Fly Fishing Forecast 3/22 – 4/5

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“Water is taught by thirst.” – Emily Dickinson

Due to the warm weather and rain over the last week, the low altitude snow has started to melt. Our freestones and tail-waters are already seeing higher than average flows for this time of year. This is the first phase of what will be a long and interesting run-off for the Wood River Valley. During lean water years, we learn the value of water; on years of plenty, we learn patience.

THE SALMON
It is steelhead time! As of March 20th, 100 fish have made their way to the Sawtooth Hatchery. At the moment the water is mostly clear on down to Yankee Fork, which is flowing high and muddy. Even Valley Creek flows are high for this time of year. The conditions can change rapidly, so please check with us before you go.

BIG WOOD
The Wood below Warm Springs is high and muddy. Unless we get a cold snap that halts the low altitude snow melt, this portion of the river may not fish again until summer. However, the colder temperatures that are in the forecast may clear and drop the river above Warm Springs making it fishable as we head into the last days of the season. With the high flows, nymphing is the way to go. Try a heavy double nymph rig with an indicator or Euro Style. For flies, a Rubber Leg Stone, Golden Stone, San Juan Worm, King Prince, or Pheasant Tail will serve well as an anchor fly. Trail behind this a smaller fly like a Copper John, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite. Streamers will also turn some big fish. The fish are feeding heavily this time of year in anticipation of the spring spawn and the higher flows are stirring up all kinds of food. Remember, the last day to fish the Wood is Friday, March 31st.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The river has bumped up to 600 CFS. Flows may go even higher even before the river closes (March 31st). The upper river is running clear, but the feeder creeks are flowing high and muddy. Still, those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer may find some decent fishing. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are holding at 475 CFS; at this level wading is very difficult. Expect the flows to go even higher as we approach April. If you go, be prepared to nymph with heavy flies and swift flows. Also, be sure to tighten your wading belt and use a wading staff.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek is now closed until opening day May 27th.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

170 cfs

229 cfs

298 cfs

389 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 3/8 – 3/22

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“Two things are certain this year, there will be an extended high water season when the snow starts melting; the timing and the magnitude of the peak flows are unknown at this time, and the peaks could be big on some rivers.”
– Idaho Water Supply Outlook Report March 1, 2017

On normal years, the Wood and surrounding freestones are ready to fish right around the first week of July when the flows drop below 400 CFS. This is not a normal year; the snow keeps coming! The snowpack in the Big Wood, Little Wood, and Big Lost Basins are between 175% to 200% of normal and there is more snow in the forecast for March. With this record breaking snowpack, we may not see wadeable levels on the Wood until the middle or end of July. In the meanwhile, the cooler temperatures are keeping the snow on the valley floor from melting and the Wood is crystal clear. Once the day time temperatures moderate, we will see some fantastic March Midge action!

BIG WOOD
If you want to find fresh untouched water on the Wood, take your snow shoes and look for untracked powder. Any access that is too easy will have a beaten path to the river and you know someone has fished it recently. March is a magical time on the Wood and it is the last month to enjoy the fishing before it closes for the season and then goes through an epic, transformative runoff. With the cool mornings, it is best to be on the water from about midday until the sun starts to drop behind the mountains. For flies and techniques, plan on encountering plenty of midge; carry variety of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24. Some favorites include the Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, non-beaded Brassies. When the surface action is on, try a double dry set up with an easy to see dry trailed by a smaller midge imitation. Once the fish seem to wise up, try switching the small fly in this tandem rig to the non beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film. The right tippet can also make a huge difference; Trouthunter tippet in size 6 or 6.5 X is a good option. If you can’t find any surface activity, try a dry dropper rig with a beaded zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite. Going deep in the right bucket with a double rig and an indicator or Euro Nymphing might be worth a try. Try Rubber Leg Stones, large beaded Prince or Pheasant Tail nymphs in sizes 8-14 followed by a smaller fly.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Not much has changed here; the river is holding steady at 300 CFS. Flows may change, however, if we continue to see early run-off due to the warmer temperatures. The fishing can be fantastic in March, and this area is definitely worth the drive for a full day of fishing. Surface activity can be unpredictable, but those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer will be rewarded. For dries, standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are currently holding at 400 CFS and may go up any day; always check the flows before you go. At this flow wading is difficult, but strong waders can still find some areas to fish. The higher flows will minimize the dry fly opportunities, but the nymphing will be decent. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors and Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22. Also, larger nymphs like a King Prince, Rubber Leg Stone, or San Juan Worm will be effective.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek is now closed until opening day May 27th.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

