Return to Kelly Creek

blues and golds at Kelley Creek

Fall colors on Kelley Creek, Idaho

It’s the middle of July with temperatures in the mid 90’s and I am dreaming of October. I’ve set aside a week to go back to Kelly Creek again this fall. Is there anything better than cool nights, warm days, brilliant colors and solitary trout streams? The crowds are gone and the fish are hungry. Flies and mosquitoes have burned away or been frosted for the year.

Snow covered Lolo pass in September

You never know what the weather will bring in the fall

This is a picture of Hoodoo Pass taken September 27th, 2001. I was a bit concerned, driving through 6 inches of snow. Not certain what I would find on the river I worried that at the end of the trip I would be driving the long way back through Lewiston. Fortunately the weather held and although chilly, the pass stayed clear. It dropped down into the 20’s, but the days got up into the high 60’s.

Foggy fall morning on Moose CreekWith the frosty mornings, I never start fishing too early in the day. The edges of the stream has a little shelf of ice. And with the steep valley walls, it takes the low lying sun a long time to get down to the river. So I usually linger over a warm breakfast. Boy does that first cup of coffee taste good!

Larch changing in the fall

Larch needles show great color in autumn

You can see the frost from my campsite along Moose Creek that by 9 am, the sun still has a ways to go to reach the water. Often there is some fog to burn off before things start to warm up. Usually I make my way to the river by 11 am and fish till 4 or 5 pm. It gets dark early, so it’s nice to get a campfire going before full dark. Then time to start on dinner.

Compared to summer fishing, that is a pretty short day. But I don’t need a huge number of fish to make me happy. On a good day, I’ll catch over 30. On a poor day, maybe only 15. But when you consider the short day and the time spent hopping from hole to hole, the fishing is great.

I’ve been slipping down to my vise in the last few weeks, tying up a few new flies and topping off my box of favorites. Fall fishing at Kelley is not match-the-hatch for the most part. Last fall, on one day I only used three flies all day. My Rusty Stim on fast water; Harrops thorax dun on quiet water; and a bead head, soft hackle pheasant tail as a dropper when the others weren’t drawing any attention.


Kelley Creek in September

September 21st at Kelley Creek in Idaho


I think this is enough to keep me happy for a while. I have more pictures, so I may make another post before I my trip. We’ll see how the time goes….




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