2008 Opening Day Outlook

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Synopsis

Opening day is the 24th of May this year. Entering the month of June we will have almost 90% snow pack still sitting atop the high country passes. The weather report for the coming days calls for some cooler days with some rain showers (40% to 60% chance) leading up to the Saturday opener. The opener and the rest of the following week are predicted to hold this same weather pattern. Expect all the freestone rivers that have risen this past weekend to drop a bit and clear a little. There is a slight chance the waters could clear enough by the opener to be fishable in some areas. Even though this may, or may not be the case, the river will still be high and dangerous to be around, so please use caution throughout the month of June.

Regardless of the short term forecast, the snow is going to come out of the high country in June and we are going to experience a runoff that either comes down in a hurry with warm days and spring rain, or we are going to get a prolonged “clear water” runoff like we experienced a few years ago. If you have to make a plan, count on Silver Creek, but bring your big flies in case there is an opportunity to get on other rivers.

Silver Creek

The Creek is low and clear right now. There is good fish dispersal throughout the system this spring. Approaching the opener, anglers can expect a busy weekend on the water as this may be the only game in town for awhile. With decent downstream numbers of fish, anglers should be able to spread out and find some elbow room.

Baetis, PMD, and some early season Caddis activity will be the targets of the fish here. Generally on the opener anglers can get away with slightly bigger dry flies than normal, and ants and beetles can be unbeatable, especially if there are enough insects to get the fish focused on the surface. The Green Drake on the Conservancy water has already begun, and this fair-weather insect may have peaked this past weekend when the fishing was closed. With predicted cloud cover look for the Blue Winged Olive to be the major player, although with some sunshine the P.M.D. could add some spice to the day.

If the river fish aren’t rising, check out the upper and lower sloughs for big fish cruising the moss beds looking for early season Callibaetis and random terrestrials. The algae hasn’t grown much yet this season, giving anglers a clear view and nice shots at these fish.

Remember early season means you can get away with heavier tippets, so please use 4X and 5X to get the fish in quickly and released with plenty of energy to spare. Save the 6X for more trying days of the summer.

There has been a lot of bank work done on the Creek the past few seasons and early indications seem to be that this has had great success in proving the fish with faster currents, deeper holes and cooler more oxygenated water. This seems most apparent by the numbers of downstream fish that were in the system over the winter months. If these fish stayed put, the whole river will provide plenty of entertainment for local and visiting fly anglers.

Big Wood River

The real key to what is going to happen on the Big Wood in the coming weeks lies with the nighttime temperatures. If the nights are going to be above freezing in the high-country, the river is going to come up, go off color and tear through the valley for a few weeks. In the days leading up to the opener the temperatures are supposed to drop below freezing up high, thus locking the snow melt up at night and creating a clear water runoff like a few years ago. Right now, it is highly unlikely we will have this fishery for the opener.

My advice to the angler that really wants a crack at this fishery is to keep a daily watch on the night temperatures and see if they get adjusted in the next week. If you see them going up, or you see heavy rains in the forecast, forget it. If they are going to stay below freezing at night, you could get a crack at a few areas like side channels, bank side riffles, and the eddies.

If, by luck, the river is clear enough to fish, plan on casting the biggest Stimulators you can buy or tie and fish a dropper like a large Prince Nymph or Epoxy Back Green Drake underneath. Fish that are in the eating mood, should be sitting shallow enough to find your offerings. If you aren’t getting much action, try an indicator and nymph fished in the deeper, slower areas you can find.

If you go on the Wood because it’s clear enough, DO NOT be deceived and get caught by powerful currents. Every year some angler gets in trouble on this river and needs rescued. Try not to be that person. Always wear a wading belt! Do not bring your dog when the water is high. One stick or duck floating by could put your best four legged friend in serious danger.

Upper Lost and Copper Basin

Whatever you see the Big Wood doing in regards to runoff, you can assume the Basin and adjacent areas are doing the same. When the water clears and drops in the Big Wood system, the water “up top” normally clears and drops about a week, to ten days later. Fly choice is the same as the Big Wood with nice occurrences of Green Drakes.

Big Lost River

The Lost could be another place where a lucky angler might find good fishing in June. It all depends on what happens with the water flows and runoff. Currently the water is being released from the dam at a fishable flow. The water is coming out at the same rate it is coming into the reservoir and most likely the reservoir won’t fill. Keep an eye on the CFS at Mackay. You can find this flow on our website www.silver-creek.com. If it stays in the 200 to 250 mark, there may be some fishing found here. Regardless the flows will be dropping rapidly here in June and we should be on this system much earlier than in years past. If you go, big nymphs are key.

South Fork of the Boise

The South Fork is going to be another tough one to predict. Currently the flow near 600 is enough to get a boat down, but traditionally there aren’t that many insects out until mid-June on this river. If you go, nymphs and very big dry flies will draw a few strikes, but don’t expect it to be gangbusters until the Salmon Fly and the Caddis emerge!

Little Wood River

This is another river that flows on a par with the Big Wood. Generally the lower the flow the better the fishing here. It may be best to wait until July before considering this fishery.