170 cfs

229 cfs

298 cfs

389 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 2/22 – 3/8

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“A year of snow, a year of plenty.”
– French Proverb

The snow pack in the Big Wood drainage is currently at 172% of average and still has the potential to climb heading into spring. The stage is set for a record breaking spring run-off on the Wood and surrounding drainages. To put this in perspective, the Valley had a similar snow pack in 2006 and the flows peaked on the Wood at 7,800 CFS. Over the next four months we will see how this drama will unfold! In the meantime, as we head into the last month of the season the flows on the Wood are perfect; however, some of the local tail-waters are already going up in anticipation of the spring melt.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek below Highway 20 is open until the end of the month and there are only a few days left to fish this area until opening day the end of May. The low altitude rain and snow melt has brought the river up and turned the water murky, but the streamer fishing can still be good. Try swinging a lightly weighted bugger off the bank, over the shallow shelves, and through the buckets.

BIG WOOD
The challenge on the Wood right now is getting to the river; the typical parking areas are full of snow. If you take along some snowshoes and are prepared to hike to the river from a plowed parking area, you are in for some great fishing. After all, February and March are typically the best winter dry fly months of the season. The winter midge activity on the Wood can be spectacular, especially on cloudy, snowy days. No matter what the day gives you, go with a good supply of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24: Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, non-beaded Brassies. If you find surface activity, try a double dry setup with an easy-to-see dry trailed by a smaller midge imitation. This is a great option in low light conditions. Sometimes switching the small fly in this tandem rig to the non-beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film, will fool finicky trout. Also, using light Trouthunter tippet in size 6 or 6.5X is a good choice for problem fish. Of course, for those times when nothing is happening on the surface, try a dry dropper rig with a beaded zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite. Deep nymphing will also produce with a double rig and an indicator or Euro Nymphing. For an anchor fly, use a Rubber Leg Stone, a large beaded Prince or Pheasant Tail in sizes 8-14.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are already on the way up on the Lost and are currently holding at 300 CFS. If the flows hold, the fishing will be good, but they may even go higher. Always check the flows before you go. The higher flows will minimize the dry fly opportunities, but the nymphing will be fantastic. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors and Bishop’s Dynamite in sizes 16 to 22. Also, larger nymphs like a King Prince, Rubber Leg Stone, or San Juan Worm will be effective.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The river is holding steady at 300 CFS and typically remains at this level until the river closes the end of March. Flows may change, however, if we continue to see early run-off due to the warmer temperatures. The fishing is fantastic in March, and this area is definitely worth the drive for a full day of fishing. Surface activity can be unpredictable, but those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer will be rewarded. For dries, standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

243 cfs

283 cfs

298 cfs

408 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 2/8 – 2/22

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“With melted snow I boil fragrant tea.”
– Mencius

The snow keeps coming. As of February 6th, the Big Wood Basin is at 144% of average and the Little Wood and Big Lost are not far behind. While it is a bit too early to prognosticate about when our summer flows will be prime, one thing is certain… each flake is a promise that we will have plenty of water for the upcoming season! While we can anticipate a great summer season, we currently have two of the best winter fishing months to look forward to before closures and spring run-off. There is no time like the present to enjoy the “fragrant tea” of melted snow.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek below Highway 20 is open until the end of the month. Now that the temperatures have warmed a bit, much of the ice has disappeared. When fishing, the best approach is to search for a sipping trout. Approach with caution and fish with a long leader and light tippet from above. If you find no fish feeding try fishing deep and slow with buggers and nymphs around the obvious buckets.

