“It is just that the longer that I fish,
the more I long for simplification and lightness.”
There are only six weeks left to fish the Wood until it closes for the season. On your check list of things to do as we head into spring, move fly fishing to the top. It is time to reset your priorities and head down to the river. And when you go, leave your vest behind and narrow you fly selection down to your go to flies for spring: a few midge patterns (dry and beaded), maybe a streamer, or a heavy golden stone nymph. No need to complicate matters.
THE BIG WOOD
Below freezing temperatures have returned to the Valley slowing down the hatch activity a tad. However, the Wood is famous for its Winter Midge hatch and March is the time to take advantage of it. The midge range in size from a 22 to a size 16. When the hatch really gets going in the early afternoon, the fish tend to key on hatching midge stuck in the surface film. To match this hatch, have a good assortment of midge patterns spanning every stage of this prolific insect’s life: trailing shuck midge, Griffiths Gnats, and high vis parachute midge patterns in size 18- 24. Early in the day when 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.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
With the longer days, an excursion to the Lost for some outstanding spring fishing is a must. The flows have stabilized at 120 CFS, making for easy wading. The midday midge hatch is interspersed with a decent BWO emergence. The fish are feeding aggressively in preparation for spawning. In fact, with the unusually warm weather, a few redds have already been spotted. For flies, bring a good assortment of midge and Baetis dries and nymphs. Dry dropper rigs with a trailing Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 will catch fish all day.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Late February into March can be fantastic in the canyon. Keep in mind that the road may be slick now that winter like weather has returned to the state. If you go, expect a mixed bag of midge and Baetis, with more of the latter on cloudy days. With a keen eye, you can find fish on top and target them. Of course, if action is what you seek, fishing a dry dropper rig or Euro style in the seams and the dancing water will produced plenty of white fish and some fine trout. 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.
Big Wood | Big Lost | South Fork Flies: Midge Adults 20 and 22, Rubber Legged Golden Stones, Prince, Nymphs, King Prince, Beaded Flashback Pheasant Tails 18 and 16, Bishop’s Dynamite 18 and 16, Rainbow, Warrior, Iron Lotus 18 and 16, Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18.
The Creek from Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of February. The entire creek will re-open the end of May—mark your calendar. If you decide to go before it closes, your best action will come late in the afternoon on nymphs or streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.
Silver Creek Flies: Wooley Buggers | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 |Pheasant Tails 16,18 | WD40
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood