Copyright 2009 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Big Lost River Tailwater Idaho
The hatches on this tailwater can be especially good. The water chemistry is suitable for a
large variety of aquatic insects including the famous Salmonfly.
During the winter, the hatches consist mostly of Blue-winged Olives. These hatches can
occur from late November until near June. Several species of baetis exist in the river.
Midges are the only other substantial hatches that occur during the winter months and
imitations of their larva, pupa and adult stages of life can produce well at times. You can
actually catch trout in the tailwater on midge imitations whenever you choose to fish. It's
just that they may be the only thing hatching on most winter days.
Little Yellow Stonflies show up during late May and can hatch until late June. The Yellow
Sallies can be an important insect to imitate during this time. Hatches are normally very
consistent. The Salmonfly nymphs usually start moving to the banks to hatch during the
middle of June. Hatches are normally over by the middle of July. Golden Stoneflies follow
just behind the Salmonflies and also start appearing in June. They can last until near the
end of July.
Other than the BWOs, the bulk of the mayflies will be the Pale Morning Duns. They start
hatching in June and last into the first of August. The Blue-winged Olives (baetis) mayflies
will reappear during the month of August. Hatches of these little mayflies can last on into
Caddisflies are the most consistent hatches of aquatic insects. Little Short-horned Sedges
and Green Sedges (Rock Worms) hatch starting in May and last through June. Different
species of Spotted Sedges start in early June and hatch until late September. They
represent the most important caddisfly hatches. There are several more species of
caddisflies in the tailwater but they are not usually heavy hatches.
Terrestrial insects become important during the month of June. Imitations of ants, beetles
and grasshoppers can produce until as late as the end of September. The huge amount of
tall grass that line the banks provide the perfect habitat for the hoppers as well as the
other land based insects.
When the water is high, streamers can sometimes produce. Heavy weighted streamers like
the Zonker can be used to hang some of the large rainbows at times.
Specific imitations of the Little Yellow, Golden and Salmonfly stonefly nymphs are important
flies to have. Imitations of the BWO and PMD nymphs are also effective for sight fishing
during low, clear water conditions. Of course we recommend our "Perfect Flies" not just
because they are the most realistic imitations but also because they are also the most
productive flies you can purchase. Imitations of the stonefly nymphs have been proven to
work on the Big Lost River tailwater.
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Big Lost River
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