BIG WOOD
February is spectacular on the Wood! With the longer days and the milder day time temperatures, the winter midge activity will continue to gain momentum. The problem of course remains parking access due to all the snow on the Valley floor. Many of the typical parking areas simply are not plowed. But if you are willing to walk, you can find water that has not been pressured all winter. When you do hit the river, have a good assortment of midge patterns spanning every stage of this prolific insects life: trailing shuck midge, Griffith’s Gnats, and high vis parachute midge patterns in size 18-24. If no surface activity can be found, be prepared to fish dry dropper or Euro style. For nymphs, try Rubber Leg Stones, King Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, the Red Dart, or the Iron Lotus. This is also a good time to swing a brown Woolly Bugger to imitate the Big Wood Sculpin.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are holding steady at 115 CFS and the fishing is very good. The trout on the Lost spawn earlier than the fish on the Wood and while we are not seeing any redds yet (and wont until March) these fish are feeding with abandon to gain the needed calories. The midge, along with a smattering of BWO, can be thick during the afternoon. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The recent warmer weather pattern has mostly brought rain to the South Fork Canyon leaving the roads mostly clear of ice, but muddy. Still, the snow line could drop with any passing storm, so be ready with chains and an emergency kit in your car if you go. The flows are at 300 CFS and should remain at this level until the river closes the end of March. Dries can be hit or miss, but those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer will be rewarded. For dries, standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

136 cfs

197 cfs

298 cfs

118 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 1/25 – 2/8

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“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
– Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Rain, snow, sleet, inversions: we have seen it all this winter. Fortunately, when the weather is bad, the fishing is good. But having the appropriate gear makes all the difference between success and frustration on the water. The Chinese have a proverb: “A man with a toothache cannot know love.” If one aspect of your clothing or gear is not functioning properly, it can be difficult to enjoy your time fishing. To illustrate, be sure to have the right wading boots for the wintery conditions. Always wear a Vibram sole boot with carbide studs for the best traction in and out of the water as felt-soled boots easily freeze and collect ice on the bottoms when moving from the river to the bank…completely inappropriate and slippery.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek below the Highway 20 bridge remains open until the end of February. Not much has changed down here; with the inversion and cold temperatures of late, there is a lot of ice on the edges of the Creek and it is difficult to effectively fish the open areas. It would be wise to let the ice break up before attempting to fish here.

BIG WOOD
There is a lot of snow on the valley floor making access to the river limited to a few plowed pull outs. If you are creative in how you approach the river, you can find water that has not seen any pressure in weeks. Focus your attention below the confluence of Warm Springs. The influx of warmer water plus the exposure to the sun has left this stretch of water mostly open with plenty of fishing opportunities. Don’t bother hitting the water until around noon and dress with layers so you can adjust to the changing air temps. You will notice the fishing begins to slow down around three and by five it can completely shut down. Fly choice this time of year is simple. When probing the classic winter water with nymphs, use small (16 or 18) bead-headed Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite. The fish also like a big meal this time of year so you might try a Rubber Leg Stone or a Prince Nymph in a 12, 10, or 8. When you find rising trout, closely observe their feeding behavior. Many fish this time of year will be feeding just beneath the surface. Try non-beaded nymphs like brassies, crystal midge or a miracle midge trailed behind a high visibility dry with 6x or 6.5x for these picky feeders. If they are on the surface, a Griffiths Gnat or a Trailing Shuck Midge in size 20 or 22 are a good choice. Try fishing these hard-to-see drys behind a larger dry to help with visibility.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
This is another winter fishing gem and February and March can be fantastic. It takes a bit of wind shield time (two hours) through Arco and up to Mackay, but it is worth the drive. Approach this water with the same tactics as you would use on the Wood. With the water levels as low as they are, you will find concentrations of fish in the classic winter water and once you get to the water you won’t need to walk far to find fish. For flies, try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge and a small indicator in the shallow water or a double nymph rig in the deeper runs. Sometimes these tail-water fish can be selective and often dropping down in tippet size can make all the difference. I like using light 6x or 6.5x Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet to fool these wily trout.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Hatches can be hit or miss this time of year, but should become more consistent as the sun hangs above the canyon rim a little longer each day. Seek out deeper runs with ample structure or seams along dancing water and you may find fish looking up. Standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymph fishermen, try dry dropper or Euro Style rigs in the seams and tailouts. If this doesn’t get you into some trout, you will certainly be able to find a multitude of whitefish to keep your rod bent. As always, travel with a winter survival kit including a sleeping bag, chains, extra food, water and whiskey when venturing into this canyon.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

93 cfs

185 cfs

298 cfs

108 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 1-11 – 1/25

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“…this winter I’m determined to for once fish sensibly, and by that I mean in comfort, to try not only to match the hatch but also to match the weather.”
– Tom Sutcliffe, MD

Fishing sensibly and comfortably in winter is a matter of preparation and layering. On the bottom, double up on socks and wear a size larger wading boot than you do in summer. Your toes are always the first to get cold and they need insulation and wiggle room to stay comfortable. On your legs, one or two pairs of long underwear along with fleece pants beneath your waders should suffice. On top, begin with long underwear, a mid-weight fleece, a Windstopper fleece or down sweater and then a Gore-tex outer shell. This layering system will allow you to adjust to the changing conditions throughout the day. In addition, there are some other items that a winter angler should not be without: fingerless gloves, pocket warmers, extra clothes, balaclava, neck gaiter, Ketchum Release tool, thermos, and flask. Lastly, keep your flies and tackle to a minimum; you can typically whittle your fly selection down to a puck full and carry only a spool of tippet and a few tools. Remember, when winter fly fishing, the more sensible you are the more comfortable you will be.

SILVER CREEK
Silver Creek below the Highway 20 bridge remains open until the end of February. However, with the cold temperatures of late, there is a lot of ice on the edges of the Creek and it is difficult to effectively fish the open areas. It would be wise to let the ice dissipate before attempting to fish here. When it does, try nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective through the slow deep buckets. Try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs or olive and red Zebra Midge. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.

BIG WOOD
Despite the snow and cold temperatures, the Wood saw a good deal of pressure over the Holidays; however, for the next month, seeing another angler should be rare. Snow continues to fall in the Valley making the access points limited and those willing to use snowshoes to access the river will find solitude. Keep in mind the river fishes best this time of year from the Warm Springs confluence down to East Fork. The lower river around Bellevue and Hailey has seen some flooding due to ice dams and avalanches, so avoid this area. Even where the river is open, there can be a good amount of ice along the banks; using a wading staff to help navigate both the ice and deep snow is advised. If you go, no need to start early. The best fishing window is during the afternoon until the sun drops. Some winter midge have already been active, but it is mostly a nymphing scenario this time of year. Try small flies like beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge in size 16-22, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Surprisingly, large nymphs will also work: Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Focus your efforts on the slow deep water and generally where you find one fish there will be many others. Still, winter trout need to be played and released quickly; please learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
From Ketchum, it takes a little over 2 hours to make the trek to Mackay by way Craters of the Moon and Arco…but the fishing and solitude make it worth the trip. There is a good amount of snow around Mackay, so expect to find the same parking and access issues as we are having in the Valley. Tactically speaking, fish this much like the Wood with small midge patterns and even some Baetis on snowy, cloudy days. Try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge and a small indicator in the shallow water or a double nymph rig in the deeper runs. Sometimes these tail-water fish can be selective and often dropping down in tippet size can make all the difference. I like using light 6 or 6.5X Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet to fool these wily trout.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
January can be a bit slow down in the canyon, but February and March can be some of the best fishing of the winter season. Always take a four wheel drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains and check the road conditions before you go. While fishing, look for the deep, slow runs to find the best activity and have a variety of beaded and non-beaded midge patterns as well as caddis larva, stoneflies, and San Juan Worms. A persistent angler may even find some fish feeding on the surface during the prime fishing window.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

