaching out for the fish when it tuned and the fly popped right out of its mouth. My brother had netted his fish, and let it go to catch another. 

“Here we go again!” I yelled to my brother, whom glanced over for a sec to look, and went right back to working his fish. Like the last fish, this one too came unbuttoned. It was no matter, it just got me back to fishing faster. 

“BROOOOOTHER!” I yelled, with another fish on. This fish was a smaller fish than the last two, and came in rather quickly. 

The next few fish I didn’t yell or make a sound. It’s one thing to tease my brother with every fish, but now, with others on the water, it could get annoying fast. My reel screamed to life with yet another successful hookup, only this time I had on something big. If I ever wanted to put the tinsel strength of my new World Angler tippet to test, this was it. 

The fish breached like a humpback whale, coming out of the water as hight as it could, but with the size of the fish the tail never caught air. 

“that’s a huge fish.” Kris said, as the fish was closer to him than me at this point. 

“Want me to net it?” He asked. 

“If it gets in front of you, yes.” 

The fish was having non of it. At the first sight of movement my brother made to attempt netting, the fish sprang to life again and shot across the river. The submerged line added extra stress on the tipped as the fish went from deep water too shallow, thrashing in the process. I was overcautious with every pull towards landing the fish and reeling in what little line I gained to keep the tension. 

“This fish is bulldogging me.” I said, not making much progress. 

“You probably got it foul hooked.” Feef said. 

“No I don’t.” I said, but with my inability to turn the fish the thought it did cross my mind. 

 The fish stayed in one spot, not moving. It was tired but wouldn’t budge when I pulled it towards me.  It was time to chase it down. I took a few stealthy steps towards the fish, reeling in line fast as I moved. My leader was now at the edge of my rod tip. I pulled my net off the magnet and held it ready. The fish bolted again. Line jetted from my reel and I tucked my net under my arm to reel back in line and I now quickly made my way to the fish. The leader was back to the rod tip, and I was fast to ready my net. One good heave brought the fish’s head out of the water, adding maximum strain on the tippet; I sprang to net the fish. 

“I got it, brother.” I yelled, as the fish flopped around in the net. The fish was huge, and was sure to keep it underwater as I removed the fly. And am I happy with the new tippet, yes indeed.

“Would you like a picture?” One of the guys asked, wading down to me. 

“Yeah…” I said, “Thank you”.

I handed over my phone and it took a few tried to hold the fish right as before I held it up for a quick snap. 

As soon as the fish felt the water, it took off. 

“Nice, thank you.” I said, getting my phone back. 

“Hey, would you like one of these?” I asked, opening my fly box and handing over the fly du jour. 

“Oh thanks!” 

“Can I take a look at that?” one of the other guys asked, wading our way. 

“Of course.” I said, pulling out another fly, and handing it to him. 

“You can have that one.” 

“Oh, no, I don’t want to take your fly.” He said, being polite.

I kept the fly held out in my fingers, and have him a skeptical look that he caught onto quickly. 

“…but since you are offering…” 

“Smart move.” I said with a laugh. 

It wasn’t long before both of them were into a fish. And the night went on like this until there was only a few more fish rising and the bite went cold. Kris was already up at the car with his waders off, when I felt it was time to go too. I couldn’t feel my toes anymore anyways. 

We spoke with some of the guys we were fishing with, and although I forgot all five names, this was a bachelor party for the one that was getting married. Although we had already shared the river, I was even more thankful we did after this information. With everything packed up it was time to get going. It was easily in the high seventies outside, but after standing in that river for hours we were freezing, so I had the heater on full blast. 

“It was a good day.” I said, to Kris. 

“Really good.” He replied. 

“It won’t last for long. They will up the flows soon.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah. Right now the reservoir is almost full.” I said, pointing at it as we drove over the dam.

“It’s only a matter of time. Got to fish it as much has we can.” I added, hoping I would get to return soon.   

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