80 cfs

145 cfs

302 cfs

103 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 12/28 – 1/11

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“The angling fever is a very real disease and can only be cured by the application of cold water and fresh untainted air.”
– Theodore Gordon

For some, the concept of winter fly fishing seems a bit crazy. And yet, for those who suffer from angling fever, winter fly fishing is the best therapy. However, nothing will end a winter fly fishing excursion faster than being ill prepared for the conditions. Often, it is the little things that make the outing a success: a thermos full of coffee, a pocket full of hand warmers, a pair of waders that don’t leak, the proper layering from head to toe, a change of clothes in the car, a flask full of whiskey. So if you are heading out on a winter day to cure what ails you, spend a little extra time thinking about the little things so while you are on the water you can let your worries melt away. On a side note, don’t forget to pick up your new fishing license after the new year.

SILVER CREEK
The Nature Conservancy and the Double R Ranch portion of the Creek down to highway 20 is closed for the season and will reopen the end of May. The Creek from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows, Point of Rocks, and Priest Rapids remains open until the end of February. With the cold temperatures, ice has formed along the sides of the river making access difficult. It would be best to wait until it warms a bit before fishing down here. When it does, try nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective through the slow deep buckets. Try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs or olive and red Zebra Midge. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.

BIG WOOD
This is the place to go if you want to catch the first chair and then fish away the afternoon. Be aware, access is limited with all the snow on the valley floor, but if you are willing to park in a plowed area and walk you can find your way down to the river. Also, during the coldest days, the river can get choked with ice above Warm Springs and below the Hospital south of town. Keep in mind, the best days to fish are when the snow is falling, as this can trigger some fantastic winter midge activity. This is a good time to really streamline your gear and keep it simple. Dry dropper rigs or double nymphs with an indicator will let you cover all depths of water. For flies, try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge in size 14-20, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work. I like Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Remember the winter trout don’t like fast water, so concentrate your efforts on the slow water at the tail end of runs or in the slow seams. Also, winter trout need to be played and released quickly; please learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool. This also provides the added bonus of keeping your hands dry, which is essential in the winter.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
This is a great option if you are looking for a longer fishing excursion. Remember, Trail Creek Pass is closed and it takes about two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. Still, the fishing can be fun this time of year and with the low flows (90 CFS) you will find plenty of fish in the slow buckets. Try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge and a small indicator in the shallow water or a double nymph rig in the deeper runs. I like using light 6.5 Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet to fool these trout and help get the flies down quickly.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
This is another great winter outing with plenty of trout and whitefish to be found about 90 minutes drive from Ketchum. If you go, take a four wheel drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains. The road down into the canyon can be horrendous this time of year. The fishing window is short deep in the South Fork canyon; look for runs in the sun to find the best activity. You will find fish in the classic winter water and have a good selection of beaded and non-beaded midge patterns as well as caddis larva, stoneflies, and San Juan Worms.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

80 cfs

145 cfs

310 cfs

93 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 12/14 – 12/28

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“I salute the gallantry and uncompromising standards of wild trout, and their tastes in landscapes.”
– John Madson

If it is true that your surroundings shape your thoughts and emotions, then choose to surround yourself with water, snow, mountains, and trout. This is the best cure for seasonal affective disorder, light deprivation, cabin fever, and holiday stress; grab a rod and go fly fishing. As Ishmael, from Moby Dick, declares, “This is [your] substitute for pistol and ball.” Trust the trout’s taste in landscapes. It is high time to get to the river!

SILVER CREEK
The Nature Conservancy and the Double R Ranch portion of the Creek down to highway 20 is now closed for the season and will reopen the end of May. The Creek from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows, Point of Rocks, and Priest Rapids will remain open until the end of February. With the cold temperatures, ice has formed along the sides of the river making access difficult. If it warms up a bit or you simply want to experience the Creek in winter, nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective through the slow deep buckets. Try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs or olive and red Zebra Midge. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.

BIG WOOD
Snow has come to the valley floor which will limit the parking access along the river; however, once in the river, you should easily be able to find some winter holding water to while away the afternoon in pursuit of trout. Focus your attention on the river below the Warm Springs confluence this time of year to reap the benefits of the warmer water temps. Above Warm Springs and below East Fork, the river can be choked with ice. Generally, if you find slow deep water or the shallow water next to deeper runs you will find fish. If at first you don’t get a strike but are confident fish are present, try lengthening your fluorocarbon tippet and sizing up your bead head to get the fly down. Also, downsizing your tippet from 5X to 6X or even 6.5 X will help get your fly down more quickly. For flies, try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge in size 16-20, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work. I like Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Also, winter trout need to be played and released quickly; please learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed. You will need to go down to Carey and through Arco to get to Mackay. This is a beautiful drive, especially around Craters of the Moon, and a great way to spend a full day fly fishing in December. The flows are now at 85 CFS, and should stabilize for the remainder of the winter. At this flow and with the cooler temperatures, the fish will be concentrated in the deeper runs below shallow riffles. Expect some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching late in the day. If you find surface activity, utilize long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies to match. Nymphing is the most effective technique at the moment and at these flows the sight nymphing is really good. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator or bi-colored sighter built into your leader.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Snow has come to the lower elevations making travel into and out of the canyon hazardous. Be sure to take a standard winter survival kit in the car including chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food if heading to the South Fork. As for fishing, there can be a few midge and Baetis hatching in the afternoon and persistent anglers will find some fish on top. That said, nymphing, Euro Style or with a Dry Dropper, is the most productive for trout and whitefish. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns, Zebra Midge, caddis larva, stone fly patterns, or San Juan Worms. Streamers are also effective.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

80 cfs

145 cfs

302 cfs

86 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 11/30 – 12/14

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Fly Fishing Forecast November 30
“Fishing is like that. It keeps you off balance, surprises you. It takes humility to learn, to accept that you may need a lesson or two even in your advanced stage of enlightenment.”
– Kevin Nelson

The best fly fishermen are confident, but humble. The confidence comes from knowing that if you keep an open mind, keep striving to learn from the environment, the fish, and the other anglers around you, success will come more often than not. This takes humility, comfort with instability, and an acceptance that the most enlightened anglers may not be the most experienced. Fly fishing is, most certainly, like that.

SILVER CREEK
The Nature Conservancy and the Double R Ranch portion of the Creek down to highway 20 is now closed for the season and will reopen at the end of May. The Creek from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows, Point of Rocks, and Priest Rapids will remain open until the end of February. While you may find a few fish rising to emerging and adult midge in the slower stretches, nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective. Try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs or olive and red Zebra Midge. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.

BIG WOOD
If the temperatures fall consistently below freezing, the best fishing on the Wood will be downstream of the Warm Springs confluence through the catch and release water to the East Fork Bridge. The fish are concentrated in the winter holding water to conserve energy, so look for deep, slow water and focus your efforts there. The Valley floor has received a touch of snow, but all the accesses are still open for parking at the moment. We are still a couple of months away from the prolific winter Midge, so nymphing is going to be the most productive method. The key to success is finding the right depth as winter fish tend to not move very far for their food. The best methods are standard dry dropper, indicator with two nymphs, or a Euro style rigs. For nymphs try Rubber Leg Stones, King Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, or the Iron Lotus.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
Snow is in the forecast which means Trail Creek Pass could close any day. Check with us before you go and we will let you know if you will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. Thankfully, the flows have come up a bit to 75 CFS. Still, at this level the fish are spooky and concentrated. Be stealthy and patient and you will find success. Expect some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching late in the day. If you find surface activity, utilize long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies to match. Nymphing is the most effective technique at the moment and at these flows the sight nymphing is really good. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator or bi-colored sighter built into your leader.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
If you head to the South Fork be sure to take a standard winter survival kit in the car including chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food. Winter weather is in the forecast and the road can be nasty even with a dusting of snow. As for fishing, there is a decent dry fly window during the warmest time of the day when the sun is above the rim. Still, nymphing, Euro Style or with a Dry Dropper, is the most productive for trout and whitefish when you see no surface feeding fish. For nymphs try small Baetis nymph patterns, Zebra Midge, caddis larva, stone fly patterns, or San Juan Worms. Streamers are also effective.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

100 cfs

191 cfs

302 cfs

75 cfs

Fly Fishing Forecast 11/16 – 11/30

adminFishing Report, Fishing Forecast0 Comments

 

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“There is time to go long, time to go short and time to go fishing.”
– Jesse Livermore

Fly Fishermen understand anticipation; after all, our sport is predicated by watching and waiting. And as one season slowly turns to another, patience is required. Anticipation is piqued. There is a time for snow, turkey, and family. In the meanwhile, notch out some time to go fishing. The rivers await…

SILVER CREEK
Winter weather is descending on the Valley; however, even with the colder, winter-like conditions, the Creek will still produced decent Baetis and Midge action. Keep in mind, it will be short, isolated, and late in the day. As always, cloudy days are your best bet for fish on the surface, otherwise nymphing will be most productive. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22. If you find the right depth with your dropper and you will take plenty of trout. Remember the Conservancy stretch and Purdy’s down to highway 20 will close at the end of November. From the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February.

BIG WOOD
The river has continued to drop and is in great shape heading into winter. Despite the relatively mild fall, the fish are concentrating in the winter holding water. Also, the Baetis and caddis hatches have disappeared. There are still a few midge late in the day. With winter coming, the fish are hungry and if you find the right spot at the right time you will find fish. For flies, try a size 18 or 16 Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior or Bishop’s Dynamite or a larger size 8-12 Rubber Leg Stone, San Juan Worm, or a Czech style nymph. Dangle these bugs off a high floating dry, an indicator, or fish them Euro Style. Remember that when the water temps drop, the takes can be subtle; strike detection becomes paramount. Also, the fish need to be hooked, landed, and released as quickly as possible as their metabolism slows down. Learn how to properly use a Ketchum Release tool; It will save the fish from undue stress and keep your hands from getting wet.

THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is still open but could close any day. Check with us before you go and we will let you know if you will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The Lost is low and the fish have been spooky. The flow is around 69 CFS and at this level the fish are concentrated in the deeper runs and in the riffles at the head of these runs. Be stealthy and you will find success. Expect to find some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching in the afternoons. For the risers, you will need long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies to match. Nymphing will produce the most consistent action. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Be sure you are prepared for winter travel if you head the the South Fork. While the road conditions are fine at the moment, that can change rapidly. Be sure your 4X4 is equipped with studded snow tires and chains. As for the fishing, the flows are rock steady at 306 CFS, which is ideal for walk and wade fishing. There has been a decent number of Baetis as well as Midge hatching in the late afternoon. Dry fly purists will find fish up in the slow, deep stretches selectively sipping up until the sun goes down. Nymphing remains productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs. Focus your attention on the seams and slower riffles for both trout and white fish.

Silver Creek

Big Wood

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Lost

112 cfs

297 cfs

306 cfs

71 cfs